The second novel by Donna Tartt, best-selling author of The Goldfinch (winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize), The Little Friend is a grandly ambitious and utterly riveting novel of childhood, innocence and evil.
The setting is Alexandria, Mississippi, where one Mother's Day a little boy named Robin Cleve Dufresnes was found hanging from a tree in his parents' yard. Twelve years later, Robin's murder is still unsolved and his family remains devastated.
So it is that Robin's sister Harriet - unnervingly bright, insufferably determined, and unduly influenced by the fiction of Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson - sets out to unmask his killer. Aided only by her worshipful friend Hely, Harriet crosses her town's rigid lines of race and caste and burrows deep into her family's history of loss.
Filled with hairpin turns of plot and "a bustling, ridiculous humanity worthy of Dickens" (The New York Times Book Review), The Little Friend is a work of myriad enchantments by a writer of prodigious talent.
©2002 Donna Tartt (P)2015 Audible, Ltd
"A dazzling tour de force” (Daily Mail)
"Beautifully written and immaculately crafted ... even though there's humour, the tension is palpable. Unputdownable” (Daily Mirror)
"Harriet is one of the most engaging and rounded characters you are likely to find ... gorgeous, fluent, visual." (The Times)
Glad I persevered. Glad it was read to me.
Extremely detailed narrative and character analysis. Nicely read.
Seemed like it wasn't going anywhere for a long time but I eventually succumbed and enjoyed it by the end. However I believe if you make this your first Donna Tartt book it may put you off from reading her others which would be a pity.
"The unresolved American South."
The American Southern states, their class divisions, race division and religious peculiarities are the biggest characters of this book, the plot is built around the repercussions of a murder, the unsolved murder of a child, the reverberations of this death through the years and the family struggling to make sense of of the unthinkable. How it affects his sister Harriet and her world, perceived and real, where her obsession with the murder grow into unexpected and dangerous consequences.
I found the first part of the book unfocused and overly long, with an entire section about poisonous snakes and the religious use of them in some Southern churches a bit too much. The second part of the book was more energetic and entertaining but again undefined in its aim and message.
I chose this book as I enjoyed her previous book, Greenfinch. Sadly, I was disappointed by how tedious I found the present book. I've given up at chapter 8 after over 10 hours of listening daunted by the prospect of 14 more hours. Lots of characters that don't grab my interest populating a series of over-detailed stories, full of descriptive and simile-laden writing but lacking any narrative drive. I gather that if I had persevered for many more hours the story would pick up, but I couldn't be bothered to wait that long. I can see that the book evokes the atmosphere of the south eastern states of the USA, but it needed a narrative thread to carry the reader/listener thought the book rather than being a series of vignettes.
I can see that I'm in a minority of reviewers but I have to be honest that it bored me.
The narrator is very good, but that wasn't enough to keep me listening.
"Her third best book but still a wonderful story"
Great slice of Americana. Brilliantly told, lovely characters and a cracking yarn.
Now I just have to wait ten years for the next Donna Tartt novel...
I really enjoyed it
This is my favourite of the 3 books I have read, the story captivates from the start, and at times I was caught up in all the drama and was tense listening, all good.
"A wonderful read"
I was advised that The Little Friend lacked the impact and readability of the Goldfinch.
I disagree; it is every bit as beautifully written and engaging. The characters are drawn with such detail that it is as though they impact on all my senses.
The story was far too complicated with buttock clenchingly intricate detail - completely unnecessary layers if banal detail completely spoiled this story. an extremely disappointing listen.
Exquisite writing. Beautiful with palpable tension from a child's innocent point of view. Highly recommend any word that Donna Tartt writes
"Not her best but still a fab listen!"
Enjoyable, long, intriguing.
Probably the main character. She was interesting, believable and I felt like I understood her decisions.
It is a long book, however there are some fab moments including the snakes!
The beginning is quite sad and it is thought provoking.
Donna Tartt is the mistress of the convoluted story. This one is great - not quite as good as The Goldfinch, but I can't wait for her next book. She also tells a totally different story each time.
"A slow build up and a fast steep end"
A recommendation by my friend led me to go through this slow moving story until the last 100 odd pages. Engaging and tantalising but left me with various emotions.
Madam, you could have brought things around full circle. More clarity and the denouement was executed a little slovenly.
GRIPPING. Fairly well read and paced. The accent grated somewhat but typical of I assumed the local region.
Not entirely. Felt like fast forwarding till I reached the good bits.
Could be better.
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