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Gone Girl: A Novel [Hardcover]

Gillian Flynn
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 5 2012

Amazon.ca Editors' Pick: Best Books of 2012

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. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that 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 and 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 Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl 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 in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark 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.


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Review

“Ice-pick-sharp… Spectacularly sneaky… Impressively cagey… Gone Girl is Ms. Flynn’s dazzling breakthrough. It is wily, mercurial, subtly layered and populated by characters so well imagined that they’re hard to part with — even if, as in Amy’s case, they are already departed. And if you have any doubts about whether Ms. Flynn measures up to Patricia Highsmith’s level of discreet malice, go back and look at the small details. Whatever you raced past on a first reading will look completely different the second time around.”
—Janet Maslin, New York Times

“An ingenious and viperish thriller… It’s going to make Gillian Flynn a star… The first half of Gone Girl is a nimble, caustic riff on our Nancy Grace culture and the way in which ''The butler did it'' has morphed into ''The husband did it.'' The second half is the real stunner, though. Now I really am going to shut up before I spoil what instantly shifts into a great, breathless read. Even as Gone Girl grows truly twisted and wild, it says smart things about how tenuous power relations are between men and women, and how often couples are at the mercy of forces beyond their control. As if that weren’t enough, Flynn has created a genuinely creepy villain you don't see coming. People love to talk about the banality of evil. You’re about to meet a maniac you could fall in love with.”
Jeff Giles, Entertainment Weekly

“An irresistible summer thriller with a twisting plot worthy of Alfred Hitchcock. Burrowing deep into the murkiest corners of the human psyche, this delectable summer read will give you the creeps and keep you on edge until the last page.”
—People (four stars)

“[A] thoroughbred thriller about the nature of identity and the terrible secrets that can survive and thrive in even the most intimate relationships. Gone Girl begins as a whodunit, but by the end it will have you wondering whether there’s any such thing as a who at all.”
Lev Grossman, Time

“How did things get so bad? That’s the reason to read this book. Gillian Flynn — whose award-winning Dark Places and Sharp Objects also shone a dark light on weird and creepy, not to mention uber dysfunctional characters — delves this time into what happens when two people marry and one spouse has no idea who their beloved really is.”
USA Today, Carol Memmott

“It’s simply fantastic: terrifying, darkly funny and at times moving. The minute I finished it I wanted to start it all over again. Admirers of Gillian Flynn’s previous books, Sharp Objects and Dark Places, will be ecstatic over Gone Girl, her most intricately twisted and deliciously sinister story, dangerous for any reader who prefers to savor a novel as opposed to consuming it whole in one sitting….”
Associated Press, Michelle Weiner

“Gillian Flynn’s third novel is both breakneck-paced thriller and masterful dissection of marital breakdown… Wickedly plotted and surprisingly thoughtful, this is a terrifically good read.”
Boston Globe

“That adage of no one knows what goes on behind closed doors moves the plot of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn's suspenseful psychological thriller… Flynn's unpredictable plot of Gone Girl careens down an emotional highway where this couple dissects their marriage with sharp acumen… Flynn has shown her skills at gripping tales and enhanced character studies since her debut Sharp Objects, which garnered an Edgar nod, among other nominations. Her second novel Dark Places made numerous best of lists. Gone Girl reaffirms her talent.” 
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Oline Cogdill

“A great crime novel, however, is an unstable thing, entertainment and literature suspended in some undetermined solution. Take Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, the third novel by one of a trio of contemporary women writers (the others are Kate Atkinson and Tana French) who are kicking the genre into a higher gear… You couldn’t say that this is a crime novel that’s ultimately about a marriage, which would make it a literary novel in disguise. The crime and the marriage are inseparable. As Gone Girl works itself up into an aria of ingenious, pitch-black comedy (or comedic horror — it’s a bit of both), its very outlandishness teases out a truth about all magnificent partnerships: Sometimes it’s your enemy who brings out the best in you, and in such cases, you want to keep him close.”
Salon
 
“Ms. Flynn writes dark suspense novels that anatomize violence without splashing barrels of blood around the pages… But as in her other books, Ms. Flynn has much more up her sleeve than a simple missing-person case. As Nick and Amy's alternately tell their stories, marriage has never looked so menacing, narrators so unreliable.” 
Wall Street Journal

“A portrait of a marriage so hilariously terrifying, it will make you have a good hard think about who the person on the other side of the bed really is. This novel is so bogglingly twisty, we can only give you the initial premise: on their fifth anniversary, Nick Dunne’s beloved wife Amy disappears, and all signs point to very foul play indeed. Nick has to clear his name before the police finger him for Amy’s murder.”
Time

