In A Nutshell: The most perfect novel I've read this year, if not the last few years. Gillian Flynn, a unique literary voice, produces the most twisted psychological tale in recent memory, and does it with black wit and beautiful writing. All the while, she manages to make subtle and effective commentary on the nature of marriage, aging, and gender.
A few pages into Gone Girl, lulled into the subtle lyricism of Gillian Flynn's impeccable voice, you'll probably wonder, "How did things get so bad?" How did Nick and Amy Dunne's perfect marriage end up so mundanely terrible after such a promising start?
By the time the novel's finished, you'll wonder, "how on Earth did things get so much worse than when we started?"
Gone Girl, a masterclass in tension, plotting and character, takes you on a bumpy ride through the minds of some of the most twisted characters in recent fiction. Just when we settle into the novel's Rashomon-like storytelling (we seesaw between Nick and Amy's diary entries, his at the end of their marriage, hers at the beginning of their relationship), the cracks start to spill out of the diary entries and into reality. Little details infect the air in ways you wouldn't expect.
But Flynn's not content to leave this as a post-modern mystery for the reader to solve. At the halfway mark, she introduces a third character, one we vaguely glimpse in the first half of the novel, and one who shocks us most thoroughly. That's when things really get going. She takes all the suspense (oh, so much suspense) she built in the first half, and then lights it on fire, and the bonfire continues through the end of the novel.
I can't say anything more about the plot without spoiling the read. But I can't recommend this one enough. I freely admit that I love many books that I wouldn't recommend to all. Not Gone Girl. What Gillian Flynn achieves with form and narrative is truly worth your time.
What really impresses me about the novel is the meta-narrative sleight of hand Flynn ultimately inflicts upon us. For the first half of the book, "Nick" is merely a construction of Psychopathic Amy. By the end, Nick actually becomes "Nick," a mere character in Amy's narrative, not a real human being in his own right.