The Little Friend

The Little Friend

  • Audio cassette
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Product details

  • Audio cassette
  • ISIS Publishing
  • ISIS Audio Books
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 0753117851
  • 9780753117859

Review Text

The Secret History was one of the publishing sensations of the early 1990s. Clever, frightening and disturbingly psychologically acute, this tale of classics students drawn into ritual madness achieved both enormous sales and impressive critical acclaim. Tartt's second novel has been long in coming, but the wait is worthwhile - this is a dark and compelling story of growing up in the American South. Nine-year-old Robin Cleve Dufresnes, beloved by everyone who knows him, is found dead, hanging from a tree in the garden of his Mississippi home. His murderer is never identified, and in the months following his death his family falls apart, his mother retreating into a fog of tranquillisers and his father vanishing to a job and a mistress in Nashville. 12 years later, Robin's sister Harriet, who was only a baby when he died, sets out to find his killer. Deciding that local bad boy Danny Ratliff is to blame, she plans vengeance, and is drawn into the drugs, crime and madness-ridden world of Danny and his disturbed brothers. Tartt herself grew up in Mississippi at the time the novel is set - the early 1970s - and her recreation of the milieu is perfect. The decaying fortunes of Harriet's family, her faded great-aunts with their spotless houses, the crazed itinerant preachers, the vast social divisions between rich whites and poor whites and blacks, all are brought immaculately to life. Most pervasive of all are the smells of a Southern summer - hot asphalt, sour milk, the lush rotten stink of the swamps surrounding the town - and the sense of fear, hanging over the narrative like the pervasive ammoniac reek of Farish Ratliff's methamphetamine laboratory. As Harriet - one of the most complex and convincing children in American fiction - pursues her foolish, desperately courageous quest, she comes face to face with real horror, both physical and emotional, and with consummate skill Tartt builds up the story detail by detail, seemingly trivial plot strands suddenly coming together to form gripping climaxes. This is a brilliant achievement, as chilling and well-plotted as The Secret History but with an extra layer of understanding and compassion for the characters that makes it more painful but also more touching. Let's hope we don't have to wait another ten years for Tartt's next novel. (Kirkus UK)show more