Book Review: The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

THE Little Friend draws inevitable comparisons with the likes of Harper Lee and William Faulkner. Set in America’s South the main character is Harriet Cleve, the neglected child of impoverished Southern gentility.

THE Little Friend draws inevitable comparisons with the likes of Harper Lee and William Faulkner. Set in America’s South the main character is Harriet Cleve, the neglected child of impoverished Southern gentility. Miss Tartt has recreated a small Mississippi town in the 1970’s down to the tiniest detail and the heat and atmosphere really lift off the page. .

The story begins with the death of Harriet’s older brother Robin. He is found dead when Harriet is a baby, his killer is never found and Harriet’s mother and her marriage never really recover. In the summer of her thirteenth year Harriet, with the help of her best friend Hely, decide to find out who murdered Robin.

There are a wonderful collection of characters from Harriet’s many Aunties to the ‘Ratcliff’s’ living in their drug induced paranoia. Each of them are well rounded and as events build we as a reader end up rooting for both sides as their worlds collide in such confusion. With such skilful writing any likeness to the great American authors can only bring about favourable comparisons.


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