Summary and book reviews of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

A Novel

By Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
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    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jun 2012,
    432 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2014,
    432 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Book Summary

Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn, takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. As The Washington Post proclaimed, her work "draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction." Gone Girl's toxic mix of sharp-edged wit with deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge.

Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Employing her trademark razor-sharp writing and assured psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

Chapter One

Nick Dunne
The Day Of

When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of it, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of the head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it. Like a shiny, hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil. She had what the Victorians would call finely shaped head. You could imagine the skull quite easily.

I'd know her head anywhere.

And what's inside it. I think of that too: her mind. Her brain, all those coils, and her thoughts shuttling through those coils like fast, frantic centipedes. Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspooling her brain and sifting through it, trying to catch and pin down her thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy? The question I've asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
For additional features, visit www.gillian-flynn.com.
 
In order to provide reading groups with the most informed and thought-provoking questions possible, it is necessary to reveal important aspects of the plot of this novel. If you have not finished reading Gone Girl, we respectfully suggest that you wait before reviewing this guide.
 
Introduction
Deceit, infidelity, suspicion... and that's only the beginning.

When Nick and Amy fall in love, they are the confident, handsome man and the beautiful, privileged young woman embracing in front of their Brooklyn Heights brownstone and sharing a laugh at the expense of less blissful couples. Eventually, their picture-perfect union falters: Amy grows weary of the &...
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Reviews

BookBrowse

On finishing Gone Girl I immediately contacted my friends to insist they read it; it's one of those books that I simply couldn't wait to discuss with others. I found it to be an original, engaging mystery that kept me guessing throughout. It's the perfect novel for readers looking for fast-paced escapism.   (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

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Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. One of those rare thrillers whose revelations actually intensify its suspense instead of dissipating it.

Booklist

Starred Review. Both a compelling thriller and a searing portrait of marriage, this could well be Flynn’s breakout novel. It contains so many twists and turns that the outcome is impossible to predict.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Flynn cements her place among that elite group of mystery/thriller writers who unfailingly deliver the goods... Once again Flynn has written an intelligent, gripping tour de force, mixing a riveting plot and psychological intrigue with a compelling prose style that unobtrusively yet forcefully carries the reader from page to page.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Flynn masterfully lets this tale of a marriage gone toxically wrong gradually emerge... Compulsively readable, creepily unforgettable, this is a must read for any fan of bad girls and good writing.

Author Blurb Tana French, New York Times bestselling author of Faithful Place and Into the Woods
Gone Girl is one of the best ­and most frightening ­portraits of psychopathy I've ever read. Nick and Amy manipulate each other ­with savage, merciless and often darkly witty dexterity. This is a wonderful and terrifying book about how the happy surface normality and the underlying darkness can become too closely interwoven to separate.

Author Blurb Kate Atkinson, New York Times bestselling author of Started Early, Took My Dog and Case Histories
"The plot has it all. I have no doubt that in a year's time I'm going to be saying that this is my favorite novel of 2012. Brilliant.

Author Blurb Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Dangerous Thing and I'd Know You Anywhere
Gone Girl builds on the extraordinary achievements of Gillian Flynn's first two books and delivers the reader into the claustrophobic world of a failing marriage. We all know the story, right? Beautiful wife disappears; husband doesn't seem as distraught as he should be under the circumstances. But Flynn takes this sturdy trope of the 24-hour news cycle and turns it inside out, providing a devastating portrait of a marriage and a timely, cautionary tale about an age in which everyone's dreams seem to be imploding.

Author Blurb Adam Ross, New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Peanut
Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl is like Scenes from a Marriage remade by Alfred Hitchcock, an elaborate trap that's always surprising and full of characters who are entirely recognizable. It's a love story wrapped in a mystery that asks the eternal question of all good relationships gone bad: How did we get from there to here?

Reader Reviews
Joni

Great start-terrible ending
My daughter advised I read this book. I found the book riveting...as she said I would. I thought I had 50 pages left...and suddenly I was on the last page...with the worst ending I could have imagined. The characters were all losers in the end. Yuck!...   Read More

Rene G

Disappointment
I was really engrossed in the book; I couldn't put it down. Now I wonder why I wasted so much time reading it. The ending was very disappointing. I expected better.

Cloggie Downunder

witty, scary, funny, brilliant
Gone Girl is the third novel by American author, Gillian Flynn. “She was the girl that every girl wanted to be: beautiful, brilliant, inspiring and very wealthy. He was the guy that all men admired: handsome, funny, bright and charming. But on July ...   Read More

CWWJ

A savage disappointment
What a waste of a clearly skilled writer's talent. To destroy a creepy, suspenseful novel with such an awful ending is simply unforgiveable. In spite of its dreadfully illogical plot, Gone Girl was a page-turner until we turn the last page, when ...   Read More

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The Missing

According to the FBI's National Crime Information Center, 678,860 people were reported missing in 2011. The suspected cause of a disappearance was only recorded in about half of all cases. Of these, 3% were adults; 96% were juvenile runaways, about 1% were abducted by a non-custodial parent, and 0.1% abducted by a stranger. It should be noted that the police are required to alert the NCIC of any person under 21 who is missing, thus the NCIC stats should be a fairly accurate count of missing juveniles, but likely underestimate the number of adults who went missing, as those who were located within a short period of time were probably not reported to the NCIC.

The vast majority of missing person cases are cleared each year. In fact, in ...

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