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5.0 von 5 Sternen Thrilling + intelligent! One of the best I've ever read!
Donna Tartt's first (and only) novel is, in my humble opinion, one of the most exciting books of the 20th century! It's one of those rare books that is both, intelligent and thrilling! I had to read it in one go, getting hardly any sleep during those days, yet always hoping that it wouldn't be finished too soon! Set in an New England élite college, 'The Secret...
Am 2. Januar 2001 veröffentlicht

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1.0 von 5 Sternen Wretched
Thank God I borrowed this and didn't buy it. Pretentious, far too long, not a single likable character. The students come across more as inmates at a prep school for the emotionally and academically inept rather than an elite progressive college. This book wants its charcters to be dangerous and decadent and depraved and they're just silly, boring, spoiled children...
Am 10. März 1999 veröffentlicht


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5.0 von 5 Sternen The best in modern fiction, 30. November 1997
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Secret History Edition: Reprint (Taschenbuch)
Quite rarely am I able to read anything that's over 300 pages without starting to get a bit bored with a title. However, with Donna Tartt's debut novel, "The Secret History," the characters are so intricately described, and the plot is so irresistible that I found I couldn't, under any circumstances, put it down for a prolonged amount of time.

A friend of mine recommended this book to me, which was what finally got me to read it. Though I'd heard about it, read about it and seen it on shelves, something about the Classics aspect of the plot always intimidated me. Still, my friend told me of its greatness, saying, "It's the book that made me want to be a writer again." Indeed, reading this book gives me faith in modern authors.

Now, having read it, I feel silly for having waited so long. This book is a treasure and not too obsessed with the world of Academia, which instead adds to the story by figuring delicately into the plot, providing inspired allusions to the work and giving the book a great sense of class.

Each introduced character, even the minor and irrelevant one, is described in tremendous detail and with startling flair. No movie could ever do it justice, no other method could be used to tell a story like this.

