The Secret History

The Secret History

Donna Tartt

First Sentence:     The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.

Back of the book:

Truly deserving of the accolade Modern Classic, Donna Tartt’s novel The Secret History is a remarkable achievement – both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.

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Bad News

Bad-News

Edward St Aubyn

First Sentence:     Patrick pretended to sleep, hoping the seat next to him would remain empty, but he soon heard a briefcase sliding into the overhead compartment.

Back of the book:

THE SECOND PATRICK MELROSE NOVEL. Twenty-two years old and in the grip of a massive addiction, Patrick Melrose is forced to fly to New York to collect his father’s ashes. Over the course of a weekend, Patrick’s remorseless search for drugs on the avenues of Manhattan, haunted by old acquaintances and insistent inner voices, sends him into a nightmarish spiral. Alone in his room at the Pierre Hotel, he pushes body and mind to the very edge – desperate always to stay one step ahead of his rapidly encroaching past.

Quotes from the book:

The neighbouring lanes bore witness to the usual combination of excess and decay. Enormous battered cars with sloppy engines, and black-windowed limos, swarmed into the city, like flies on their favourite food. Patrick stared at the dented hubcap of an old white station wagon. It had seen so much, he reflected, and remembered nothing, like a slick amnesiac reeling in thousands of images and rejecting them instantly, spinning out its empty life under a paler wider sky.

‘As the telephone rang he wondered again what kept him from suicide. Was it something as contemptible as sentimentality, or hope, or narcissism? No. It was really the desire to know what would happen next, despite the conviction that it was bound to be horrible: the narrative suspense of it all.’

The smell of cocaine assailed him and he felt his nerves stretching like piano wires. The heroin followed in a soft rain of felt hammers playing up his spine and rumbling into his skull.

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Never Mind

Never Mind

Edward St Aubyn

First Sentence:     At half-past seven in the morning, carrying the laundry she had ironed the night before, Yvette came down the drive on her way to the house.

Back of the book:

THE FIRST PATRICK MELROSE NOVEL. At his mother’s family house in the south of France, Patrick Melrose has the run of a magical garden. Bravely imaginative and self-sufficient, five-year-old Patrick encounters the volatile lives of adults with care. His father, David, rules with considered cruelty, and Eleanor, his mother, has retreated into drink. They are expecting guests for dinner. But this afternoon is unlike the chain of summer days before, and the shocking events that precede the guests’ arrival tear Patrick’s world in two.

Quote from the book:

For a moment he was winded by a sense of absurdity and impotence; he felt like a farmer watching a flock of  crows settle complacently on his favourite scarecrow.

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