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The Little Friend [Audio]
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Audio release on CD to tie in with hardback publication of THE LITTLE FRIEND which will undoubtedly be the biggest book of this year - the hugely anticipated new novel from the author of THE SECRET HISTORY.Abridged and read by Donna Tartt. (Running time: Approx 6 hours, abridged, 5 disks).Massive marketing and publicity campaign.

About the Author

Donna Tartt's debut novel THE SECRET HISTORY was an international best-seller, translated into 23 languages and one of the most astonishing debuts in recent times. THE LITTLE FRIEND is her second novel. Donna Tartt lives in America.

Reviews

In her hometown of Alexandria, MS, Harriet has always felt as if she were living in the shadow of her dead brother, Robin, who was found hanging from a tupelo tree in the front yard when Harriet was just a baby. This unsolved crime destroyed her family, driving her mother to keep to her bed most days and her father to take a job (and a mistress) in another state. Harriet and her sister, Allison, essentially abandoned by their parents, were raised collectively by their black maid, their domineering grandmother, and three great aunts. The precocious Harriet is often in trouble with her relatives-her intelligence and obstinacy making her a worthy match for her formidable grandmother. However, when Harriet sets her sights on finding Robin's killer, she may be in over her 12-year-old head. This lengthy, beautifully written novel is an absorbing look at the interplay of social class, family, and race in a small Southern town. Chock-full of magnificent characters, all affectionately portrayed by narrator Karen White, this is recommended for all fiction collections.-Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Widely anticipated over the decade since her debut in The Secret History, Tartt's second novel confirms her talent as a superb storyteller, sophisticated observer of human nature and keen appraiser of ethics and morality. If the theme of The Secret History was intellectual arrogance, here it is dangerous innocence. The death of nine-year-old Robin Cleve Dufresnes, found hanging from a tree in his own backyard in Alexandria, Miss., has never been solved. The crime destroyed his family: it turned his mother into a lethargic recluse; his father left town; and the surviving siblings, Allison and Harriet, are now, 12 years later-it is the early '70s-largely being raised by their black maid and a matriarchy of female relatives headed by their domineering grandmother and her three sisters. Although every character is sharply etched, 12-year-old Harriet-smart, stubborn, willful-is as vivid as a torchlight. Like many preadolescents, she's fascinated by secrets. She vows to solve the mystery of her brother's death and unmask the killer, whom she decides, without a shred of evidence, is Danny Ratliff, a member of a degenerate, redneck family of hardened criminals. (The Ratliff brothers are good to their grandmother, however; their solicitude at times lends the novel the antic atmosphere of a Booth cartoon.) Harriet's pursuit of Danny, at first comic, gathers fateful impetus as she and her best friend, Hely, stalk the Ratliffs, and eventually, as the plot attains the suspense level of a thriller, leads her into mortal danger. Harriet learns about betrayal, guilt and loss, and crosses the threshold into an irrevocable knowledge of true evil. If Tartt wandered into melodrama in The Secret History, this time she's achieved perfect control over her material, melding suspense, character study and social background. Her knowledge of Southern ethos-the importance of family, of heritage, of race and class-is central to the plot, as is her take on Southerners' ability to construct a repertoire, veering toward mythology, of tales of the past. The double standard of justice in a racially segregated community is subtly reinforced, and while Tartt's portrait of the maid, Ida Rhew, evokes a stereotype, Tartt adds the dimension of bitter pride to Ida's character. In her first novel, Tartt unveiled a formidable intelligence. The Little Friend flowers with emotional insight, a gift for comedy and a sure sense of pacing. Wisely, this novel eschews a feel-good resolution. What it does provide is an immensely satisfying reading experience. (Nov. 1) Forecast: Bestsellerdom is writ large for this novel, sure to be greeted with rave reviews. The softspoken, diminutive Tartt, who looks more like a Southern belle than a writer with a dark imagination, should be an asset on talk shows. For more on Tartt, see Book News in today's issue. 300,000 first printing. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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