“Readers who prefer more virulent strains of unreality will appreciate the sneaky mind games of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, a thriller rooted in the portrait of a tricky and troubled marriage.”
New York Times

“[Flynn has] quite outdone herself with a tale of marital strife so deliciously devious that it moves the finish line on The War of the Roses… A novel studded with disclosures and guided by purposeful misdirection… Flynn delivers a wickedly clever cultural commentary as well as a complex and driven mystery… What fun this novel is.”
New York Daily News
 
“Flynn’s brilliantly constructed and consistently absorbing third novel begins on the Dunnes’ fifth wedding anniversary… The novel, which twists itself into new shapes, works as a page-turning thriller, but it’s also a study of marriage at its most destructive.”
Columbus Dispatch
 
“Gillian Flynn's barbed and brilliant Gone Girl has two deceitful, disturbing, irresistible narrators and a plot that twists so many times you'll be dizzy. This "catastrophically romantic" story about Nick and Amy is a "fairy tale reverse transformation" that reminded me of Patricia Highsmith in its psychological suspense and Kate Atkinson in its insanely clever plotting.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
 
“For a creepy, suspenseful mystery, Ms. Pearl suggested Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, a novel due out this week. "You will not be able to figure out the end at all. I could not sleep the night after I read it. It's really good," Ms. [Nancy] Pearl said. "It's about the way we deceive ourselves and deceive others."”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Gillian Flynn's new novel, Gone Girl, is that rare thing: a book that thrills and delights while holding up a mirror to how we live… Through her two ultimately unreliable narrators, Flynn masterfully weaves the slow trickle of critical details with 90-degree plot turns… Timely, poignant and emotionally rich, Gone Girl will peel away your comfort levels even as you root for its protagonists—despite your best intuition.”
San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Flynn’s third noir thriller recently launched to even more acclaim than the first two novels, polishing her reputation for pushing crime fiction to a new literary level and as a craftsman of deliciously twisting and twisted plots.”
Kansas City Star
 
“I picked up Gone Girl because the novel is set along the Mississippi River in Missouri and the plot sounded intriguing. I put it down two days later, bleary-eyed and oh-so-satisfied after reading a story that left me surprised, disgusted, and riveted by its twists and turns… A good story presents a reader with a problem that has to be resolved and a few surprises along the way. A great story gives a reader a problem and leads you along a path, then dumps you off a cliff and into a jungle of plot twists, character revelations and back stories that you could not have imagined. Gone Girl does just that.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“To call Gillian Flynn's new novel almost review-proof isn't a put-down, it's a fact. That's because to give away the turn-of-the-screw in this chilling portrait of a marriage gone wrong would be a crime. I can say that Gone Girl is an ingenious whodunit for both the Facebook generation and old-school mystery buffs. Whoever you are, it will linger, like fingerprints on a gun… Flynn's characters bloom and grow, like beautiful, poisonous plants. She is a Gothic storyteller for the Internet age.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

“The setup of Gone Girl lulls readers with what appears to be a done-too-often plot, but, oh, how misleading that is. This thriller is told in alternating voices, a risky form of narrative that works masterfully here because th...

About the Author

GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the runaway hit Gone Girl, an international sensation that has spent more than eighty-five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her work has been published in forty languages. Gone Girl is soon to be a major motion picture from Twentieth Century Fox. Flynn’s previous novels, Dark Places and Dagger Award winner Sharp Objects, were also New York Times bestsellers. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, she lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best suspense books I've ever read June 11 2012
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
We've all read the stories in newspapers - a woman goes missing and the husband is the prime suspect. And he loudly proclaims his innocence....even as the evidence mounts....

Gillian Flynn put her own spin on this idea in her latest book - Gone Girl.

It is the day of Nick and Amy's fifth anniversary. It is also the day Amy disappears. Left behind - the first cryptic clue in a treasure hunt Amy always sets up for Nick.

The first part of Gone Girl is told in alternating chapters from Nick's present time viewpoint, with flashbacks to memories. Amy's voice is heard from the pages of a diary, starting from seven years ago and building up to the day she disappears. The narratives each tell a completely different story. Who is telling the truth? The second part - well, I'm not going to spoil the plot for you, so I'll stop there.

I am a huge fan of psychological thrillers and with Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn has crafted one of the best I've ever read. Really. The plot line is completely unpredictable. It's rare for me to be completely surprised at the direction a book takes, but I was this time. Flynn toys with us in a completely delicious and devious manner. You'll want to read carefully - there are lies, secrets and omissions scattered throughout the book and each revelation ratchets up the stakes just a little higher.

While Gone Girl is a razor edged thriller, Flynn also explores marriage, attraction, family relationships and the media with that same sharp edged eye. Flynn's prose are are arresting, painting vivid images that crackle with intensity.

