Join Gillian Flynn to discuss February's Book of the Month, Gone Girl, Tuesday 26 February, 9-10pm

(197 Posts)

What is your most memorable whoa-I-didn't-expect-that moment? The Sixth Sense or The Usual Suspects finale? That naked bit in The Crying Game? Or maybe the midway point in Sarah Waters' Fingersmith? Our February book of the month is about to take its place in the pantheon of all-time greatest plot twisters.

GONE GIRL is an intelligent, astute, darkly witty thriller about a marriage. About two people, Nick and Amy, who think they know each other. On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, with presents waiting and the annual treasure hunt ready to begin, Amy has disappeared. The police arrive, the media seizes hungrily on the story and Nick soon finds himself the main suspect.

A modern-day Patricia Highsmith, Gillian Flynn makes you squirm with horror yet keeps you riveted. As Kate Atkinson said: "I have no doubt that in a year's time I'm going to be saying that this is my favourite novel of 2012. Brilliant."

You can find more detail on our February book of the month page. Get your paperback or Kindle edition here.

And don't miss Gillian's sharply written website.

We are thrilled that Gillian will be joining us to discuss the book and answer any questions about GONE GIRL and her writing career on Tuesday 26 February, 9-10pm. Hope you can join us...

Clawdy Sun 27-Jan-13 15:14:43

Ooh,are there no free copies of this??

HanneHolm Sun 27-Jan-13 15:17:56

i am a bit surprised that this has only just become BoM - everyone I know read it last year....

Huffpot Sun 27-Jan-13 19:03:52

I was lucky enough to get a free copy and really enjoyed it but hated the ending sad

Clawdy Mon 28-Jan-13 16:29:15

I'm in the book club and saw nothing about free copies? did I miss some thing?

jennywren123 Mon 28-Jan-13 20:33:16

Yes, 50 free copies apply on 15 Jan at 10am (email on 14/1). I applied, but haven't received one yet (*hopeful).

Clawdy Mon 28-Jan-13 20:39:29

Didn't get that email sad

Hanneholm, we have to wait for the paperback to come out (this month), as most bookclubbers not so keen on buying HBs - but I'm hoping all those who have already read it are going to come and ask Gillian a question.

Just to confirm: the form to fill out for the free books is always on the book of the month page, and hopefully should always be flagged up on the newsletter. Apologies to anyone who missed out this time, hope you manage to get your hands on a copy.

Interested to see what everyone thinks about GONE GIRL - we hope to spice things up a little and mix different styles, and this one is certainly a strong contrast to January's HAROLD FRY (and also what we have in store for March....)

DuchessofMalfi Tue 29-Jan-13 17:44:37

Another one who read it last year grin. I loved it. Looking forward to the chat with Gillian Flynn.

CuriousMama Tue 29-Jan-13 19:55:04

Is it terribly sad? It's just I've cried so much at books lately. I'd love to read it though as long as I won't be in floods.

Janimoso Tue 29-Jan-13 22:37:23

I didn't get the email either :-( and didn't know to contact on 15th Jan :-\ anyway... I am luvin the book club and think its brilliant getting to hear everyone's thoughts and questions and them being answered by the author... Brilliant!!! What a great idea! In a world full of books, i never know which to pick up next but this club has given me a focus and a challenge and its all so worth while to then hear directly from the author too. Well done! And thanks! This book club offers more than your average book club and free copies too!? If only i could get in touch where and when i am supposed to!!! :-\

Clawdy Tue 29-Jan-13 22:47:57

Janimoso you click on the "Find out more" link at the top of this page,and it tells you what to do. Problem is,I subscribed ages ago but don't seem to get regular emails,and certainly didn't get the last one. Have just subscribed again.

DuchessofMalfi Wed 30-Jan-13 08:12:57

CuriousMama - I didn't find it sad at all. Give it a go smile. I didn't like or feel sympathy towards either of the main characters - they are both damaged people, hard to like. But that shouldn't put anyone off reading it - it is very very good.

CuriousMama Wed 30-Jan-13 08:51:25

Thanks DuchessofMalfi, I ordered it from the library it'll be here in a few days smile

Janimoso, very happy to hear you enjoy the bookclub, and I hope next time you get a free copy.

We're planning to launch a new reminder email for bookclub folk, the day before the giveaway starts, with a link to where you apply for the free book, so hopefully we'll be back on track for March's book.

CuriousMama, definitely not sad, not exactly what you'd term uplifting either! But certainly snappily written and page-turning and engrossing.

CuriousMama Wed 30-Jan-13 15:27:39

Thanks TBC looking forward to it.

Galaxymum Wed 30-Jan-13 16:58:24

Thanks very much for my free copy. I'm looking forward to taking part in the bookclub. Gone Girl has been highly recommended. Thanks.

gazzalw Thu 31-Jan-13 07:58:30

Have started.....such a difference even in the style of writing...and of course first person narratives always throw up issues of reliability in the storytelling...;-).

Overuse of the word 'ironic' though and I'm only about fifty pages in....

Janimoso, very happy to hear you enjoy the bookclub, and I hope next time you get a free copy.

