It’s a very Greek idea, and a very profound one. Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it. And what could be more terrifying and beautiful, to souls like the Greeks or our own, than to lose control completely? To throw off the chains of being for an instant, to shatter the accident of our mortal selves?
“The first plan is too stylized. Design is inherent in it through and through.”
“But design is preferable to chance.”
Henry smoothed the crumpled map against the table with the flat of his palm. “There, you’re wrong,” he said. “If we attempt to order events too meticulously, to arrive at point X via a logical trail, it follows that the logical trail can be picked up at point X and followed back to us. Reason is always apparent to a discerning eye. But luck? It’s invisible, erratic, angelic. What could possibly be better, from our point of view, than allowing Bunny to choose the circumstances of his own death?”
All of Donna Tartt’s characters are irreparably broken, and it shows so much about real life. Richard Papen is eternally scarred by his poverty, and his experience with the murder squad at Hampton. Henry Winter is filled with apathy for life and the only way he escapes it is by a bacchanal, which is the height of his life. Charles Macaulay is an alcoholic who is in denial of his bisexuality and has an abusive, incestuous relationship with his sister. Camilla Macaulay is in love with a dead man and is forsaken by her brother and the world to forever take care of the mess that is left. Francis Abernathy is pushed into a marriage he doesn’t want in order to keep his inheritance, and the only man he’s loved is a alcoholic and an abuser. Bunny Corcoran is brought up in a family that teaches him to be greedy but never to work for it, and he is murdered by those who he thought to be his friends. Theo Decker is broken apart by the museum accident, the painting he picks up ultimately rules his life. Boris Pavlikovsky seems to be happy and spontaneous throughout the whole book, but in the undertones, he has an abusive father and he’s an alcoholic and a drug addict who doesn’t really have much in the first place. Kitsey Barbour is unable to talk about things that disturb her being, and the death of Andy and her father drives her into the arms of someone she doesn’t love. Pippa Blackwell is carted off to a school for the mentally unstable and is forsaken from being the successful musician she aspired to be. All of these characters are completely enchanting and cracked and empty, each one a masterpiece of pain and ruin.
favourite literature: the secret history by donna tartt
“It’s a very Greek idea, and a very profound one. Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it. And what could be more terrifying and beautiful, to souls like the Greeks or our own, than to lose control completely? To throw off the chains of being for an instant, to shatter the accident of our mortal selves?”
a playlist for all those disenchanted scholars with blood on their hands and smoke on their lips
[Haunt- Bastille//Seven Devils- Florence and the Machine//Dionysus- Jocelyn Pook//How- The Neighbourhood//Arsonist’s Lullaby- Hozier//Gods And Monsters- Lana Del Ray//Everybody Wants To Rule The World- Lorde//Youth- Daughter//Heartlines- Florence and the Machine//Immortal- Marina and the Diamonds //Female Robbery- The Neighbourhood]