the day of
When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of
it, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of the
head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it.
Like a shiny, hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil. She had what the
Victorians would call finely shaped head. You could imagine the
skull quite easily.
I'd know her head anywhere.
And what's inside it. I think of that too: her mind. Her brain, all
those coils, and her thoughts shuttling through those coils like fast,
frantic centipedes. Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspooling
her brain and sifting through it, trying to catch and pin down
her thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy? The question I've asked
most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person
who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every
marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are
you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?
My eyes flipped open at exactly six a.m. This was no avian fluttering
of the lashes, no gentle blink toward consciousness. The awakening
was mechanical. A spooky ventriloquist- dummy click of the lids:
The world is black and then, showtime! 6- 0- 0 the clock said-- in my
face, first thing I saw. 6- 0- 0. It felt different. I rarely woke at such a
rounded time. I was a man of jagged risings: 8:43, 11:51, 9:26. My
life was alarmless.
At that exact moment, 6- 0- 0, the sun climbed over the skyline of
oaks, revealing its full summer angry- god self. Its reflection flared
across the river toward our house, a long, blaring finger aimed at me
through our frail bedroom curtains. Accusing: You have been seen.
You will be seen.
I wallowed in bed, which was our New York bed in our new house,
which we still called the new house, even though we'd been back here
for two years. It's a rented house right along the Mississippi River,
a house that screams Suburban Nouveau Riche, the kind of place
I aspired to as a kid from my split- level, shag- carpet side of town.
The kind of house that is immediately familiar: a generically grand,
unchallenging, new, new, new house that my wife would-- and did--
"Should I remove my soul before I come inside?" Her first line upon
arrival. It had been a compromise: Amy demanded we rent, not buy,
in my little Missouri hometown, in her firm hope that we wouldn't
be stuck here long. But the only houses for rent were clustered in
this failed development: a miniature ghost town of bank- owned,
recession- busted, price- reduced mansions, a neighborhood that closed
before it ever opened. It was a compromise, but Amy didn't see it that
way, not in the least. To Amy, it was a punishing whim on my part, a
nasty, selfish twist of the knife. I would drag her, caveman- style, to a
town she had aggressively avoided, and make her live in the kind of
house she used to mock. I suppose it's not a compromise if only one of
Author: Gillian Flynn
GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the New York Times bestseller Dark Places, which was a New Yorker Reviewers' Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice; and the Dagger Award winner Sharp Objects, which was an Edgar nominee for Best First novel, a BookSense pick, and a Barnes & Noble Discover selection. Her work has been published in twenty-eight countries. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
"Ice-pick-sharp... Spectacularly sneaky... Impressively cagey... Gone Girl is Ms. Flynn's dazzling breakthrough. It is wily, mercurial, subtly layered and populated by characters so well imagined that they're hard to part with -- even if, as in Amy's case, they are already departed. And if you have any doubts about whether Ms. Flynn measures up to Patricia Highsmith's level of discreet malice, go back and look at the small details. Whatever you raced past on a first reading will look completely different the second time around." - Janet Maslin, New York Times
"An irresistible summer thriller with a twisting plot worthy of Alfred Hitchcock. Burrowing deep into the murkiest corners of the human psyche, this delectable summer read will give you the creeps and keep you on edge until the last page." - People (four stars)
"How did things get so bad? That's the reason to read this book. Gillian Flynn -- whose award-winning Dark Places and Sharp Objects also shone a dark light on weird and creepy, not to mention uber dysfunctional characters -- delves this time into what happens when two people marry and one spouse has no idea who their beloved really is." - USA Today, Carol Memmott
"It's simply fantastic: terrifying, darkly funny and at times moving. The minute I finished it I wanted to start it all over again. Admirers of Gillian Flynn's previous books, Sharp Objects and Dark Places, will be ecstatic over Gone Girl, her most intricately twisted and deliciously sinister story, dangerous for any reader who prefers to savor a novel as opposed to consuming it whole in one sitting...." - Associated Press, Michelle Weiner
"Gillian Flynn's third novel is both breakneck-paced thriller and masterful dissection of marital breakdown... Wickedly plotted and surprisingly thoughtful, this is a terrifically good read." - Boston Globe
"That adage of no one knows what goes on behind closed doors moves the plot of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn's suspenseful psychological thriller... Flynn's unpredictable plot of Gone Girl careens down an emotional highway where this couple dissects their marriage with sharp acumen... Flynn has shown her skills at gripping tales and enhanced character studies since her debut Sharp Objects, which garnered an Edgar nod, among other nominations. Her second novel Dark Places made numerous best of lists. Gone Girl reaffirms her talent." - South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Oline Cogdill
"A great crime novel, however, is an unstable thing, entertainment and literature suspended in some undetermined solution. Take Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, the third novel by one of a trio of contemporary women writers (the others are Kate Atkinson and Tana French) who are kicking the genre into a higher gear... You couldn't say that this is a crime novel that's ultimately about a marriage, which would make it a literary novel in disguise. The crime and the marriage are inseparable. As Gone Girl works itself up into an aria of ingenious, pitch-black comedy (or comedic horror -- it's a bit of both), its very outlandishness teases out a truth about all magnificent partnerships: Sometimes it's your enemy who brings out the best in you, and in such cases, you want to keep him close." - Salon
"Ms. Flynn writes dark suspense novels that anatomize violence without splashing barrels of blood around the pages... But as in her other books, Ms. Flynn has much more up her sleeve than a simple missing-person case. As Nick and Amy's alternately tell their stories, marriage has never looked so menacing, narrators so unreliable." - Wall Street Journal
"Readers who prefer more virulent strains of unreality will appreciate the sneaky mind games of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, a thriller rooted in the portrait of a tricky and troubled marriage." - New York Times
"[Flynn has] quite outdone herself with a tale of marital strife so deliciously devious that it moves the finish line on The War of the Roses... A novel studded with disclosures and guided by purposeful misdirection... Flynn delivers a wickedly clever cultural commentary as well as a complex and driven mystery... What fun this - New York Daily News