Monday, September 17, 2012

REVIEW: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. Published 2012 by Crown. Fiction. Crime Fiction.

Wow. Chilling. Twisty. Suspenseful. Can't-stop-reading-till-it's-done-able.

That's almost all I can tell you about Gillian Flynn's remarkable new suspenser, Gone Girl, which does live up to all that hype.

Set in the present day in North-Somewhere (Carthage) Missouri, Gone Girl tells the story of a marriage made in Hell between Nick Dunne and Amy Elliott. The story opens on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, but that also happens to be the day their marriage dissolves forever. Nick comes home to find the door wide open, the furniture upended, and Amy gone.  Nick seems like kind of a bad guy; he doesn't get along with her family,  doesn't seem that concerned about his wife, seems kind of put out and bothered by the search and derisive of the police as well as those who would wish him well. And he's got secrets. What follows alternates between Nick in the present day, cooperating, or not, with the investigation into her disappearance, and Amy's diary detailing their courtship and marriage up till now.

And now that's really all I can tell you about the plot.

What I will tell you is, if you like suspense, and you haven't read this, read it. More than just a story about a missing woman, it's about madness and entitlement, the drive to perfection and what happens when we realize that the perfection we've been promised is pulled away, again and again and again. It's also about media culture, gender war and the power of stories to define who we are, including the stories we tell ourselves.

And that ending? Ominous, scary, brilliant and perfect. Flynn writes the whole book with steely control and precision, but nothing tops those last few sentences for pure chill. I haven't read anything like this since Shirley Jackson. I picked the book up because Flynn's last book, Dark Places, kept tugging at my sleeve in bookstores though I never got around to it. I was determined not to let her latest pass me by, especially in the wake of the hype around it. But don't be put off by the hype- this is one incredible piece of work sure to provoke conversations and nightmares for a long time after you're done.

Rating: BUY!

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.