” He promised to take care of me, and yet I feel afraid. I feel like something is going wrong, very wrong, and that it will get even worse, I don’t feel like Nick’s wife. I don’t feel like a person at all; I am something to be loaded and unloaded, like a sofa or a cuckoo clock . . . I don’t feel real anymore. I feel like I could disappear. ” (139)
On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne’s wife, Amy, has disappeared. Despite a knotty marriage, with occasional argument over money and child-bearing, their relationship has been stable. The crime scene looks staged: the door wide open, carpet glinted with shards of glass, coffee table shattered, books slid across the floor, and the heavy antique ottoman belly-up. Is Amy gone or kidnapped-gone?
The unfolding of Gone Girl is two-pronged: Amey’s arcane diary entries and Nick’s narrative following Amy’s disappearance alternate to give a picture of their marriage. Both writers living in New York, they were smitten after meeting at a party. Pride-wounded from a layoff, and short of money, Nick moves back to his hometown in Missouri, where competition doesn’t interest the contented also-rans, the worst possible transition for the competitive Amy who thrives to impress.
I’m rising to my wife’s level of madness. Because I can feel her changing me again: I was a callow boy, and then a man, good and bad. Now at least I’m the hero, I am the one to root for in the never-ending war story of our marriage. It’s a story I can live with. Hell, at this point. I can’t imagine my story without Amy. She is my forever antagonist. (553)
As the evidence slowly mounts, and the police investigation deepens, the case is not going in Nick’s favor. His motive for homicide is a textbook case: an unemployed man in his lam; he bought a bar with his wife’s money; he bumps up the life insurance on her and, most of all, he does not appear to be upset and grived about Amy’s disappearance. He swears he didn’t murder his beautiful Manhattanite wife whose charmed, privileged life was forcefully detoured. But he also lies, holding out on the cops a shameful secret that would ruin him. He is weak and miserable, almost cowardly, to broach about their disintegrating marriage. That said, Flynn doesn’t leave a solid impression that Nick is evil.
I feel like Amy wanted people to believe she really was perfect. And as we got to be friends, I got to know her. And she wasn’t perfect. You know? She was brilliant and charming and all that, but she was also controlling and OCD and a drama queen and a bit of a liar. (390)
To speak more about the twists that come at every turn of the investigation will ruin your reading pleasure. The mystery of Amy Elliot Dunne’s disappearance only gets more tangled as secrets cobwebby lies and spiteful schemes unfurl from their troubled marriage. Flynn’s ingenious plot ropes readers in and give them creep until the end, as it will be clear that the outcome is far more disturbing and menacing than death.
555 pp. Crown. Mass paperback. [Read/
Skim/ Toss] [Buy/ Borrow]