The Secret History

  • by Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by Donna Tartt
  • 22 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The smartest murder-mystery you will ever hear.
A misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret. When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return.
Penguin Audiobooks presents Donna Tartt's cult thriller The Secret History, complete, unabridged, and read by the author.


What the Critics Say

"Haunting, compelling, brilliant." (The Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not worth it

Although the story could have kept me involved, having the author narrate was a HUGE mistake. Not only did she not narrate well but the fact that the main character was a male and she is a female was very off putting. The author should NEVER narrate their own books!
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- Meg

A compelling, magical experience

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

For anyone interested in the art of writing and the engagement of the reader's imagination this book is a must. At its base narrative level it has been characterized as a sort of superior murder conspiracy thriller playing out in the context of elite scholarship and mysterious alliances at a small New England college. True enough, but it's also so much more than that. Like all the best works of fiction, it expands from its premise to become a richly imagined, unique world of its own. Sure, at times it is uneven, but it is also a book that left me feeling bereft when I finished it. Structured as an outsider's memoir by a writer, now years older, looking back to an earlier time in his life, it mixes morality play, philosophical speculations, a witty critique of mores and class - to name a few of its perspectives - and does so without sacrificing the creation of characters that are vividly present and alive. And these people are not two dimensional. Not at all. They are as strange and unpredictable, as dull and as funny, as fascinating and as disappointing as those around us really are. Death is present, but this book is really about life and the profound mystery we are to ourselves. Finally, as its ultimate pleasure, this recording offers Donna Tartt's deliciously seductive and nuanced reading of her own work. A magical experience. Highly recommended.

What other book might you compare The Secret History to and why?

Donna Tartt's next book "The Little Friend" has some similarities, but it is also very different in other ways. It is more uneven than "The Secret History" and, at times, it does seem over written but there are moments and characters that are truly unforgettable. A book with highs I will never forget. Ever.

As a work that is also structured as an outsider's memoir, my memory of Robert Pirsig's "Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" is that it has a similar narrative tone when compared to "The Secret History". But it is quite a few years since I read it.

Have you listened to any of Donna Tartt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, I've not heard her do any other readings.

If you could take any character from The Secret History out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I'd like to have dinner with Donna Tartt. That would be so interesting and it would be real.

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- M. J. Walsh

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-30-2010
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd