I love not knowing anything about a book when I start on page one. It’s like opening a magical door and walking into a strange land, having no clue what you’re about to experience. I knew nothing about Gone Girl when I first started reading it. What struck me immediately was that Gillian Flynn is a seriously skilled writer. My early opinion wouldn’t change. Her knack for conveying every moment in the world of her characters was vivid, gripping and inexhaustible across 464 pages. From the outset she drew me in to the creepy psychological tension between married couple, Nick and Amy Dunne. What followed was a journey into the darkest workings of the human mind that for me, was almost unparalleled in my many years of reading. The only other books I can think of that unnerved me that much is Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, Stephen King’s Misery and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.
I couldn’t put this book down. From page one I was moulded and manipulated by Gillian Flynn’s characters as they presented their conflicting stories of a marriage in crisis and in Amy’s case, a scathing and cynical account of an emptiness within American culture. But this book is so much more. It’s a nail-biting crime thriller in which the characters who have started out fighting to save their marriage, end up fighting to save their liberty, their sanity and finally their lives. There were times when the plot itself became ridiculously far-fetched but it didn’t seem to matter because Gillian Flynn never lost control of the psychological horror unfolding. Until, that is, the ending, which I had real reservations about.
This is not a book to read if you want to be uplifted. But if you don’t mind a book that’s dark and thrilling and messes with your head a bit then I highly recommend Gone Girl.