I started 2020 in style – in February I read “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt, the book that became one of my favourite books of all time. As I also read “The Goldfinch” quite recently (in 2019), I identified interesting common aspects but also differences between the two books. These aspects are briefly described below.
! This discussion contains spoilers from the two books. If you haven’t read the books, please do not continue to read further. If you choose to read further, you’re at your own risk 🙂
- Both books present the point of view of a (troubled) boy / young man (Richard in “The Secret History”, Theo in “The Goldfinch”)
- There is a cultural atmosphere in both books – painting and vintage restoration in “The Goldfinch”, learning Greek & college life in “The Secret History”
- There is a mysterious aura in both environments, and murder-like happenings – dark events and creepy people
- Sex, drugs (and rock’n’roll?) – both stories present teenagers who consume alcohol and drugs
- There are certain periods of time when characters spend a lot of time inside (time losses its meaning, characters are trapped – physically or mentally – and go through agony)
- While both stories are very engaging, from my point of view “The Secret History” is more immersive than “The Goldfinch”
- “The Goldfinch” presents a longer period of time compared to “The Secret History” (more than 10 years compared to 2 years)
- “The Secret History” focuses a lot on group-related psychology and interactions, while “The Goldfinch” is more about individual psychology and reactions to events
- “The Goldfinch” focuses more on character development, while “The Secret History” is more action-driven
- The ending – “The Secret History” delivered higher adrenaline levels than “The Goldfinch”
Soon I will also read the third book written by Donna Tartt – “The Little Friend”. As you can imagine, I have high expectations and I am very much looking forward to read it!
Have you read any of the three books by Donna Tartt? If you read all of them, which one is your favourite ?
‘Till next time … happy reading!