by Gillian Flynn
Crown Publishers, 2012
We hear the husband’s side of the story first. Nick Dunne, out-of-work writer, spends his newfound leisure hours writing the story of his wife’s disappearance.
Then we hear from his wife. Amy Elliott Dunne, out-of-work writer, spends her newfound leisure hours telling her version of events, first in a diary and then in a tell-all truth spilling.
Flynn alternates between the voices of Nick and Amy to unfold her elaborately plotted story of Amy’s disappearance. Or, so it seems, anyway. It’s a sign of the intricate plotting of this book that, even after you’ve finished it, you’re not absolutely certain whose version of events you have read. It’s a sign of the intricate plotting of this book that, even after you’ve finished it, you’re not certain what is “truth” or “fiction” in the telling. It’s a book that leaves you pondering delicious possibilities. You will find yourself turning back pages to see how Flynn managed to pull something off. You will want to re-read it to see how she did it.
Flynn creates skillful mental images of her characters, making it easy to picture them and their surroundings. Nick, for example, “should cough out yellow Tweety Bird feathers when he smiles.” His twin sister, Margo, has the “face of a ’30s screwball-move queen” who would prompt a man from that period to “tilt back his fedora, whistle at the sight of her, and say, ‘Now, there’s a helluva broad!'”
Flynn adopts the nickname “Go” for Nick’s twin sister, and I never could settle into that name. I repeatedly mistook it for the verb. Other than that, this is an engaging book, well worth the read. When you’ve finished it, let me know what possibilities you ponder.