Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Summary from Goodreads:

Marriage can be a real killer.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Gone Girl presents marriage as a pool of uncertainty. You could be dipping in milk and honey at first bat. But milk can turn sour. But for Nick and Amy it did not just turn sour, it turned into acid. 

This being a psychological thriller, it has to be that the characters should be well crafted and fleshed out. It is, after all, their psyche, that is central to the story telling. And I found, Nick and Amy to be solid characters and have voices quite distinct from each other, that I did not have a problem identifying if I'm in the Nick Chapter of The Amy Chapter as I once previously had with an alternating POV in a YA book. It was through Nick's eyes that we are initially thrust into the story and then of course followed suit by Amy's. While I got a sense of who these people were, their personalities, their feelings, their quirks, and their past; I never could really put a finger on who's to blame, who's the bad guy, who screwed up the most. I could be Team Nick one day and Team Amy on another. The whole narrative was perfectly designed and did it's purpose of keeping me in the dark until way into the novel, when it has finally decided to reveal to me the 'big bomb', but in it's own terms. But then again, I am about as gullible and as daft in whodunits as the next schmuck. 

Still, one cannot discount the fact that it is a tense and taut storytelling. It moves with slow and mounting surety leading into the climax. And when Gillian Flynn paints a picture, it is never of descriptions that merely skim the surface, like describing a headstrong girl to be 'tough', or bad-ass', instead she uses clever words of description that gives much more depth to the one being described. Resulting in clearer visuals and better understanding. Take this for instance: "My speculative sister, she of the rocket-science brain and the rodeo spirit." (describing Margo, Nick's sister)

On the downside though, I did found one contradictory thing, an action of Amy's which I found to be somewhat out of character, that it felt quite contrived. And as to the ending, I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. But for sure, it wasn't what I was expecting, and that was nice, to still be surprised at the very end. I can't help but imagine Nick and Amy on this tight rope dance. There is no way to get through to the end, it's either one jumps off or shoves the other. Or they could just stand there, facing each other, dooming each other to a life of ducks and dodges, of clenched jaws, and tensed muscles, waiting for the rope to break beneath their feet.  

This is my first psychological thriller and I am terribly pleased about it. As far as the thriller part goes, it is highly suspenseful. And as far as the psychological part goes, one will find a battle of the wits enough to rival that of A Game of Thrones.  :)

Awards Received: Romantic Times (RT) Reviewers' Choice Award for Suspense/Thriller Novel (2012), Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013), Goodreads Choice Award for Best Mystery & Thriller (2012), Women's Prize for Fiction Nominee for Longlist (2013), Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle - policier (2013)

Award Winning Books Reading Challenge Entry No. 11

Comments

  1. You're done! And I'm glad that you liked it. I initially didn't like the ending, because well, I like happy endings, but I guess in hindsight, and open ending is the perfect ending no? ;)

    And I still can't make up my mind on whether I'm for Nick or for Amy. :)

    So, would you still want to read another Gillian Flynn? Her other books seem darker, though. I'm kind of wary starting another one. :)

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    1. After I read the ending, it bothered me a bit. I was looking for closure. But as I mulled over it, I thought of the same thing you did. That an open ending somehow seems fitting.

      Both Nick and Amy are something else no? They are a really messed up couple. 'Nuclear' as Go said. Sheesh. I hope there aren't marriages in the real world as intense as this one. Hee. :)

      Based on Gone Girl, which I very much enjoyed, yes, I would read another Gillian Flynn. I like the way she writes. And I know what you mean, about being wary. I checked the synopsis for the Sharp Objects and Dark Places and they are way way darker, more disturbing, and maybe more taxing than Gone Girl. Probably the type of novel where we need to be in a certain frame of mind first. Or we just need a break of lighter reading in between. :D

      Again, much much thanks for the copy Lynai! And for introducing me to this title! My first psychological thriller was awesome, thanks to you. :D

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  2. I haven't read a psych thriller in a while so when I feel the inspiration to pick one up, this is definitely the one I'm getting. :)

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    1. Yes, I second that, Monique! It has a different intensity to it. It's not the slasher-y kind. I definitely think it's a great read. :D

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