Synopsis: Who are you? What have we done to each other? These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?
Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
If you decide to read this incredible book, then I strongly suggest you do it at a time when you can get through it in one sitting. Every other task – working, eating, even sleeping becomes an exasperating disruption, or at least I found it so.
I’m not the biggest fan of thrillers recently, I tend to find them predictable and, lets face it, a bit boring. But Gone Girl has put the genre back on the map; it’s fast paced, completely unpredictable (does guessing the ending as a joke count?), and so electrifying that you will gasp out loud on numerous occasions.
The story is told from two perspectives, the husband suspected of murder, Nick, and the wife who has disappeared, Amy. I’ve not seen this done in a thriller before and really enjoyed seeing the difference between each character’s ‘reality’. At first I loved Amy and hated Nick, then swapped completely, then hated them both, and now have given up attempting to decide.
By the end of the story, I didn’t like either of them; but that’s what I loved about the book, you’re not supposed to like them. Flynn has a very good handle on all the human weaknesses (the need for affection, greed, hypocrisy, and pride); she touches on the simple and unfortunate facts of life that are often overlooked. I couldn’t help but connect with both Nick and Amy on a number of occasions when they discussed the break down of their relationship:
“There’s something disturbing about recalling a memory and feeling utterly cold.”
“Give me a man with a little fight in him, a man who calls me on my bullshit. (But who also kind of likes my bullshit.)”
Whilst reading Gone Girl, I couldn’t help but fall into a deeper, philosophical debate about the nature of our personalities. In part two, Nick says …
“It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected form and endless automat of characters.”
… and I completely agree. In an era with multi-dimensional realities (physical, personal, virtual) and the ability to adapt, improve, or even change your personality within these channels; do we not define ourselves with the use of references to different stereotypes – pigeonholing ourselves into something others will understand and like.
This is why I can’t hate the ending. A lot of people do and, I have to admit, the ending is why I originally knocked off a star. But since reading it I’ve had to do something I rarely do – change the rating. However far-fetched and unrealistic the ending may seem, in a perverse way it makes sense to me; especially when you take the concept of fluid personalities into account. Nick and Amy are very different people, in reality and in their perception of each other. But one thing is for certain – each is the only person that has a chance in hell of understanding the other completely.
“Who would I be without Amy to react to? Because she was right: As a man, I had been my most impressive when I loved her – and I was my next best self when I hated her.”
Isn’t that what love is? Having someone that knows you completely; not the façade you put up for the outside world but the real you – the good, the bad, the ugly. The couple remind me of Cathy and Heathcliff – crazy, insane and destructive – but sweet, in a twisted kind of way.