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The Glamour of Glamour

James Wood, 19 November 1992

The Secret History 
by Donna Tartt.
Viking, 524 pp., £9.99, October 1992, 0 670 84854 9
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A Thousand Acres 
by Jane Smiley.
Flamingo, 371 pp., £5.99, October 1992, 0 00 654482 7
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... Though a mystery story, Donna Tartt’s first novel, The Secret History, holds few secrets. It is as open as a child: its revelations are too frequent to be significant, and its secrets too helpless to be revealing. It is a fairytale about a poor Californian who arrives at a rich New England college and quickly falls in with glamour and murder ...

The Whole Sick Crew

Thomas Jones: Donna Tartt, 31 October 2002

The Little Friend 
by Donna Tartt.
Bloomsbury, 555 pp., £16.99, October 2002, 0 7475 6211 3
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... Greek tragedy contributed to the mise en scène of Donna Tartt’s first novel, The Secret History (1992). Four classics students, privileged even by the standards of the elite Vermont college they attend, conduct a bacchanal and, in their frenzy, kill a local farmer, tearing him apart in much the same manner that Pentheus is done away with in Euripides’ Bacchae ...

Death among the Barbours

Christopher Tayler: Donna Tartt, 19 December 2013

The Goldfinch 
by Donna Tartt.
Little, Brown, 771 pp., £20, October 2013, 978 1 4087 0494 3
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... The Secret History swept the world in paperback in 1993. It was a bad age for an encounter with Donna Tartt’s first blockbuster. If I’d been a few years older, I might have thought it a reasonably honourable inhabitant of the borderlands between commercial fiction and writing that’s better than it could get away with being. If I’d been a few ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Blurbs and puffs, 20 July 2006

... is ‘an erudite and darkly hilarious coming-of-age novel, combining the storytelling gifts of Donna Tartt and the suspense of Hitchcock’. If you don’t trust the publicity department, and there’s no reason you should, since they’re bound to claim all their books are just terrific,* you can be reassured by a soothing metaphor from Jonathan ...

Mr Trendy Sicko

James Wolcott, 23 May 2019

White 
by Brett Easton Ellis.
Picador, 261 pp., £16.99, May 2019, 978 1 5290 1239 2
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... It was tough keeping track of all the debutantes promenading into print and creating a stir: Donna Tartt, David Leavitt, Mary Gaitskill, Lorrie Moore, Amy Hempel, Nancy Lemann, Susan Minot, Mary Robison, Anderson Ferrell – a cast of dozens. Many of those rookies trained at the literary dojo of the author, editor, creative writing teacher and ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Second Novel Anxiety Syndrome, 22 August 2002

... too much too quickly and complacently. Two high-profile second novels due in the autumn are Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend and The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith. Tartt’s first book, The Secret History, came out in 1992. The tale of a bacchanal at an elite New England college that goes murderously wrong, or ...

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