We're planning to launch a new reminder email for bookclub folk, the day before the giveaway starts, with a link to where you apply for the free book, so hopefully we'll be back on track for March's book.

CuriousMama, definitely not sad, not exactly what you'd term uplifting either! But certainly snappily written and page-turning and engrossing.

Sorry about that, computer has gone strange on me and has the spinning wheel of doom - it keeps posting old messages.

HellesBelles396 Mon 04-Feb-13 15:44:51

an early question: is the book more about dysfunctional marriages or dysfunctional parenting?

jennywren123 Thu 07-Feb-13 08:19:43

Anyone finished yet? How is it? I wasn't lucky enough to get a free copy this time (sob, sob), and requested to borrow it from the library, but there are 21 people in front of me in the online queue (although for about 6 copies I think). Was trying to be a bit less frivolous with money this month so didn't want to buy it. Now thinking actually it's less than the price of a couple of coffees so I should get it. Now my problem is that even if I buy it now, will I finish it in time for the web chat? Decisions, decisions.

gazzalw Thu 07-Feb-13 09:37:59

I'm getting through it relatively quickly. It's quite easy to read as it's in short-chapters and is diary-like in its style. I can't say that I'm finding it a very enjoyable read. It really does pick apart the way a relationship can decline from 100% to 0% in a relatively short period (five years) of time...It's quite discomforting.

It has that Scott Trurow 'Presumed Innocent' style about it IMHO, but because I've read quite a lot of this type of thriller, I'm not sure I'm going to out-and-out surprised by anything that's yet to unravel.

jennywren123 Thu 07-Feb-13 20:20:20

Thanks gazza. I really think I might run out of time before the web chat, so think I'll skip this one and make more of an effort with the March one. At some point the library will email me to say that it's my turn to borrow it (probably be summer by then), so I'll read it then. I do like the sound of quite easy to read as it's in short-chapters and is diary-like in its style that would definitely suit me!

Patchouli Thu 07-Feb-13 22:07:38

Oh this is great.
I was just thinking 'should I read Gone Girl next?'
Now I will.

jennywren, sorry about the library wait, and that you didn't get a free copy this time - it'll be a shame not to have you. If you do find a cheap copy somewhere (I think WHSmith are selling it v cheap as its a Richard and Judy book too) then I just want to reassure you that you'd get through it v quickly, am certain you'd finish before the webchat on 26th. It is the kind of book you race through.

HellesBelles396, excellent question, I had exactly the same thought. Although I do feel sometimes, in a lot of fiction, the dysfunctional parenting is there to explain away the nastier character traits, rather than let a character be evil all by themselves, as it were. Would be interesting to create a person who didn't have any sort of childhood reason for being dysfunctional. Or maybe that's impossible?

jennywren123 Fri 08-Feb-13 13:55:11

Tilly, you are tempting me now. I'm near a WHSmith tomorrow, I'll see if they have it!!!

gazzalw Sat 09-Feb-13 10:15:55

Haven't finished it yet but what I am getting is that David Lynch feeling again....the glossy veneer of America with a very, very dark underbelly! Except it's all in one person!!!! I can definitely see this one as a film...

CuriousMama Sat 09-Feb-13 11:59:25

Picked up mine from the library today and will start it tomorrow smile

CuriousMama Sat 09-Feb-13 12:01:55

I meant tonight, why did I say tomorrow? confused

jennywren123 Sun 10-Feb-13 16:21:50

Got mine now. 16 days left to read it. Roast dinner to cook and then I'll start.

CuriousMama Sun 10-Feb-13 18:30:33

I read it last night, got it yesterday from the library. I stayed awake all night and have finished it now blush Great read, loved it.

jennywren123 Mon 11-Feb-13 15:48:51

Oh, my word! In one night! Couldn't start mine last night. Left my glasses in the car and it was too cold to go and get them by the time I realised . . . . .

gazzalw Tue 12-Feb-13 08:12:48

This is definitely a case of "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". I do love a thriller where all is not as it seems and just love the very stark contrast twixt the perfect fairy tale Amy and the darker and more complex reality which is hidden beneath her All-American apple-pie image and beauty.

My question, Gillian is this: you have painted the starkest picture of the disintegration of a love-affair from heady perfect romance, to simmering tensions, to the pure hatred and rage which culminates in such a twisted form of vengeance. I definitely thought that of David Lynch as I read your novel - this idea of things not being at all as they seem on the perfect surface. Are you personally that cynical about love and relationships?

Lumley36 Tue 12-Feb-13 15:22:21

Am a third of the way through and it's very put down able , I don't think about it between reads, is there a point where I won't be able to put it down?? Hope so, got a couple of child free reading one pLanned on thurs...hope I'm not disappointed......

gazzalw Tue 12-Feb-13 16:02:53

Lumley36 I personally think that if you are of a certain age and have read thrillers like "Presumed Innocent" you are not going to be overwhelmed by the 'twist'

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Feb-13 00:41:42

Would love to join this one, but I can't get the book out of the library until March :-( There must be a lot of MN book club members near me!

jennywren123 Wed 13-Feb-13 03:01:15

Same here gaelic. Picked mine up from Tesco though for £3.85.

gaelicsheep Thu 14-Feb-13 20:44:59

Thanks very much to a kind Mumsnetter I now have a copy of this book. There's quite a lot of book to get through by the 26th, but I'll give it a go!

