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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Sunday, June 22

Gone Girl

I finished Gone Girl and am not sure if that was the finish or if I’d lost a few pages. This book is odd for any number of reasons. I’d first suggested that Flynn’s style is what made the book tick. But I’ve since discovered that it isn’t the author’s style that makes it, but the style of the two main characters, Nick and Amy, or Tick and Tock. The plot’s structure is two-fold, alternating between Amy’s view, beginning seven years in the past, in diary form, to Nick’s view, with a number of flashbacks, on the day of their fifth anniversary, the day Amy disappeared, is “gone.” A sample of Amy’s diary style:

“I must look on the bright side. Literally. I must take my husband out of my dark shadowy thoughts and shine some cheerful golden light on him. I must do better at adoring him like I used to. Nick responds to adoration. I just wish it felt more equal. My brain is so busy with Nick thoughts, it’s a swarm inside my head: Nicknicknicknicknick! And when I picture his mind, I hear my name as a shy crystal ping that occurs once, maybe twice, a day and quickly subsides. I just wish he thought about me as much as I do him.” Don’t you feel for Amy’s plight?

A sample of Nick’s style:

“I began imagining how it might happen. I began craving her [his mistress Andie’s touch] touch—yes, it was like that, just like a lyric from a bad ‘80s single—I craved her touch, I craved touch in general, because my wife avoided mine: At home she slipped past me like a fish, sliding just out of grazing distance in the kitchen or the stairwell. We watched TV silently on our two sofa cushions, as separate as if they were life rafts.” The beleaguered husband with the inattentive wife.

Oddity number 2: just when we think we know these two, we find that we don’t know them at all. You’ll have to read it to find out how.

Oddity number 3: The time lines converge in the middle of the story, Nick’s moving through the days after Amy’s disappearance, and Amy’s diary entries moving up to the present, with the tension building, building, up to that moment. And then we begin again, Nick in his present and Amy now out of the diary and into her present. And the characters shift into new territory.

I think I may have to read this novel again, just to see how Flynn accomplishes this legerdemain. Now you see it, now you don’t.

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