[[ ePUB ]] The Little FriendAuthor Donna Tartt – Multi-channel.co

A Southern tale set in small town Mississippi shows the wreckage left behind after a beloved son, grandson, and brother, Robin, is murdered in his own front yard Evoking a little of Scout Finch, and a little of Flavia de Luce child sleuth from Alan Bradley s books , Harriet Cleve Dufresnes decides to solve her big brother s unresolved death Despite her innocence and youth, Harriet is deadly serious and doesn t mess around This isn t a cute story despite its childish heroine.There s so much I adore about this book The setting circa 1970 s when kids didn t know what screens were for the most part, Southern U.S with dilapidated old plantation houses with names such as Tribulation The people a collection of doting, aging great aunties, a pre teen boy who will do anything to impress his girl pal, and a gruff housekeeper who smells like love.Like her other two books, this one is lengthy, but is blessed with the same incredible storytelling I ve come to expect from Tartt She delves into the mindset of a twelve year old girl so well, illuminating lingering racial and class prejudices, and the brokenness of her family Harriet s life reaches a turning point she is forced to grow up during this pivotal summer.Despite the length, I flew through it I couldn t help myself I was all in The characters are fascinating and rich The mystery is spellbinding And, of course, the snakes They were far scarier than the white trash meth heads I was gasping aloud during many scenes Eeeeeeeeeeeeek Hisssssssssss How do people in Mississippi walk around I think I d need to be sedated in order to go out of doors A few things werethan a little odd the cover with the creepy old doll head WHY I noted the reference to one of the auntie s dolls, but it was such a minuscule detail, it doesn t make sense to adorn the cover of such a fantastically rich novel with that The other thing the title Again, I saw the reference, made by Dixon Dufresnes at the very end, but it just seemed off I wonder if Ms Tartt had any say in either of these decisions.The only thing I m unhappy with at the end of this engrossing coming of age story, is that I ve run out of books to read by Donna Tartt And I don t want to wait until 2024 for the next one Bestselling author Donna Tartt returns with a grandly ambitious and utterly riveting novel of childhood, innocence and evil.The setting is Alexandria, Mississippi, where one Mother s Day a little boy named Robin Cleve Dufresnes was found hanging from a tree in his parents yard Twelve years later Robin s murder is still unsolved and his family remains devastated So it is that Robin s sister Harriet unnervingly bright, insufferably determined, and unduly influenced by the fiction of Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson sets out to unmask his killer Aided only by her worshipful friend Hely, Harriet crosses her town s rigid lines of race and caste and burrows deep into her family s history of loss Having read Tartt s previous book, The Secret History, and loved it so much I did everything except start a cult based on the characters, I expected to feel the same way about this But I didn t Know why this book gets only one star YOU NEVER FIND OUT WHO KILLS ROBIN Let me just reiterate that the mystery of who what could have possibly been able to appear in someone s backyard, while the entire family is within hearing range and two kids are sitting on the back porch, and grab a nine year old boy and hang him in a tree, leaving no trace, motive, or evidence, IS NEVER SOLVED Excuse me while I bash my head against the wall for a minute Okay, I m back Disregarding that highly irritating nitpick that is guaranteed to keep me awake at night, The Little Friend is actually a very good story Fascinating, terrifying, complex at times a little too complex, I must admit the extensive cast of characters was hard to keep track of at times , morbidly engrossing, and with an ending that refuses to tell you anything.Ahem I m fine, really But seriously Donna come on I want to know who killed Robin Know how badly I m tempted to start stalking you and showing up at your door in the middle of the night, demanding answers because I KNOW YOU HAVE THEM Here s the thing since Donna Tartt is basically a genius see The Secret History, awrapped up and concentrated story, and my favorite of the two Tartt novels , I ve convinced myself that she has, in fact, figured out who the killer is Not only that, I think she reveals who the killer is through a hundred little clues and details hidden throughout the book, and we as the readers are supposed to prove our worth by locating these clues, putting them all together, and solving the mystery I m sorry, Donna I failed your test How about this if I come to your house and kowtow repeatedly while shrieking I m not worthy I m not worthy will you please, please throw a thickheaded reader a bone and tell me who killed Robin How about if I bring you chocolate This book, quite honestly, infuriated me The opening chapter is stellar and haunting so much so that I slogged through 500 pages on its promise alone Anyone beginning this novel will rightly so expect a Southern Gothic murder mystery The premise at least the one outlined on the dust jacket has so much potential set in a sleepy backwater Mississippi town, it follows the adventures of an overly precocious girl from a fallen plantation family think Scout Finch meets Nancy Drew who has vowed to find and punish her brother s killer However, the novel s momentum is quickly stalled by chapters and chapters of Abject Naturalism scene after scene of lush, dramatic, heady descriptions, microscopically attentive odes to Southern hallmarks like kudzu, honeysuckle, bickering maiden aunts, decrepit railroad tracks, sassy black maids, biscuits with maple syrup, poor white boys who look like they could have stepped out