The book is, quite simply, amazing. I loved it so much that I'm going to go back and find a hardcover edition. It's too beautiful to only be read once in a lifetime.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen enthralling, 28. September 2008
Von 
Dawn Schoenherz (Vienna, Austria) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Secret History (Taschenbuch)
Found this book on the shelves of a vacation rental, it was pouring rain in southern italy, not what we expected...thought I'd give it a try and I'm not sorry I did. I read it in two days and was jealous when my husband read it after me, wishing I could read it again for the first time. It's a literary coccoon...you forget the time and your surroundings. I'm ordering her second book as soon as I'm done with this review.
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1.0 von 5 Sternen Going Nowhere Slowly, 5. März 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Secret History Edition: Reprint (Taschenbuch)
During the past 3 years, three women recommended this book. I finally read it over the last several weeks and I was rather disappointed for several reasons. The book is too long for the story it tells. I was reminded that Dickens was paid by the word and I wonder if Tartt had the same deal. There is an extreme amount of unnecessary details that do not advance the story in any clear way. There are passages that reminded me of story drafts where I'd like to ask, "What's the point of all this? I found almost no suspense in the plot. I expected the "murders" to be explained as some finely integrated scheme but it was not to be. Tartt is a gifted writer who could use an editor and a plot supervisor. If you have nothing to do for a few weeks and you want to wrap yourself in a blanket and drink several pots of coffee, you may enjoy being pulled into this story. I did enjoy the college setting but I wondered why the entire student body didn't flunk out of school because of the drinking, smoking, and drugs they comsummed. Julian's character was not developed to my satisfaction. Who was this guy and why were these 4 or 5 losers drawn to him? I just began Stranger in a Strange Land as a break from this book.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Secret History, 18. September 1997
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Secret History: A Novel (Taschenbuch)
"The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation. He'd been dead for ten days before they found him, you know."
This is the beginning of the story about Richard Papen, a small town guy, bored by the life in Plano. So he packs his bags and goes to study at a small town college.
But Hampden isn't just any small town college. It's the place with Henry, this well-read boy who makes everyone look stupid in their embarrassment about not knowing too much about Homer. He takes control over Richard as well as the others. What's interesting is that they let him. They are all so attracted to his Greek beauty of mind that all but one til the end of the book don't stand up to him. No wonder so many people are so fascinated by, for example, Homer.
This novel is easily read without pausing. It's also easy to read it at least three times, just to experience the beauty again, and to find more that might explain why the group is so attractive to the reader.
There is no other word to say about The Secret History but: perfect
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1.0 von 5 Sternen Potential--Wasted, 8. Juli 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Secret History: A Novel (Taschenbuch)
What a great premise for an interesting story completely wasted.
This book is largely about mad genius. However, the author is unable to deliver charaters as brillant as we are supposed to believe they are. On Page 32 we find the best passage in the book. The mysterious professor Julian is set up as a central intelligence source. His philospically provoking passage on the contraints of society, however, is dropped and only loosely correlated to the central action. What's worse, Julian becomes a non-entity after this point. How disappointing. I felt as though the author had neither the knowledge of philosophy or the wear-with-all to create a truly genius character. Instead of letting us learn through Richard, a man with little or no character himself, we are forced to see things like Richard does, with no revealing character development.
There are no surprises in this book and leaves you feeling totally cheated.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen what a great story!, 17. August 2008
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Secret History (Taschenbuch)
although for some reason still considered an insider tip, i cannot imagine anyone not liking this book. it has often been compared to "the beach" or "lord of the flies" though i personally think it's even better. tartt's characters are believable and very likeable (i actually really "missed" them after having finished reading it, something which rarely happens), the page-turning story is very exciting in a clever and witty, non-gory-mass-murder-serial-killer type of way. it might take a few pages to get into its flow but it is definitely worth to take that time to get to know the setting and the great characters. one of my all-time favourites which i have read a couple of times and always enjoyed every page of it!!!
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1.0 von 5 Sternen too long and boring, 30. Juli 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Secret History Edition: Reprint (Taschenbuch)
This book is way too long. It just drags on and on and on about uninteresting annoying characters. The narrator, Richard, is a dork. How is it that he comes off as such a dork and yet makes friends with this so-called elitist group? Throughout the book Richard brings up little tid bits that are unnecessary to the storyline. He gives about a paragraph of insight but then just drops it and there is no relation to the story. So what is the "secret" of this book? There is none. In the opening pages we find out a murder has occurred and the rest is just boring details.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Gut zu lesen, beklemmend und absolut erschreckend, 3. September 2014
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Secret History (Taschenbuch)
Richard ist nicht glücklich zu Hause. Seine Eltern interessieren sich nicht sonderlich für ihn und als er dann auch noch Zukunftspläne schmiedet, die mit denen seines Vaters nicht übereinstimmen, entziehen sie ihm jegliche Unterstützung sowohl finanzieller als auch persönlicher Art. Er ist also völlig auf sich gestellt, als er im College seiner Wahl eintrifft. Sein Augenmerkt fällt auf einen Kurs, der sich mit griechischer Geschichte auseinandersetzt und zu dem nur einige Auserwählte, vorzugsweise gut situierte Schüler Zugang finden. Mit einer Notlüge verschafft er sich das Ticket und sieht sich plötzlich aufgenommen in den elitären Zirkel um Professor Julian Morrow. Die Gruppe lernt nicht nur gemeinsam sondern verbringt auch fast jede freie Minute zusammen, so dass Richard, isoliert vom Rest der Studentenschaft, eine Welt kennenlernt, die nicht nur für ihn neu und geheimnisvoll ist.

