432 pages, 9.41 × 6.5 × 1.43 in
June 5, 2012
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 030758836X
ISBN - 13: 9780307588364
About the Book
Flynn's toxic mix of sharp-edged wit with deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds readers at every turn. When his wife disappears on their anniversary, Nick starts having cringe-worthy daydreams and becomes oddly evasive, eschewing his golden boy past.
Read from the Book
Chapter OneNick Dunnethe day of When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape ofit, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of thehead 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 theVictorians would call finely shaped head. You could imagine theskull quite easily. I’d know her head anywhere. And what’s inside it. I think of that too: her mind. Her brain, allthose coils, and her thoughts shuttling through those coils like fast,frantic centipedes. Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspoolingher brain and sifting through it, trying to catch and pin downher thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy? The question I’ve askedmost often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the personwho could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over everymarriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who areyou? What have we done to each other? What will we do? My eyes flipped open at exactly six a.m. This was no avian flutteringof the lashes, no gentle blink toward consciousness. The awakeningwas mechanical. A spooky ventriloquist- dummy click of the lids:The world is black and then, showtime! 6- 0- 0 the clock said— in myface, first thing I saw. 6- 0- 0. It felt different. I rarely woke at such arounded time. I was a man of jagged risings: 8:43, 11:51, 9:26. Mylife was alarmless. At that exact moment, 6- 0- 0, the sun climbed over the skyline o
From the Publisher
Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn. On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
About the Author
GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the runaway hit Gone Girl, an international sensation that has spent more than ninety-five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her work has been published in forty languages. Gone Girl is soon to be a major motion picture from Twentieth Century Fox. Flynn’s previous novels, Dark Places and Dagger Award winner Sharp Objects, were also New York Times bestsellers. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, she lives in Chicago with her husband and children.
“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 ingenious and viperish thriller… It’s going to make Gillian Flynn a star… The first half of Gone Girl is a nimble, caustic riff on our Nancy Grace culture and the way in which ''The butler did it'' has morphed into ''The husband did it.'' The second half is the real stunner, though. Now I really am going to shut up before I spoil what instantly shifts into a great, breathless read. Even as Gone Girl grows truly twisted and wild, it says smart things about how tenuous power relations are between men and women, and how often couples are at the mercy of forces beyond their control. As if that weren’t enough, Flynn has created a genuinely creepy villain you don't see coming. People love to talk about the banality of evil. You’re about to meet a maniac you could fall in love with.” —Jeff Giles, Entertainment Weekly“An irresistible summer thriller with a twisting plot worthy of Alfred Hitchcock. Burrowing deep into the murkiest cor
A Reader’s Guide for Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
For additional features, visit www.gillian-flynn.com.
In order to provide reading groups with the most informed and thought-provoking questions possible, it is necessary to reveal important aspects of the plot of this novel. If you have not finished reading Gone Girl, we respectfully suggest that you wait before reviewing this guide.
Deceit, infidelity, suspicion . . . and that’s only the beginning.
When Nick and Amy fall in love, they are the confident, handsome man and the beautiful, privileged young woman embracing in front of their Brooklyn Heights brownstone and sharing a laugh at the expense of less blissful couples. Eventually, their picture-perfect union falters: Amy grows weary of the “cool girl” image she’s portrayed; Nick gives rein to old impulses and easy lies. As with many marriages, friction works its way into everyday exchanges, and the glow of the honeymoon fades. But with Amy and Nick, that fracture takes a much darker turn.
In a story full of surprising twists, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl tracks the course of a marriage gone spectacularly wrong. For the protagonists, it’s a psychological battle with everything at stake; for the reader, an excavation of human failings and incredible depths of betrayal . . . and a mystery whose resolution is every bit as troubling as its beginning.
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. Do you like Nick or Amy? Did you find yourself picking a side? Do you think the author intends for us to like them? Why or why not?
2. Does the author intend for us to think of Nick or Amy as the stronger writer? Do you perceive one or the other as a stronger writer, based on their narration/journal entries? Why?
3. Do you think Amy and Nick both believe in their marriage at the outset?
4. Nick, ever conscious of the way he is being perceived, reflects on the images that people choose to portray in the world—constructed, sometimes plagiarized roles that we present as our personalities. Discuss the ways in which the characters—and their opinions of each other—are influenced by our culture’s avid consumption of TV shows, movies, and websites, and our need to fit each other into these roles.
5. Discuss Amy’s false diary, both as a narrative strategy by the author and as a device used by the character. How does the author use it to best effect? How does Amy use it?
6. What do you make of Nick’s seeming paranoia on the day of his fifth anniversary, when he wakes with a start and reports feeling, You have been seen?
7. As experienced consumers of true crime and tragedy, modern “audiences” tend to expect each crime to fit a specific mold: a story, a villain, a heroine. How does this phenomenon influence the way we judge news stories? Does it have an impact on the criminal justice system? Consider the example of the North Carthage police, and also Tanner Bolt’s ongoing advice to Nick.
8. What is Go’s role in the book? Why do you think the author wrote her as Nick’s twin? Is she a likable character?
9. Discuss Amy’s description of the enduring myth of the “cool girl”—and her conviction that a male counterpart (seemingly flawless to women) does not exist. Do you agree? Why does she assume the role if she seems to despise it? What benefit do you think she derives from the act?
10. Is there some truth to Amy’s description of the “dancing monkeys”—her friends’ hapless partners who are forced to make sacrifices and perform “sweet” gestures to prove their love? How is this a counterpoint to the “cool girl”?
11. What do you think of Marybeth and Rand Elliott? Is the image they present sincere? What do you think they believe about Amy?
12. How does the book deal with the divide between perception and reality, or between public image and private lives? Which characters are most skillful at navigating this divide, and how?
13. How does the book capture the feel of the recession—the ending of jobs and contraction of whole industries; economic and geographical shifts; real estate losses and abandoned communities. Are some of Nick and Amy’s struggles emblematic of the time period? Are there any parts of the story that feel unique to this time period?
14. While in hiding, Amy begins to explore what the “real” Amy likes and dislikes. Do you think this is a true exploration of her feelings, or is she acting out yet another role? In these passages, what does she mean when she refers to herself as “I” in quotes?
15. What do you think of Amy’s quizzes—and “correct” answers—that appear throughout the book? As a consistent thread between her Amazing Amy childhood and her adult career, what does her quiz-writing style reveal about Amy’s true personality and her understanding of the world?
16. Do Nick and Amy have friends? Consider Nick’s assurance that Noelle was deluded in her claims of friendship with Amy, and also the friends described in Amy’s journal. How “real” are these friendships? What do you think friendship means to each of them?
17. What was the relationship between Amy and Nick’s father? Do you think the reader is meant to imagine conversations between the two of them? Why does Nick’s father come to Nick and Amy’s home?
18. Amy publicly denounces the local police and criticizes their investigation. Do you think they did a good job of investigating her disappearance? Were there real missteps, or was their failing due to Amy’s machinations?
19. Do you believe Amy truly would have committed suicide? Why does she return?
20. Were you satisfied with the book’s ending? What do you think the future holds for Nick, Amy, and their baby boy?