Street Book Club: The Secret History

Shilpa Saravanan's pick explores money and power at an elite college—sound familiar?


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Photo: Gellinger / Pixabay

Book: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Recommended by: Shilpa Saravanan

Genre: Thriller — that is, it’s a clever boarding–school thriller à la Dead Poets Society, but one steeped in classical (rather than classic) works.

Synopsis: A student is found dead at a small, elite liberal arts college in New England. His friends did it—but how, and why? The journey there (and thereafter) explores the sometimes decadent, sometimes austere lives of a secluded group of brilliant, moneyed classics students absorbed in their academic pursuits—so much so that they try to bring them off the page and into reality.

Best line: “We don’t like to admit it, but the idea of losing control is one that fascinates controlled people such as ourselves more than anything.”

Who: Classics majors, social climbers, anyone with obsessive tendencies.

Where: This is a book that lends itself to not one but many reads and rereads; I consumed it most recently in Yorkshire.


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