There are two sides to every story, but whose side do you believe? It’s a question I still don’t quite have an answer to in the case of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.
When beautiful Amy Dunne goes missing on the morning of her fifth wedding anniversary, the life of her husband Nick is turned upside down. As police try to find out what happened to Amy, Nick begins to be implicated in her disappearance.
Through a series of chapters – alternating between Nick’s narration and Amy’s diary entries – we learn more about the events leading up the day Amy went missing, and the days that come after.
Gone Girl is a difficult book to describe, not because its story is complex, but because I really, really don’t want to spoil anything. The novel is exquisitely pieced together, and to give even a hint of what goes on would lessen the enjoyment for you.
Flynn’s characters are at the same time sympathetic and repulsive, which is no mean feat. The first person narrative helps get you straight into the minds of the protagonists (or so you think), and enables the reader to have a much better picture of what is happening than either Amy or Nick.
Both characters have some redeemable qualities, but as the story unfolds they become much more layered, and by the end, while I liked one character more than the other, that like was only relative to how much I didn’t like the other.
Secondary characters, including Amy’s parents and Nick’s sister, are also well formed, although only ever seen through the eyes of Amy and Nick, so I was never sure how much of what I liked or disliked about them was because of the way they were seen by Amy and Nick.
A thriller and a love story, a horror and a novel about family, a mystery and an exploration of love, Gone Girl is many things. Flynn is adept at weaving together different strands into a cohesive, gripping tale which will left me stunned down to the very last word.