The Secret History Book Review Summary

Detailed Plot Synopsis of The Secret History

At Hampden College in New England, Californian student Richard Papen decides to study to Classics. The Classics course is taught by well-connected erudite Julian who teaches fatherly a small group of hand-picked students. This clique of students is made up of wealthy trust-funded Henry, rich homosexual Francis, possibly bi-sexual Charles and his pretty twin sister Camilla and Bunny who blags money off them all. Richard is weakly accepted into the group but it isn't until he discovers a terrible secret about the others that he is finally absorbed into the group. The secret is that during a re-enactment of a Greek Bacchanal the others have got so terribly drunk and drugged that during wild hallucinations they have accidentally murdered a local farmer on his own land. Bunny too discovers their secret and begins to taunt them with their guilt to such an extent that the others decide to do away with him. Richard is party to Bunny's cliff top murder and soon begins to suffer the clawing guilt of his murder with the others. The book describes wonderfully the dark awkwardness the murderers suffer in their guilt during the manhunt for Bunny and at his funeral.
This report prepared by John Marcel

Richard Papen arrives at Hampden College, Vermont, and is quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all Greek scholars, all wealthy, self-assured, and highly unapproachable. As Richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns the secret that binds them to one another...a secret about an incident in the woods one night where an ancient rite was brought to brutal life...and led to a gruesome death. Years later Richard reflects on the lengths they were willing to go to keep their secret, eventually leading to the downfall of them all.
This report prepared by CM

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Chapter Analysis of The Secret History

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Wild kid(s)?    -   committing crimes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student    -   scholar Age:    -   a teen    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   7 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Mountains/Cliffs    -   Yes Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Secret History

Donna Tartt Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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