Donna Tartt is an expert on the kind of prose that reads poetically yet promptly, luring the reader into a world that is hard to escape for the entirety of the book – and its lingering echo. Her story is told by an amicably naive young man, Richard, who travels across the country to attend a small, elite college on the east coast. Upon his arrival, he is pulled into an odd group of classics students who have become the teaching monopoly of a seasoned professor.
In the cocoon of the ancient cultures and his close-knit cohort, Richard faces an initial act of violence, another one at the zenith of the book, and finally a dramatic closing scene along which the raw and rather brutal nature of mankind comes to lay barren in front of him. Eventually, he is propelled back into the real world, leaving the reader with an exquisite insight into elitism, peer pressure and drug abuse at American colleges.
Recommended by my American half-sister, I cannot but also recommend this book as – warning, however, that it does mundanely drag on at times. …Though, with quite a realistic pulse.