You run up the stairs before you go to bed instead of walking. You hear a creaking noise and you hold your breath. You spin around far too quickly when you're raiding the cabinets for a snack because you sense someone behind you. There's no one there. Why do you feel so creeped out in your own house?
I don't know if you have ever felt this weird sense of fear in your own home, but I know that I have. I know that it's inexplicable, that there's no real reason to be afraid. But what if there was? What if there was something terrifying just around your own corner?
Gone Girl is the latest novel by Gillian Flynn, the author of the incredibly chilling Sharp Objects. The novel follows the disappearance of the beautifulAmy Elliot on the day of her five year wedding anniversary to husband Nick Dunne. The morning before she disappears, Nick narrates the opening to the novel, describing his eerie wake up call by the morning sun. He feels as if it tells him he has been seen, and begins to harbor a mysterious feeling of fear in his own home.
As the novel goes on, we learn that the Mississippi golden boy has plenty of reason to be scared. Juxtaposed with interjections from Amy's old diary entries, the reader sifts through a world where Nick is both victim and villain. Victim in his own eyes, and villain in the eyes of the public, who begin to turn on him as the investigation starts to turn up evidence of his failures as a husband.
The most chilling aspect of the novel is the way it details the duality of a marriage, of such an interpersonal relationship between two people. “What have we done to each other? What will we do?” thinks Nick. We all know that love can be terrifying, but Flynn animates our fears of intimacy by making Amy and Nick the mouthpieces for yearning to be together and apart all at once. Flynn carefully unveils their shortcomings and their evils, eventually turning everything on its head and making you completely uncertain of what you would be capable of in the same situation. Gone Girl is not a flirty beach read, but it's the kind of book that will have you looking over your shoulder, and thinking twice about exactly who you're dealing with, even if that person is yourself.
(Image courtesy of Goodreads)
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