Book Club Questions: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

My friend and I absolutely loved this book. And I mean LOVED this book. The only other books to which I could possibly compare it would be Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, which has the same focus on the limited scope of one person’s narration along with the general subjectivity of experience. These books also share the technicality of fitting within the murder mystery genre while being nothing like any other murder mystery ever written. I recommend The Secret History to absolutely everyone, but especially to those who like books about Classics, poorly planned murders, and terrible useless people (who deserve to go to jail, to be quite honest). And what, might you ask, is this book really about? In the words of horreurscopes: “it’s a cautionary tale about devoting yourself too much to The Aesthetic TM.”

Discussion questions below the cut!

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