Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn, March 26—April 4, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
Gone Girl is a dark thriller and a work of genius. On her fifth wedding anniversary, Amy Elliott Dunne goes missing. Alternating chapters follow her diary entries up to the day of the disappearance, and husband Nick’s experiences of the aftermath from that point.
Nick and Amy are notoriously unreliable narrators, by their own admission. The genius comes in revealing only that untruths have been told, but not specifying what is real and what is a lie. The plot deepens as Nick is confronted with evidence that seems to baffle him – Amy told friends she was scared of him; his internet history is questionable; the crime scene is not what it seems.
Flynn’s novel has the most intricate plotting and pace. No sooner do you think you’ve got it all worked out does she pull shock after shock out of the bag, constantly surprising you with one massive, game-changing twist after the next. With each bombshell, your loyalties switch and every new development challenges you to reform your impressions of the cast.
Nick and Amy are incredibly complex characters, and their relationship is played out retrospectively. Flynn carefully traces the shifting dynamic as they both respond to life’s challenges and its impact on their marriage. It’s honest and believable, and it’s a terrific device that adds an urgency to the post-disappearance events.
Around them are some brilliant supporting characters. Boney and Gilpin, the police detectives, are unusual for the genre in that they are largely quirk-free. Boney, the more significant of the two characters, is likeable and provides some much-needed warmth. Others such as Nick’s sister Go, and Amy’s parents Rand and Marybeth, all add to the story. No character is wasted.
Little more can be said without spoiling the twists. Gone Girl is a remarkable feat, unrivalled in depth and ability to shock with the most unpredictable way. A masterpiece that will haunt you for a long, long time and the most beautiful darkness ever crafted.