The Secret History is a crime novel from the point of view of one of the criminals. That’s clear from the beginning, so this isn’t a spoiler. Richard Papen is impulsive. He picks his college for arbitrary reasons, one of which is the picture on the college brochure. He chooses his major because overcoming the challenge of signing up for Greek is more important than thinking of his future. Right away we see his decisions are a little strange, but we sympathize with him.He meets a group of eccentric classmates with an even more unusual professor.
This book has a feel to it that reminds me of The Dead Poets Society or even the movie, The Breakfast Club. It’s a group of college kids who think they are smarter than everyone else on campus. Add in a bit of psychopathic behavior and it leads to chaos.
Tartt has a classical style of prose that is reminiscent of Catcher in the Rye. The characters are easy to relate to, yet at the same time not always comprehensible. This book is not an easy read, but engaging and very difficult to put down.