So I’ve finally read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (I feel a little left behind in reading it), and mainly have done so as I would quite like to watch the film, but generally prefer to read the book first. Gone Girl is an interesting thriller told from two different perspectives – on one side you have Amy (the girl that is to be gone), the other is Nick (her husband). The book approaches the narration chapter by chapter switching between the two main characters. The setup of Nick and Amy’s relationship and detailing events before her disappearance is provided to the reader through Amy’s diary. Events that take place on the day of the disappearance and after come from Nick’s perspective.
This dual narration isn’t something new but it is very well handled in the case of Gone Girl, it is also rigidly adhered to throughout the book. Both narrations work very well, providing insight into each character – their motivations, personalities and thoughts come across in the writing well and the reader can begin to picture these people clearly quite early on in the book.
The novel is very intriguing, Gillian Flynn slowly drip feeds information to the reader through the narration, building up the picture of their lives and relationship. Amy comes across as a relaxed, confident woman that is at home in her own skin. She enjoys her life and loves Nick very much. Nick is a worried man (his wife has just gone missing after all), but there is also something a little odd about him – there are many unanswered questions from the start. The reader also finds out very early on that Nick is a liar; after a conversation with the police he says that something he said was the fifth lie he had told them – there is no explanation what the other four may be. Throughout the novel the reader is unsure what the real truth of the characters thinking and actions really is. As details start to be revealed more secrets are kept. The novel is well crafted in this way to keep the reader guessing and more importantly reading.
I don’t want to go in to any further detail of the plot to avoid spoilers; it is a novel that the reader needs to be relatively fresh to, not knowing too much information is key to the enjoyment of the story (so far I have not revealed anything that doesn’t happen within the first few chapters of the book). However, I can say that Gone Girl is a good thriller, it is pacey, and it has enough twists to keep the reader guessing without the plot turning ludicrous. Both Amy and Nick have their own individual voices, both are flawed but there is enough to like about them to stay interested. Flynn’s writing is easy going and gritty when required – the book was better than I expected and she clearly has a flair for writing within this genre. Some of the reveals in the plot came as a genuine surprise and I didn’t find any parts of the novel boring. I particularly liked the small details placed throughout the book as a whole and then reading how different parts of the book are related to one another as the narrative continues. Innocuous sentences carefully placed early on in the book take on different shape and meaning later on.
My only reservation about the book was the ending – I found the ending a little odd, it was not necessarily in keeping with the overall tone of the novel up until that point. To some degree I felt it didn’t have the payoff that the rest of the book had, not quite the same punch. However, despite this I didn’t feel disappointed just maybe a little underwhelmed. Overall I enjoyed Gone Girl, it is certainly one of the better thrillers that I have read over recent years and would recommend it, especially for those hardened crime thriller fans.
If you have read Gone Girl you may like:
- Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham
- Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
- Mr Mercedes by Stephen King