Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
If you simply want great writing with a brilliant plot, this book deserves the cumulative forty thousand stars it’s been given. Gillian Flynn is a master wordsmith; the phrases she turns are visionary and always fresh. This is four hundred pages packed with truly clever and poetic verbal virtuosity. The back-and-forth diaries are compelling.
At the same time, the book is needlessly and relentlessly vulgar. Every kind of low and depressing sexual act is described; “F words” and worse abound in ways that are, yes, descriptive, but oh so unnecessary. (Distressing, because the writer’s bio picture makes you think of someone you’d sit next to at church!) On top of this, the entire saga is completely amoral. The two lead characters have nothing about them that we can admire or even feel sympathy for. The final plot twists are not satisfying at all, with an ending that is abrupt and emotionally baffling, not to mention ludicrous.
This is a tour de force in describing total depravity and narcissistic dysfunction; for that, the five stars are an accurate gauge. But I can’t help but think that some redemption could make Ms. Flynn’s writing so much more powerful and enriching to a world that needs ennobling literature.