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  • The Little Friend

  • By: Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by: Laurel Lefkow
  • Length: 24 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (79 ratings)

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The Little Friend cover art

The Little Friend

By: Donna Tartt
Narrated by: Laurel Lefkow
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Editorial reviews

Winner of the WH Smith Literary Awards 2003, The Little Friend is written by Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt, with an audiobook narration by the brilliant voice artist Laurel Lefkow. A little boy is found murdered in the front garden of his Mississippi town, the mystery of his death never solved. His sister is the only person who delves deep into the very roots of the community to uncover his killer. This novel is all at once gripping, tense, suspenseful and addictive. It is the work of a master writer. Available now from Audible.

Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What listeners say about The Little Friend

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Don't make this your first Tartt book.

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.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Very boring. Read The Secret History instead.

Donna Tartt needed to be put on a severe adjective budget with this novel. What could have been a wonderful book feels like wading through semi-set concrete. It is SO slow and pointless, weighed down with way too much useless description. The reading is wonderful if you do choose to listen to this book, but I would highly recommend reading The Secret History which is excellent, or The Goldfinch which is very good, over this overly long, dull story. What a shame her editor didn't push her to cut this back a little and turn it into something worthwhile!

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not The Goldfinch

A long read is very often worth it, unfortunately not for me this time. Not the Goldfinch :( Snakes and Red Necks.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A great read A Story of the South.

A great read ‘a southern story’. The novel is about an unsolved murder of small child Robin. The story details the effects on the extended family of Robins murder, and in particular his sister Harriet. The author give us insight into the plight of the poor though the eyes of Harriet. The author uses the humour of situations Harriet gets into to tell parts of the story.
If you like The Secret History and the Goldfinch you will enjoy this book. The detail of life in Mississippi is not to be missed.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Dissatisfying

After reading The Secret History and The Goldfinch I was quite excited to read the sophmoric Tartt Novel.

But this one did not hold up. I read a lot of novels, and this one was one of the few where I felt like I had just wasted part of my life.

Most of the characters in the book are so under developed, it’s strange they are given POV chapters when they are then abandoned to any further introspection into motive or feeling.

Alison spends 90% of the novel crying or standing around barefoot. Both of which we never understood why.

Charlotte’s relationship with her husband, picked up and down throughout the novel - never examined, even though it’s painfully dragged right up to the final scenes.

And yet on the other hand Harriet is so over examined that nothing she does ends up having any tension at all. She spends a good deal of her time practising to hold her breathe under water - so when she has to play dead in the water, it’s more of a ‘duh’ moment than creating any suspense.

I would not recommend this novel. At all.

But I’m glad The Goldfinch fulfilled the promise of The Secret History. Both of which the crime is revealed early - and yet manages to create tension and suspense.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mai
  • 28-09-2023

Underwhelming ending

This is my second read of a Donna Tartt book. She’s a great writer conveying vivid images and emotions but again, I felt underwhelmed by the ending. Maybe this is her signature. You may still enjoy it though!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another Jewel

Very good reading. Great story as Donna Tart always does. I love how she always gives children an important voice.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story!

My first Donna Tart book and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Loved the lazy ramblings of day to day life of small town Mississippi and the relationships between all the characters - all people that will stay in my mind for quite some time as I feel I know them intimately. And I could listen to Laurel Lefkow’s voice all day long!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing.

This story was well written and kept me interested until the end. Was a little disappointed with the ending but otherwise enjoyed it.

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