Gone Girl

Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn

In my brief review of Charlotte Roche’s Wetlands I ended by praising Roche’s creation of “a first person narrator who is so unconsciously unreliable, so dangerous without even being aware of it: the fully liberated modern woman as a psychopath.” Enter Amy Elliott Dunne and this tale of twenty-first century fatal attraction. It’s effectively written and exquisitely observed, but one wonders how to take it. The improbabilities in the plot escalate wildly in the second half, until at the end we seem to have entered the realm of sheer psychological fantasy. It’s still a lot of fun, but I think it muddies the point being made. As with any psychopath, Amy doesn’t really represent anything, she just is. The comic epilogue is a challenge thrown at the reader, a parody affirmation of family values. The question is set: just what are those values anyway? Amy appears to be a success in every conventional way: young, beautiful, rich, in control of her life. For that she has to be admired, doesn’t she?