Sharp ObjectsThis is the story of Camille Preaker from the little town of Wind Gap Missouri, where her family is very wealthy because they own the primary business in the area… a slaughterhouse.

When I hear the name Camille, I’m reminded of the classic film where the beautiful and desirable Greta Garbo falls slowly into a truly romanticized death. That’s a large part of what is going on in this book: sickness and dying as a beautiful, romantic, fulfilling, though eventually tragic experience. But that’s not the whole story.

In contrast to the romantic deaths and near deaths in the leading family of the town, there is after all the stark, cruel, hideously noisy mass slaughter that comprises Wind Gap’s primary business. It may be the source of the town’s livelihood, but it’s a soul-destroying, dehumanizing activity that turns the men of the place into desensitized automatons. It also turns many of the young women into unhappy, shallow, narcissistic objects, though they are sharp, many of them… mentally and interpersonally, sharp as in attractive, bright and intelligent and sharp as in cutting and cruel.

Camille’s a victim of the forces at work in the town. She’s managed to escape to the big city (not unscarred, of course) but still, she’s gotten away with her life and some vital percentage of her sanity. Then a little girl is murdered in Wind Gate, and all of the girl’s teeth are pulled out. She has not been sexually molested, and all in all, it’s a somewhat unusual murder and not the typical work of a serial killer. A year later another little girl disappears. Camille is working as a reporter in a third-rate newspaper in Chicago, and her boss decides to send her back to her hometown to cover the story, thinking that it might help the paper’s failing circulation and perhaps even Camille’s rather fragile mental health.

That Camille is stronger than anyone expects in very many ways gives her a substantial opportunity to get to the bottom of the murders and shed light on some of the other tragic goings-on in Wind Gate. Whether or not she is strong enough to survive all the sharp objects she encounters in the process is another story.

Gillian Flynn is an amazing writer with excellent powers of description and great insight into the minds and capabilities of her characters. She infuses the places she takes us to with dark and ominous personalities and directives of their own. This is a wonderfully creative but extremely dark and troubling read.

Flynn gives new meaning to the term “dysfunctional family” in her chilling debut thriller. Camille Preaker, once institutionalized for youthful self-mutilation, now works for a third-rung Chicago newspaper. When a young girl is murdered and mutilated and another disappears in Camille’s hometown of Wind Gap, Mo., her editor, eager for a scoop, sends her there for a human-interest story. Though the police, including Richard Willis, a profiler from Kansas City, Mo., say they suspect a transient, Camille thinks the killer is local. Interviewing old acquaintances and newcomers, she relives her disturbed childhood, gradually uncovering family secrets as gruesome as the scars beneath her clothing. The horror creeps up slowly, with Flynn misdirecting the reader until the shocking, dreadful and memorable double ending. She writes fluidly of smalltown America, though many characters are clichés hiding secrets. Flynn, the lead TV critic for Entertainment Weekly, has already garnered blurbs from Stephen King and Harlan Coben. 5-city author tour; foreign rights sold in 10 countries. (Oct.)
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Sharp Objects

When I hear the name Camille, I’m reminded of the classic film where the beautiful and desirable Greta Garbo dies slowly and beautifully, in a truly romanticized death. That’s a large part of what is going on in the book Sharp Objects: sickness and dying as a beautiful, desirable, romantic, fulfilling, though eventually tragic experience. But that’s not the whole story.

In contrast to the romantic deaths and near deaths in the leading family of the town, there is Hog Butchering, the stark cruel mass slaughter that comprises the main business, and the source of the riches of the Preaker family. It may be the source of the town’s livelihood, but it’s a soul destroying, dehumanizing activity that turns the men of the town into poor, bitter, hard drinkers and many of the young women into unhappy, shallow, narcissistic objects, though they are sharp many of them… mentally and interpersonally, sharp as in bright and intelligent and sharp as in cutting and cruel.

Camille Preaker is a victim of the forces at work in the town of Wind Gap. She’s managed to escape (not unscarred, of course) but still she’s gotten away with her life and some important percentage of her sanity. Then a little girl is murdered in the town and all of the girl’s teeth are pulled out. She has not been sexually molested, all in all a rather unusual murder and not the typical work of a serial killer. A year later another little girl disappears. Camille is working as reporter in a big city and her boss decides to send her back to her Wind Gap to get a story that might help the paper’s failing circulation and perhaps even Camille’s rather fragile mental health. That Camille is stronger than anyone expects in very many ways gives her a solid opportunity to get to the bottom of the murders and shed light on the tragic goings on in Wind Gate. Whether or not she is strong enough to survive all the sharp objects she encounters in the process is another story. Gillian Flynn is an amazing writer with great insight into the minds and capabilities of her characters and the places she takes us to infusing them with personalities and directives of their own.