The Secret History

The synopsis on the back of the book, because I have a difficult time reducing the plot of a novel into a slender paragraph without spoilers:

When Richard Papen arrives at Hampden College in New England, he is quickly seduced by the rhythms of campus life—and in particular by an elite group of five students, Greek scholars, worldly, self-assured, and, at first glance, highly unapproachable. Yet as Richard is accepted and drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another: a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night when an ancient rite was brought to life.

I read this book with manic fervor...not because it was filled with excitement at every turn or because I needed to know what was going to happen in the end. From the beginning, I had a fairly good idea about where things were headed (by the author's design), but the characters were so mysterious and morally ambiguous that I wanted to spend time with them as the events unfolded in their lives. I enjoyed every action and reaction, and I couldn't turn away from the dissection of human nature & societal structure. The allusions to Greek history, mythology, and literature made it all the more fascinating, and yet it wasn't presented with intellectual snobbery as it easily could have been. The story was well-written, beautiful, grotesque, haunting, moody...  One of my more memorable reads of this year.

4 comments:

Princess Haiku said...

OOH, I read this too and enjoyed it. My most recent book was "The Elegance of Hedgehogs" which was so poignant it left me in both laughter and tears. Eventually, I am going to write a book review on it. Now that I am avoiding reality (news/politics) I am getting back into the swing of blogging.

I hope this is a better season for you.

Cyan said...

I just read the synopsis for The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and it sounds wonderful! I'm going to add it to my to read list, and I look forward to your review.

This season is going well for me. Thank you. :)

moif said...

I have ordered it from Amazon. I feel inspired to read it.

Cyan said...

Moif, I hope you enjoy it. You'll have to let me know your thoughts.