Dear Ms. Tartt...
The store was busier than I expected. The people milled around the differing sections, picking up a paper back here and putting it down over there. Some had set up camp over by the window on a rounded cushion seat to get a good perusal going.
I had entered as a time filler not wanting to stand at my bus stop for more than was necessary, so I made a b-line and began to browse. I didn't have a purchase in mind but that soon changed. As I ambled through the fiction shelves I put down the Penguin Classic I had already clutched under my arm - I didn't really need another one. I flitted my eyes over the alphabet; Burgess, Chbosky, Dickens, all the way through to Sartre, Stoker and Stevenson. Here I stopped.
The name emblazoned the black paperback with a ferocity that outshone its neighbours.
A simple cover, facing outwards towards me, there was white font on a black background with a curious gold coloured image right in the middle between the title and its author.
The Secret History.
The name was familiar like I had heard it in conversation some time ago. I reached for it, surprised by it’s weight and depth. The back cover was mostly accolades and praise, though I paid more attention to the 5 lines of synopsis that were enough to make me part ways with a few dollars. What drew me in I still can’t really explain. It was more a curiosity - a piqued interest that was sparked quickly, but not fleetingly. I cradled the book in my hands on the journey home and started to read immediately.
It has since been several months since I finished The Secret History and here I am, still thinking, writing and talking about it. I think that says something.
To say I enjoyed it sounds too pedestrian. This story engulfed me, enraptured me - it was an experience rather than a task I completed. Like any good form of entertainment it kept me wanting. I sped through pages wanting to know more, learn more, see more. I metaphorically binged on this book and it was delectable. By the first chapter I was intrigued, by the third I was curious, by the fifth I was terrified and by the eighth I was obsessed. There were moments I would re-read entire pages even out loud, just to hear them hang in the air. The story had a lyricism that is impossible to replicate. The words felt beautiful in my mouth as I read out loud like I was reading poetry, like biting into sweet bread or sipping on fine wine.
I am not here to say that Donna Tartt and The Secret History is for everyone. But I am here to say that for this mere reader, it sparked an inspiration that had long since lay dormant - and that is the ultimate reward for any story teller.