Just finished reading “Gone Girl“. It sticks in my mind, and I’m not sure why, so I’m going to see if I can figure it out.
One element about it; it strikes close to the balance that I’ve been striving for between literary and genre. Decent writing, decent characters, decent plot, and characters and plot titillating enough to carry casual readers.
But writers have always found ways around that, most easily by giving some distance to their POV to allow the writer to speak to the reader about elements that the character may not notice. This book’s lack of detail seems to be the writer’s style or a selected perspective to match the story being told.
To support that theory there are are many elements of superficiality and of emphasis between the surface and deeper realities, especially when the husband tells us that he’s lying to other characters, thereby hiding something from us as well. And one of the topics is media and public perception, meaning more looks at differing layers of reality. Maybe the lack of detail is a means of presenting the superficiality of modern society, or of presenting the thinness of the world as a metaphor for this. Or the self-absorption of the characters is just a normal aspect of modern society.
Salon writer Laura Miller thinks highly of the book and thinks it was snubbed for prize consideration because of its genre elements. I find this surprising because I don’t see that it has the qualifications for book of the year types of consideration. What “Gone Girl” makes me think of is a long, detailed episode of “Criminal Minds”. That’s not to say television writing is never good or that I don’t enjoy watching an episode of “Criminal Minds”, but it doesn’t try to achieve the level of award winning novels.
The more I think about it, the self-absorption of the characters is annoying. Both have excuses; one is a sociopath, the other is suspected of murder. The author, Gillian Flynn, was recently married when she wrote this book. I don’t expect either she or her husband to be sociopaths, but I hope their view of the world and of marriage is not so narrow.