The stories I like best are the ones where I feel as though what’s not being told is far more important than what is. ‘The Secret History‘ by Donna Tartt is one such book. There is a subtlety about her voice in this book that you can’t help but admire if you’re a writer because you understand how irrepressible the “urge to tell” is, if you’re a storyteller. Another thing that makes this book incredible is that it has so many characters and yet each one is very much an individual, and their relationships with each other are so complex and well-developed.
If I had to think of one word to describe the voice in this book, it would be ‘disciplined’, or perhaps ‘controlled’. It doesn’t sound complimentary, but I definitely mean it as a compliment, because I think that’s the hardest thing to develop as a writer – control and discipline in how you use your voice. Lots of reviews say the writing is overwrought, but I disagree. I think they’re just a teensy bit envious, frankly. Her choice of language seemed to me to be very deliberate given the setting and characters. And oh yeah, great plot as well. Read it.