"....the girl a man like Nick wants: the Cool Girl. Men always say that as the defining compliment, don't they? She's a cool girl.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant thriller! July 9 2012
Format:Hardcover
This is the book that I'll be recommending to all of my friends looking for a great summer read. The plot is fascinating, the writing is tight, and the observations that characters make about gender roles, media, attachment and love are quote-worthy. This is the first of Ms. Flynn's books that I've read, and I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of Sharp Objects.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Engrossing 'Whydoit' June 14 2012
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This book has so much buzz that I had to give it a try. The story covers one of those "ripped from the headlines" dramas that NBC's Today show loves to cover. A wife disappears and suspicion soon falls on the husband. But do not be misled, this outing is far more layered than its packaging. It is constructed from two different views reminiscent of David Mamet's Oleanna with the plot's twists and turns causing us to pick sides while repeatedly fooling us.

These alternating viewpoints made me quicken my reading pace, I did not want either main character to have the final word so it was a challenge to put it down. Author Flynn's descriptive prose is another reason for speedy consumption. In this era of soundbites and 140-character Tweets, her book is replete with taut, entertaining quips and observations, such as her description of a character with a "rocket-science brain and the rodeo spirit" or that one enjoyed "taking thick afternoon naps", or the husband's lament that "My wife was no longer my wife but a razor-wire knot daring me to unloop her". Each page was an archaeological dig into the psychology of this couple which is appropriate because this is much more than a whodunit...it is a far more engrossing whydoit.

Embedded throughout is an indictment of the media in sensationalizing human drama and misfortune. When a few layers of the onion has been peeled back it is noted that "The bigger the lie, the more they believe it." The real criticism is directed at the blurring of news and entertainment and the manipulation and misdirection that results. George Orwell said, "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is pubic relations." Arguably, everything is public relations and always has been.

Gillian Flynn does not waste a page in this dark and suspenseful read ... if this is one of your book club's selections then look forward to lively discussion and dissection.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marriage made in hell June 23 2012
By Len TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Hate and revenge can be powerful motivators and rarely can hate be greater than with husband and wife. They're breaking up and infidelity is a factor. Mind games are played to the extreme and like all break-ups, there is no clear protagonist which can make reading difficult. The story is told in the first person by each wronged party and each, gets a chance to wear the white hat. Like all broken relationships, there is no clear villain. However, in the case of Amy and Nick, their flaws are more extreme. On one side, we have the perfectionist, the beautiful woman, born an only child who expects too much of everyone. On the other, is the handsome man, easy-going, the life of the party, who expected little more out of life than to not turn out like his abusive father. It's a terrific story with two extreme characters that are so carefully developed, that their extreme behaviours become totally believable. An interesting, fun and at times, difficult read about a marriage made in hell.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Kay
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I liked the first half of the book, the second half read like an episode of Murder She Wrote. The characters were somewhat interesting but not truly likeable. You have to care about the characters to root for them. I felt Amy & Nick were one in the same and therefore the book lacked any real suspense for me.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Long start!
Book was pretty boring until half way through. Glad it got better and in the end it was actually a good story line!
Published 1 day ago by Alicia L Peters
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Long, long start. Got interesting halfway thru, & then abrupt ending!!
Published 2 days ago by nanette dunham
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Really a good read
Published 7 days ago by Carol
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great novel by a really accomplished writer hitting her stride
I just read the reviews to date and although I hadn't planned to leave a review myself, feel I must stand up for Gone Girl, which kept me reading eagerly to the end, and it was an... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Olivia Jennings
5.0 out of 5 stars Wha??!
I love this book! I almost read it in one sitting. If you want a great, suspenseful page turner this summer look no further.
Published 17 days ago by Sandra Ibrahim
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
Best novel I've read in a while!!! Literally couldn't put it down it was so good. Great mystery and suspense. Would definitely recommend.
Published 17 days ago by saz
5.0 out of 5 stars Service and book
Great book speed delivering always great service! Love those kind of books hope she writes many more. Totally like and enjoyed
Published 20 days ago by leann
5.0 out of 5 stars a real mind bender
An excellent book! Many twists keep the reader anxious to keep going. Certainly the best book I have read this year, and I will certainly look up some of Flynn"s other novels.
Published 27 days ago by kayak
3.0 out of 5 stars good plot, standard writing
Gone Girl will surely be a good movie since the weakness of the book is in its writing. The plot is quite effective. Nice pacing. A good summer read.
Published 27 days ago by Patrick Martel
4.0 out of 5 stars Kooky but good
Good read, although a bit kooky. Took me a little while to get into this book but I enjoyed it. Very different.
Published 1 month ago by Nandan Randhawa
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