London, Phoenix, 2013, 496p
Another one of those contemporary novels I have been meaning to read for a while, I finally found a few days on my half term holiday to be drawn into the dark, haunting world of Nick and Amy Dunne.
And all I needed was a few days (my flight was delayed, I was stuck in an airport for three hours longer than expected), despite this being a 500 page novel. Gone Girl is the story of a missing woman and her husband, who suddenly finds himself accused of her abduction and possible murder. Their relationship was on the rocks, and the police find significant evidence that places Nick at the scene of various unsavoury disturbances. And despite having the support of his sister and Amy's parents, Nick finds himself hurled into a media storm determined to drag his name through the mud.
The novel is narrated through both Nick and Amy - Nick's narrative explains what happens following the disappearance, whilst Amy's diary recounts their past: how they met, their marriage, their move to the suburbs, and their slow deterioration. Nick is clearly not the perfect husband, and Amy's diaries increasingly cast light on a growing fear she felt around him.
But the narrative is not as honest as it may seem, and in the second half of the novel, a whole new level of psychotic drama unfolds.
It is so difficult to write about this novel without ruining the plot, though I am sure most people have a vague idea of what happens (especially since the movie adaptation was recently released).
But I will say that it is a haunting novel about the darker side of relationships. As the story unfolds, it is not just Nick who is revealed to be a dishonest character, but Amy's true colours begin to show. These are not individuals that you root for or support - neither are 'in the right' - but you are gripped as you watch them destroy themselves and the world they have built together.