of a Confederate tintype, etc At first, I patiently waded through these indulgent and often silly window dressings, encouraged ever so slightly by Tartt s prose style However, Tartt takes unforgivable advantage of her linguistic flair, so much so that the suspense totally evaporates, and the true engine of the novel the mystery and romance of the murdered brother essentially gets lost among innumerable, inconsequential, floridly written digressions, all of which do nothing to advance the narrative I carried 500 pages of information around in my head, determined to sniff out clues and sleuth alongside our protagonist only to find, in the end, that it was a futile venture. I sort of want to scream when I read lukewarm reviews of this book Admittedly, people may get the wrong idea when they read the back jacket, or the first few pages, and anticipate some sort of murder mystery thrill.The death of Harriet s brother is merely background for her character The skill with which Tartt explores the inner workings and thought processes of a virtually abandoned 12 year old girl whose older brother s murder has never been solved cannot be praised highly enough Tartt seems to have magically leaped over that crevasse that seperates us from our youth, and from understanding the mysterious social workings of 12 year olds.I found this book, though lengthy, to be absolutely riveting. Oh, Harriet, you poor dear Twelve and a half, homely and unpopular The girl with the antique sounding name and possessor of an old soul She has a gruff, common sense approach to life that eschews flattery and wins her few fans among her peers and relatives In vain, the aunts tried to teach her to be polite But don t you understand , darling, said Tat, that if you don t like the fruitcake, it s better to eat it anyway instead of hurting your hostess s feelings But I don t like fruitcake I know you don t Harriet That s why I used that example But fruitcake is horrible I don t know anybody that likes it And if I tell her I like it, she s just going to keep on giving it to me You certainly can t argue with that logic.Harriet was just a babe, plopped down in a wind up swing, when her 9 year old brother was murdered in the family s yard during a Mother s Day celebration.Now, her older sister mostly sleeps and cries Her mother is mostly sedated She is raising herself with the help of a stern grandmother, a gaggle of great aunts and the housekeeper Having nothing in common with girls her age, she hangs out with a passel of boys enough boys so that they can play the apostles to her Jesus in a reenactment of the Last Supper This was one of my favorite parts of the book Her biggest goals for the summer Avoid going to church camp and win the library summer reading contest Who could not LOVE this girl Oh, and she s decided to solve the murder of her brother, committed so many years ago This bit of Nancy Drewism will land her smack dab in a nest of vipers literally , and deep into the dangerous world of a family of meth dealing ne er do wells This seems to be a love it hate it title I can see why it s not for everyone The pacing is slow and languid, much like the Mississippi summer setting of the book Things take their own sweet time unfolding Many of the characters are not likable And, yeah, there are unanswered questions I kept reading because I was in love with Harriet As one character describes her, Harriet was not sweet or whimsical by any stretch of the imagination Harriet was a trip. And that she was With distaste, Harriet reflected upon how life had beaten down the adults she knew, every single grown up Something strangled them as they grew older, made them doubt their own powers laziness Habit Their grip slackened they stopped fighting and resigned themselves to what happened That s Life That s what they all said That s Life, Harriet, that s just how it is, you ll see Well, Harriet would notsee She was young still, and the chains had not grown tight around her ankles Whatever was to be done shewould do it She would strike now while she still could, before her nerve broke and her spirit failed her with nothing to sustain her but her own gigantic solitude.She is gonna grow up to be one heckuva woman Part one while reading it This is what you call a slow read It is impossible to race thru these pages That is why I had two prior unsuccessful attempts to read this book An impatient mood is not a good mindset to read this one But I loved The Secret History and I just know that Donna Tartt is a good writer You just have to have quiet time on your hands to read this one So I m taking my time with this one and it s rewarding The descriptions Donna Tartt uses are long and sometimes it takes pages and nothing really happens But, as another reviewer said, boy, does Donna Tartt know how to write, eventhough nothing much really happens How she describes persons, surroundings, history, landscape It s something you have to take in slowly, taking in all the words in slowly So I read this book when the weather is good, outside in the garden, like this weekend It doesn t really work to read this book before going to sleep, I just don t take in the words as I should I have come to accept that the storyline is slow I love sitting down and reading pages pages about the brothers Ratliff, about the aunts of Harriet, about the brokendown parts of the town it s beautiful writing I m around page 257 today, halfway thru, so I expect it will take sometime to finish this one.Part two after having read it December I finished The Little Friend Summer has gone and winter is here and I did take time Part of the reason being that I got this one as a very heavy hardcover, so while travelling, I just don t take it with me And while travelling, I read the most And at some point, I just concluded I needed this book besides my bed, to read a couple of pages every day, slow and taking in all the detail I can