Saturday, August 17, 2013

An Effective Thriller About Two Unlikeable People

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown, 2012, 432pp.)

Young marrieds Nick and Amy Dunne are in trouble. Like so many people today, they find themselves bogged down in the mire of today's rotten economy, their jobs (magazine journalist and Cosmo quiz-writer respectively) made obsolete by the Internet. Due to money troubles and general incompatibility, their five-year-old marriage has crumbled, leaving them locked in a hateful, claustrophobic relationship. Then, on the day of their anniversary, Nick returns home to find Amy missing. When police find trace amounts of blood in the kitchen, they begin to suspect that Nick is the culprit. Is Nick being framed, or is he truly responsible for a horrible crime? By examining both past and present, Gone Girl traces the ugly meltdown of a marriage, and the terrible consequences it brings.

Although I wont hesitate to proclaim Gone Girl to be a tense psychological thriller and an excellent choice for airport reading or beach trips, I have to admit that I had mixed feelings about the novel as a whole. Like the 1989 Michael Douglas movie, War of the Roses (which details the worst divorce battle in history), Gone Girl focuses on the absolute worst aspects of two fairly unlikeable people. While I must applaud Flynn for going against the grain in this aspect, I cant think of two characters I would rather NOT read about ever again. The reader will either delight in Nick and Amy's despicable natures or want them both to die horrible deaths. Its one of those books that makes you glad that you read it (just to see what the fuss was about), but also equally glad when you finish it and move on to something prettier.

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