Auf den ersten Blick erwartet man eine Studenten-Internatsgeschichte, wie man sie schon oft gelesen oder im Kino gesehen hat. Nicht nur einmal hatte ich das Gefühl etwas Ähnliches schon vorgesetzt bekommen zu haben. Doch der Schein trügt hier gewaltig. Die Autorin erzählt in einer ruhigen entspannten Art und Weise, die gut unterhält und angenehm zu lesen ist. Allerdings baut sich die Dramatik langsam aber stetig auf, ein ungutes Gefühl schlich sich ein, und, nachdem ich bemerkte, worauf die Handlung hinauslief, war es mit dem wohligen Anfangsgefühl auch schnell vorbei. Wie es Donna Tartt anstellte, dass ich mich zeitgleich unbehaglich und in der Geschichte gut aufgehoben fühlte, ist mir ein Rätsel. Sie erzählt aus objektiver Sicht, scheinbar ohne Wertung und verzichtet mühelos auf offene Kritik. Dies alles überlässt sie dem Leser, und Haltung zu beziehen ist nicht immer einfach. Aber man muss sie einnehmen und wenn man dies tut, findet man keine Ruhe mehr.

„The Secret History“ ist kein actiongeladener Thriller, der blutrünstig auf den Leser losgeht und dennoch fällt es schwer, die Gedanken selbst in Pausen von dem Lesestoff zu lösen. Ruhig und ich möchte fast sagen in einem heiter wirkenden Tonfall wird eine beklemmende Geschichte erzählt, die noch lange nachhallt und nicht nur das Leben der Protagonisten nachhaltig verändert.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Have you wanted to be part of the in-crowd?, 14. Juni 2000
Von 
Karen Bierman Hirsh (Greenwich, CT) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Secret History Edition: Reprint (Taschenbuch)
If so, then this book will speak to you. Donna Tartt creates a novel that at once seems so simple on the surface and yet is so steeped in psychology and Greek myth that you can read this novel on more than one level - it just depends on how involved the reader wants to get.
Hopefully, no one has read the Kirkus review above as it give much of the plot away and the reviewer quite plainly missed the entire point of this book. While most reviewers here seem to focus on the psychological aspects of the book - I am hoping to give a simple summary and a reason to read it.
To begin, this is a novel about Richard Papen, poor college student from California who is so desperate to get out that he applies to Hampden College in Vermont sight unseen - because the catalog looks inviting. It is with this first lack of forethought that the reader learns what drives Richard.
Once accepted, Richard makes the trip to the East and begins his second life. Before the first semester begins Richard thinks about taking Greek as it was something he excelled at in California only to be told that the professor, Julian, that teaches Greek only accepts a small number of students and that his classes are full.
Richard moves on only to become fascinated with Julian's class of five - the twins, Charles and Camilla, Bunny, Henry (the group's obvious leader) and Francis. What is it about this select group of students that makes them so mysterious and enthralling all at the same time?
After offering some advice to the group they invite him to join them and get him a spot in the Greek classes - he is so enthralled with entering the inner circle that he does not think twice about his decisions.
This leads him to close friendships and bitter discord within the group. As Richard (and the reader) learns their secrets he becomes enmeshed in their wild lives of booze, good food and close company. What makes this interesting is the way Richard is accepted so quickly and the fact that even tho he is part of the crowd - he is still an outsider, an exact opposite of everything the group is - he is from the West coast and the rest of the group has money whereas he does not.
The reader watches relationships develop and then wax and wane throughout the book. Halfway through the reader thinks that nothing else can possibly happen when the book takes another turn and draws the reader in anew. With an unplanned death and the animosity it causes within the group - who will be left standing? Can this tight group of friends come out unharmed or is wealth, privilege and popularity not all it is cracked up to be?
It is a shame that Donna Tartt has not written a follow up book as The Secret History, while seemingly simple, is one in a million. It is also a shame that reviewers such as Kirkus feel the need to put down a book and in the process give away half of it's mystery - lucky for us they did not give it all away.
A truly enjoyable read - I highly recommend it.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen -Crime and Punishment- at a college in Vermont, 30. Mai 2000
Von 
Peter A. Kimball (Chicago) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Secret History Edition: Reprint (Taschenbuch)
Oh, come on! you may say. Maybe this is a good read, a good psychological thriller, maybe even "top-flight entertainment", but are you seriously going to compare Tartt's novel to Dostoevsky's?