imagine that some people feel betrayed becauwe of the beginning intriguing plot and then how this book progresses, but I have to say I really don t care I loved this book, the style, the characters, the story, the southern atmosphere All of it Sure I would have secretely liked to see a clear ending and a solution to the mystery, but at some point I saw it coming that this one was gonna be different When I finally got through the first say one fourth one third of the book I started immensely enjoying this book Donna Tartt is a great, talented writer How great is it to get into the mind of a child growing up fast and describe it in such amazing detail Four stars I gave Secret History five, because I think that story on the whole was just a bit better than this one Already looking forward to the next book of Donna Tartt And I really have to reread the Secret History Take your time with this one and enjoy it Donna Tartt always gives meinformation than I need Two people will be talking and you get a description of all the furniture in the room, a description of what s on TV, a description of what s going on outside the window, sometimes a memory, sometimes a dream before the dialogue is resumed Thus it can take pages for two characters to exchange four lines of dialogue In this novel she also gives me too many characters As always with Tartt it s crime that motors this novel In particular the effect a mysterious murder has on the family of the dead boy Harriet, the boy s younger sister, is at times a riveting portrait of troubled female adolescence Her home life in a forsaken claustrophobic deep southern town was often brilliantly evoked There s a compelling portrait of a black housekeeper not the usual sentimentalised fairy godmother figure of Hollywood who adores her little white wards but a mother so pinched by poverty and exploited by the family that she has little real affection to spare Tartt is also a master at creating suspense When she introduces into the narrative a born again preacher with crates of poisonous snakes the impulse is to get those pages turning quicker to reach the scene when the snakes are let loose, as we know they will be But in this novel the denouements of the created suspense often fell a bit flat for me, sometimes straying into cartoonish melodrama In fact the best parts of this novel were those depicting the inescapable claustrophobia and loneliness of life in an environment that has been forsaken The high octane cinematic set pieces by comparison felt forced, superimposed Ultimately there was a sense for me that the frame of this novel was too large for its canvas. Donna Tartt s second novel I am working my way backwards from The Goldfinch While I am still puzzled as to who is the little friend referred to in the title Hely and the choreography of the end at the water tank was confusing, nonetheless this was an exciting page turner and I feel that the protagonist Harriet was compelling I loved her curiosity, her brilliance, and her spunk she is not one to be double crossed The evocation of Alexandria, Mississippi reminded me greatly of my childhood in Florida Tartt s mastery of language and description is impressive The dream sequence of Harriet during The Blackbird chapter was mesmerizing transitioning from Scott s failed expedition to the South Pole to an Harry Houdini escape applauded by penguins amd highly memorable The dialogs particularly among Harriet s aunts are also highly realistic as are her onomatopoeia such as during The Pool Hall Crack The balls spun apart Odum walked to the opposite side and studied the table for several momentd Then he popped his neck quickly, by swinging it to one side, and leaned down to make his shot P 199 I felt like I was sitting at the bar or hidden with Harriet observing the scene Another descriptive passage later impressed me The street lamps were not yet lit the air smelled like hedge clippings, and bug spray, and honeysuckle Rose beds blazed magenta and carmine and Tropicana orange in the fading light P 266 Again, it was like I was on a bike next to Harriet and Hely.Later during The Red Gloves when they are up on the overpass, it was like they were Shipwrecked on a desert planetflapping flags, military funeral for the casualtieshomemade crosses in the dust Back on the horizon, the sparse lights of an alien settlement hostile, probably, enemies of the Federation P 316 The themes of southern memories of the Civil War and slavery, everyday racism, and the strained relationships between the prosperous and less prosperous whites with the subjugated blacks notably that of the maids Odean and Ida with their respective employers provided a realistic background to the story and reflected my own observations from living in the south Harriet was a big reader and frequently there are references such as shipwrecked above to kids books like Treasure Island that added to the realism of Harriet and Hely s perspectives There were also lots of bird images particularly blackbirds and knowing her next book is The Goldfinch, one would guess that Tartt is an avid bird lover Another theme which appears at the very end no spoilers I promise is being trapped underwater For example, She dreamed of black swamp water with ice in it, and country paths she had to run down again and again with a splinter in her foot from being barefoot of swimming upward through dark lakes, knocking her head against a sheet of metal that sealed her underwater, away from the surface air P 415 And again the theme of persistent memory Melancholy black drips of decay streaked the tank s facade from top to bottom but even though it wasn t really there any , the devil face, still it burned in Harriet s memory, like a light s afterburn ina recently darkened room P 433 So many things about the south came back to me, like this They were old kitchen curtains Danny still didn t know what Coriander was, or Mace, but he