Gone Girl

May 19, 2014 - Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn). In her third novel, the author takes her signature style of shifting viewpoints to a new level as she spins the tale of a couple whose marriage goes horribly awry.

The story is told in alternating entries from Amy, the wife, and Nick, the husband. The first entry is from Nick and takes place on their fifth wedding anniversary, which also happens to be the day that Amy disappears. Subsequent entries from Nick move forward in time as investigators come to believe that Amy is dead and that Nick killed her.

Amy's entries start several years earlier, when she and Nick first meet in New York City. They skip ahead in chunks of time, providing an alternate view of Nick's recollection of events. Those significant events include Nick losing his job as a magazine writer in New York City, Amy losing her job as a magazine quiz writer in New York City, and the couple eventually moving back to Nick's hometown in Missouri. He uses the last of Amy's savings to buy the local bar.

Eventually, the two narratives meet on roughly the same timeline, providing more insight into two families, a marriage, and a mind that's as twisted as any you’re ever likely to encounter.

To say much more about the plot would involve spoilers. In case there's anyone who hasn't read the book or read other reviews that DO contain spoilers, I'll refrain. Gone Girl is typical Flynn in terms of the economically depressed Midwest landscape that also surfaced in her previous books, Sharp Objects and Dark Places. Where this book departs from her previous efforts is in its structure. In my opinion, Flynn takes a big risk with the way she handles a major character. But, if Flynn doesn't do what she does with this character at the outset, then the jarring shift in viewpoint that happens about halfway through the book would lose its element of shock and surprise.