Only time can tell whether this volume will ever get the recognition of Dosotevsky's novel or murder and the consciousness of sin. (As a practical matter, it will help if Tartt produces some more equally strong novels. Single novels get forgotten.) However, I feel compelled to say that this novel does indeed have some virtues which set it apart from, and above, other entertaining thrillers, and which make it deserving of closer attention.
First, before we forget it, Tartt's description of the College setting is very good, very strong, and very evocative, in the same way, for example, that "The Magnificent Ambersons" provides a picture of small-town life in the Midwest. This is not a trivial thing. There are plenty of books describing war, for example, and yet most of us have not been to war; but most of us in the U.S. have been to college, recently or not. In my case it was not so recent - it has been 30 years since I lived in a dorm, but that was a crucial time in my life, my development. And as I read this book, those times came back to me. I was reminded of the realities of the meal plan, of libraries, of registration cards, of managing the money from home, of keeping secrets from your parents, of deciding what to do during break, of trying to have friends and having them and caring about them and having horrible fights with them, and of creating oneself as a person through one's handling of all these minutiae. Please don't suppose that I am just being nostalgic about my lovely college days. In fact they were largely disorganized and depressed in my case. But they were important. That period in one's life is sort of like the Cambrian explosion in the history of life on earth, in which new patterns of organization and behavior were tried, discarded, and replaced, in a dizzying whirl never to recur, whose residues and contingencies have irretrievably shaped all the plans and routines that have followed. It is no small thing to be writing about them with understanding and even with respect.
On top of that, however, Tartt presents us characters who find themselves grappling with really important and enduring moral issues. These questions deserve discussion. In fact, this book would be excellent material for a book club, or for an 'ethics through literature' class in college or even for advanced high-schoolers. Or for that matter to recommend to your friends so you can argue with them about it after you read it.
Ideally you will be lucky enough to read the book without too much information or preconceptions about the plot. I am not so much concerned with 'suspense' and 'surprise' as I am with the issue of the structure of the book and the measured way in which the moral questions are raised to the protagonist and to the reader by Tartt. Richard begins by wanting what we all want: recognition - affection - the pleasures of being accepted as part of an in-group. Friends. He appreciates his friends. He is loyal to them. And then he discovers that they have a terrible secret and are in desperate trouble.
This is where the issue of timing comes in. If you read a two-paragraph plot summary, it is easy to talk about how terrible and selfish these characters are and how anyone but a moral imbecile would run immediately to the police. But when the issues are presented to you with deliberate torpor, blended with the details of life, when the crisis sneaks up on you, it is different. You wonder, or you ought to wonder, what the characters can possibly do other than what they actually do. You believe, or fear, that you might do the same things, that they are natural things to do. Isn't it right to survive? Isn't it right to help your friends survive? Are you prepared to give up your life, their lives, for the sake of law and morality? How much are your friends' lives worth compared to the life of a stranger with a different background? Isn't this an important and commonly raised question? Isn't this why cops kill unarmed civilians, why air forces bomb children - because the lives and interests of the in-group are normally and naturally valued above the life of some stranger, some preferably nameless person?
But our protagonists are compelled - IF that is the word - to move on to more and more desperate measures. To protect themselves from destruction, they plunge ahead into the heart of moral darkness, into terror, into violence, into guilt and shame. Because it is painful to have to look to closely at the holes you have torn in the flesh of other people's lives. In this Tartt's characters are less fortunate than cops and bomber pilots. The fabric of their lives, their prized circle, their friendship, itself shreds and falls away.
Yet even after you have seen the results, you still feel you might have done the same things. By 'you' I don't mean the protagonists, I mean YOU after you have read the book. More precisely, I mean I. This is a book which you will not forget having read. Its pace is a bit too deliberate in some places, and I'm not entirely satisfied with the denouement, but I still think it's a strong and important work.
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The Secret History
The Secret History von Donna Tartt (Taschenbuch - 1. Juli 1993)
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