Gone Girl is clever, maybe too clever.
The point of view characters are smart – smart ironic, rather than emotionally intelligent. The plot contains lots of twists and turns, most of which I foresaw, apart from those toward the end. By then the narrative had stretched so far into incredulity as it struggled to conform to the demands of the plot – rather than illuminating the lives of the characters – I was no longer engaged emotionally. But I was curious to see how it would wind up.
It’s compelling to read and I’m on record as saying I enjoy this kind of book. In its favour, it has a lot to say about gender politics, the impact of popular culture on the way we think of ourselves and others, the roles we play and how we seek to manage others’ perceptions of us. But its self-conscious irony is wearing: like the characters, Flynn appears to enjoy being self-consciously derivative. Derivative of derivative of derivative which is so post- postmodern. Or passe?
Mostly, it’s not an honest book. It reminds me more of playing a game than reading. Fun in a “can’t take my eyes off the accident as we pass” kind of way. It doesn’t make me want to rush out and read more of Flynn’s work, but when I’m in the mood for another suspense or thriller I just may.