Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

Published: 2013 (paperback), Phoenix, 466 pages
Thriller, fiction

Setting the scene

On the fifth July 2012, Nick and Amy Dunne reach their fifth wedding anniversary. But things are different this year.

Curbing from their usual dish of flown-in lobsters, the Dunnes delve into a dish best served cold. Very cold.

Their small town in Missouri is about to be hit with the news that Amy – beautiful, smart, cool – has gone. Disappeared the morning of the anniversary. As the investigation begins, the finger points towards the husband, Nick, whose demeanour is awkward and all-too casual.

A smarmy smile. A disposable phone. A dodgy alibi. A lot of lies… Nick is nothing but suspicious.

So, the case seems obvious enough. Right?

Review

This is not a story of a happy, conventional marriage. It is a dissection of marriage at its worst, at a point where Nick and Amy are left wondering who they are, and who each other are. The climatic point comes when we realise what kind of people they actually are.

The novel has an interesting structure. It is non-linear and written from the first-person narrative of Nick and Amy, the chapters alternating between Nick’s narrative and Amy’s. Many of Amy’s chapters are written in the form of diary entries which go back years, giving the reader insight into the development, and deterioration, of the couple’s relationship. Her chapters sometimes include a question in the form of a personality quiz to reflect her previous work (is the answer a, b, c?) which initially comes across as a bit try-hard but soon grows on you.

Nick’s chapters are written in present time, beginning ‘The Day Of’ Amy’s disappearance. The first-person narrative creates a very conversational tone to the novel, it is relaxed and personal and explains the heavy use of offensive language throughout- these are ordinary people after all.

The plot is smart (Flynn is good at inserting cruel wit into the novel), shocking and utterly gripping. The novel is split into three parts and the tension is ramped up in the second part with a climatic twist. The reader soon recognises that the narrative is unreliable, in particular as we realise Nick is withholding information; Flynn cleverly reserves or prescribes doses of critical information throughout, keeping the reader guessing and on tenterhooks.

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

Overall 

Would I recommend this book? Yes
★★★★☆

This is a brilliantly crafted psychological thriller, exploring two complex personalities and their union in a disharmonious marriage.

The ending is ominous and unadorned. It leaves you slightly dissatisfied, yet it is in-fitting with the dark and twisted story and suits the characters disturbed personalities.

It doesn’t surprise me that this novel has received such critical acclaim and I would recommend it to anyone as a quick, gripping read (I’ve been careful not to give away spoilers!).

Adaptation to film

It has been revealed that David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, Fight Club) is to direct a film adaptation of Gone Girl.

Ben Affleck has been cast as Nick and as he is an actor familiar to gritty, complex roles (I particularly liked him as Tony Mendez in Argo) I think this is brilliant casting. There are several possibilities for the casting of Amy.

I only hope the adaptation does justice to the novel.

*

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7 thoughts on “Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

  1. LOVED this book. Disagree with all those who didn’t like the ending. It’s frightening that I see a little of Nick and Amy in myself and my ex-wife. Fortunately, it wasn’t anywhere that extreme–we’re great friends now. But I almost shouted a few times while reading to FINALLY see that someone (Flynn) understood and explained what sometimes goes on in relationships.

  2. I can’t say I liked the ending, the killing Desi part was a bit much for me to take and the story went a bit downhill from there. Nevertheless, I loved the novel, I think the first 1/3rd of the book was absolutely brilliant

    • I agree, it did sway over the top which spoilt Amy’s otherwise plausibly twisted character.

      The last part of the novel did let it down, though the very end (living together) was nicely understated/ominous and left me wanting to find out how the rest of their lives unfold!

      Thanks for reading!

    • It’s a great read isn’t it- I didn’t expect the twist one bit. I think I suspected everyone other than the actual perpetrator!
      Thanks for visiting my blog in return, I’ll have a read of your review 🙂 xx

  3. I don’t think this is a book I would normally be inclined to pick out but your review makes it more interesting. (I was going to say appealing but it doesn’t sound as if that word fits the plot.) I’m curious to know who you might cast as Amy.

    • Thank you for reading Janice. It’s not the type of book I would normally choose either but there has been so much talk about it lately I thought I’d try it. It is very good, an interesting read that’s for sure.
      I’m still undecided on who I would cast…someone with a bit of ‘grit’ to them…I’ve heard one actress being considered is Jessica Chastain and I think she would be perfect. She was good in Zero Dark Thirty and would suit the role as she’s not a chick-flick kind of actress!

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