Gone Girl is already my favorite book of the year. A dark, disturbing portrait of a husband and wife who know each other a little too well, and who have no doubts or hesitation about using their knowledge to both torment and support the other in ways both subtle and overt. Think Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe? mashed up with a Michael Connelly noir mystery and you’ll have some idea of what the book is like. It pulls no punches, leaves no psychological stone unturned.
It also has one of the most psychologically cunning villains to come along since Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs (we’ll conveniently forget the wretched sequels to that masterpiece).
From the jacket blurb:
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?
This book is monstrous in many ways, yet still monstrously entertaining.
The ending has given some readers pause. It’s an ending that the story drives toward relentlessly, an almost necessary outcome based on everything that’s come before; but it’s not the ending the typical reader craves. I understood the logic behind the ending even as it left me rattled and disturbed. Still, it’s a magnificent work, at turns shocking and surprising. Highly recommended.