could still see the brown letters jingling along the mustard yellow cotton mace, nutmeg, coriander, clove and the very names were a poem P 470 I am nearly sure my mom had those same curtains or a tablecloth just like that.There were dozens of moments where I remembered Vacation Bible School and Christian summer camp because they were so thoughtfully evoked.While not a perfect book, The Little Friend is a great one where even the bad guy, Danny, is revealed in all his imperfect humanity and all the characters are relatively three dimensional I am planning to read The Secret History when the American Library of Paris gets it back in stock and then will impatiently wait Tartt s next book She is truly and exceptionally gifted storyteller and I derive immense pleasure from her writing Love Donna Tartt Currently reading this one and all I can think of is a passage from a writing fiction manual that I read The guy who wrote the article said that he once wrote a whole book and his publisher told him that it was good back story, it was good for the AUTHOR to get to know his characters so when he wrote about them they d be 3D and real but it wasn t necessary for the readers to know most of the stuff that was written You can remove a lot of the bulk from that first draft and keep it to yourself in your notes Things such as the character s births, clothing preferences, favourite foods and colours, hates, loves and so on.Tartt s work reminds me of that so many of the pages that are unnecessary, there s so much that could have been cut out but the thing is, I enjoy it I really do I wouldn t like it if every book that I read was as verbose and wandering as Tartt s, but I do so enjoy reading something like this on occasion It reminds me of how much I enjoy language and the craft of beautiful sentence structure, description how much I ve always enjoyed story telling about people and their surroundings I finished this book last night and when I read the final sentence, my mouth dropped open slightly, the book dropped from my hand onto the floor and I rolled over, squeezing my eyes shut in hopes that I would go immediately to sleep and not come on Goodreads and spew forth wtf s.This woman knows how to write She s great at it But she goes frickin NOWHERE with ANY of it It s unbelievable So unbelievable that I spent the entire book literally saying out loud, Oh.My.God, in reference to her superb ability to spew forth wonderfully crafted sentences and paragraphs about nothing NOTHING Anyone that can write an entire book about nothing is some type of wonderbeast Don t get me wrong, I m not attacking her for this I m really just astounded at her mad skills at weaving elaborate, wandering tales.I even thought, dude, this has to building up to some climatic ending and holy shit, if you ever get that far you will probably have the same astounded expression on your face as I did There were so many times in this book while I was reading that I said to myself in my head This.Lady.Is.Unfuckingbelievable Four, five, TEN pages could pass without anything happening YOU COULD SCRAP THESE PAGES and not know any better Get someone to do that, get someone to rip every other ten pages out and you will never know what you have missed, plot wise at least.There were sooo many moments where I d be like, dude, how is this even relevant or necessary WHY CAN T I STOP READING The entire book waffle Amazingly crafted prose that goes nowhere I felt like I was having to force myself through some of it, even though I was interested I just wanted things to regularly happen and when they didn t, I got restless I d measure how much I had left to go and groan Sometimes I d pick my book up and realise that I was holding it upside down yet I d been staring at the page for a minute or two Sometimes I realised I d written a to do list in my head, planned dinner, said the alphabet backwards and counted to 100 in French whilst having turned four or five pages I slept, ate and drank whilst holding this book open and staring at the page through my eyelids But at the same time, I felt this inner battle, this conflict because I was bored BUT I WAS JUST SO GOD DAMN INTERESTED It is a massive pile of words Tasty, heavy, Southern saturated wordy goodness.This entire review waffle Poorly constructed sentences that are trying to make a point Something to do with too much sleep, not enough caffeine on rising I won t be forgiven, but Tartt will Besides from ranting about Tartt s waffle which another reviewer describes as this book being a reading experience a nifty way of describing it, this book really is good You really do experience this novel it s really nothing like any other book that I have read The characters are the most dimensional, REAL people that I have encountered in a long time I felt like I was there, I felt the heat, I heard the snakes, I almost felt like I could touch every part of Harriet s house I loved the relationships between the people and the descriptions of everything Basically, I loved everything about this book except for the fact that nothing happened, and there s basically no resolution to any of the issues raised in the book but because of how well crafted it all is, I forgive her. Bestselling Author Donna Tartt Returns With A Grandly Ambitious And Utterly Riveting Novel Of Childhood, Innocence And Evil The Setting Is Alexandria, Mississippi, Where One Mother S Day A Little Boy Named Robin Cleve Dufresnes Was Found Hanging From A Tree In His Parents Yard Twelve Years Later Robin S Murder Is Still Unsolved And His Family Remains Devastated So It Is That Robin S Sister Harriet Unnervingly Bright, Insufferably Determined, And Unduly Influenced By The Fiction Of Kipling And Robert Louis Stevenson Sets Out To Unmask His Killer Aided Only By Her Worshipful Friend Hely, Harriet Crosses Her Town S Rigid Lines Of Race And Caste And Burrows Deep Into Her Family S History Of Loss