Friday, July 6, 2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

     Nick and Amy don't exactly have the perfect marriage.  They recently moved to the small town of North Carthage, Missouri, after both losing their jobs as writers in New York City.  The couple moved back to Nick's home town where they could start their lives over and care for Nick's ailing parents, but neither of them have been very happy in Missouri.  Nick knows their marriage is struggling, but he has to idea how to confront his wife.  She's distant, mopey, and bored - so different from the bright, energetic woman he married 5 years ago.

     Just as he's gearing up for a long-overdue discussion, Nick comes home on their 5th wedding anniversary to find that Amy has disappeared.  Not without a trace, though.  The living room reveals signs of a struggle, and on top of that, Nick is presented with an anniversary gift that Amy would have given him that evening.  It's a romantic treasure hunt - leading him down memory lane and all over town in search of the next clue.  Meanwhile, the police have turned a suspicious eye toward Nick.  "It's always the husband."  Well maybe it is.  But maybe it's not.  Told through alternating narratives by Nick and Amy, Gone Girl is anything but predictable, exploring aspects of marriage, trust, manipulation, and instinct.

     Let me just say, first of all, that I completely devoured this book.  I basically didn't leave the house for 2 days and I have a crick in my neck from staring straight down at the book, feverishly turning pages and forgetting to eat!  Not many stories elicit such a physical reaction from me, so I know that Gone Girl is truly tremendous.  Horrifying, creepy, and jarring -but tremendous.  Gillian Flynn is a masterful storyteller.  It really is all about the timing - just the right amount of information to keep you wondering.  And then you're sure you've got it...but you don't.  And then you're sure again! get the idea.  Basically you have no choice but to be utterly consumed by the plot.

     Gone Girl forces readers to reconsider their own limits and capabilities and to guiltily wonder if they can every truly know or trust another person.  I know.  It's creepy.  But it's also a testament to the author's power and creativity as a writer.  The human mind is capable of many imaginings, but with Gillian Flynn, it's infinite.  And Flynn's imaginings are also well-organized, precisely timed, and completely within the realm of possibility.  If you thought American Psycho was chilling, wait until you read Gone Girl!

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