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The secret history

book by Donna Tartt

The Secret History is a novel written by Donna Tartt.


  • "Those first days before classes started I spent alone in my whitewashed room, in the bright meadows of Hampden. And I was happy in those first days as really I'd never been before, roaming like a sleepwalker, stunned and drunk with beauty."


  • "In this swarm of cigarettes and dark sophistication they appeared here and there like figures from an allegory; or long-dead celebrants from some forgotten garden party."


  • -Death is the mother of beauty, said Henry.
    -And what is beauty?
    -Terror.
    [...]
    -And if beauty is terror, said Julian, then what is desire? We think we have many desires, but in fact we have only one. What is it?
    -To live, said Camilla.
    -To live forever, said Bunny.


  • "Even after all that had happened, the bitterness and disappointment in his voice cut me to the heart.

'Henry', I said. I wanted to say something profound, that Julian was only human, that he was old, that flesh and blood was frail and weak and that there comes a time when we have to transcend our teachers. But I found myself unable to say anything at all.
He turned his blind, unseeing eyes upon me.
'I loved him more than my own father', he said. 'I loved him more than anyone in the world.'"


  • Someone who didn't know there was such a thing in the world as Death; who couln't believe it even when he saw it; had never dreamed it would come to him.


  • Flapping crows. Shiny beetles crawling in the undergrowth. A patch of sky, frozen in a cloudy retina, reflected in a puddle on the ground. Yoo-hoo. Being and nothingness.


  • Horrific as it was. the present dark, I was afraid to leave it for the other, permanent dark — jelly and bloat, the muddy pit.


  • -Don't say 'fuck' anymore, said Henry, in a quiet, but ominous voice.
    -'Fuck' ? What's the matter, Henry? You never heard that word before? Isn't that what you do to my sister every night?


  • "She was really older, not the glancing-eyed girl I had fallen in love with, but no less beautiful for that; beautiful now in a way that less excited my senses that tore at my very heart."

Richard