Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl reads as if aimed squarely at Hollywood in the footsteps of several other works of the same genre - that of failed relationships and their aftermath. They make popular movies, this one included.
Gillian Flynn prefaces her work with a quote from playwright Tony Kushner. He would have us believe that love between two people is a mutant state, in which lies and hatred and even murder are inevitable components of a loving relationship. Flynn depicts all three of these conditions in her characters, taking them to an unbelievable degree.
There is no sweetness and light here. It is almost all darkness and disappointment, and the reader is tempted to take sides, since each chapter is ‘written’ by the alternate protagonist, as he or she continually attempts to justify their behaviour and mislead the other and their family members.
The expletives employed in moments of extreme anger or disappointment by the characters in this story are prolific, whether used as noun, adjective or verb. Overuse is an irritating technique, however, since the swearing simply becomes mundane and loses its impact. And it is very ugly. It is difficult to be sympathetic to such behaviour.
However, the continual deception practised upon each other by these leading characters is the backbone of the story, and it goes on to the very end.
This reader was dissatisfied with the ending. If we are to believe that two people, one of whom is clearly a deadly psychopath, can practise such incredible (and never entirely divulged) deceit upon each other, and get away with it, what hope is there for their future? Can we believe that they have one?
Certainly, never if it was real life. Hopefully, in a storybook, only briefly.