Lumley36 Sat 16-Feb-13 20:59:33

Wel I've just finished it, finally became unputdownable. Good book and was raving about it...then came the disappointing ending, boooo!

difficultpickle Sun 17-Feb-13 18:54:45

Just finished it and really thought it was poorly written and incredibly contrived. It reminded me of a very poor John Grisham novel (and I don't rate JG).

Made me realise just how amazing was the book I read before this one - The Snow Child - a story that will stay with me forever, unlike this one. At least Gone Girl is a quick, easy read.

gazzalw Mon 18-Feb-13 10:07:16

I see where you are coming from, Bisjo...I kept thinking 'Presumed Innocent' as I read it. I just knew that I was not going to be 'stung' by the twist as I was with Scott Trurow's novel - but then I was considerably younger back then and new to this type of thriller genre. I can't help but think that when you've been a fully fledged adult for a good few decades, it does really take something a bit special to surprise and delight and knock the jaded/been-there-done-that spots off.

Lumley36 Mon 18-Feb-13 15:03:05

Haven't read presumed innocent, was it made IMO a film? Have an image of Harrison Ford clinging on the edge of a cliff, am I getting muddled? Any way....

gazzalw Mon 18-Feb-13 15:06:51

Harrison Ford was in it (he was the lawyer who was accused of murdering his mistress) - not sure about the hanging off the edge of a cliff bit though! Think Greta Scacchi (not sure about that spelling?) played the mistress? Ring any bells...It might be that you were too young to have seen it when it came out (very late 80s or very, very early 90s?)

I'm reading this at the moment, will try to get it done by tomorrow

Oh a weeek tomorrow

I'm about halfway (just past the turning point iyswim?) And enjoying it so far. There are other similar books out there but I'd argue this is one of the better,so far.

jennywren123 Mon 18-Feb-13 15:16:49

Not just me who was hurrying to finish it for tomorrow then? Was pleased with myself for finishing it in time, then realised I've got another week before the web chat!

gazzalw Mon 18-Feb-13 15:27:36

At least it's read though, Jennywren123!

katb1973 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:33:19

I finished this quite quickly and found it very readable though at times a bit contrived. I also found the ending a bit of a let down, too simple after all the twists and turns. An interesting, readable book....enjoyable but no literary giant.

littlewifey Mon 18-Feb-13 21:35:04

Just finished. Enjoyed the twist about the diary but was disappointed by the ending and left feeling very frustrated about the main characters! My question for the author is: Would you consider/ have any plans already for writing a sequel to Gone Girl?

A quick note to say: do start putting your questions up here for Gillian, I'll send them on to her at the end of the week, and she'll kick off with those at the beginning of the chat.

(And also to say: Greta Scacchi! Where is she now? She might be rather a good choice to play Desi's mum. I think Reese Witherspoon already signed up to play Amy, which I'm not entirely sure about as I can only see her as June Carter Cash)

difficultpickle Mon 18-Feb-13 22:15:09

I thought Reese Witherspoon was only producing?

My question to Gillian - did it worry you that in creating Nick and Amy you made two lead characters that were so deeply unlikeable that there was a risk of completely alienating the reader? I read the book and really couldn't have cared less what happened or didn't happen to Nick and Amy or any of the other minor characters. There was no one in the book that had any redeeming features at all.

gazzalw Tue 19-Feb-13 08:06:05

No, no Reese Witherspoon is not right for Amy at all! But having said that I am struggling to think who would be right! Dakota Fanning (possibly too young), Amanda Seyfried, Alice Eve or even Sheridan Smith???

I actually didn't mind at all that I didn't warm or relate to any of the characters - it meant I could read it without being drawn into the subterfuge!

lilibet Tue 19-Feb-13 11:45:04

I have a question but it has a spoiler in it.

Tilly when are you declaring that we can post spoilers?

Janimoso Wed 20-Feb-13 11:22:35

Well, i was at toddler group at 10am. My connection was sooo slow, and then it was snack time, so i missed out again!!!! :-\ anyway i am half way through gone girl and i have got march's book from library, so i will muckle along and try again next time :-)

Finished! and I hae a couple of spoiler-y questions.
Althought one is that the back of the book mentions "persistent phone calls on his mobile phone" - did I miss something? Who were they from?

Jan it's next Tuesday, you've not missed it

difficultpickle Wed 20-Feb-13 22:37:42

Calls were from Andie. The more I think about this book the more I really disliked it and found some of the plot contrivances and glaring errors really irritating. Bit irrational really as it is only a book, albeit overhyped and poorly written (stories had gaps or errors that seemed prety basic) imvho.

Ah yes. I thought that was part of the larger plot iyswim

ummlilia Thu 21-Feb-13 12:04:36

I disliked it too, guessed the twist before we got there and as for the ending..guess I'm old and jaded ! Perhaps my expectations had been too hyped up;it has been around on so many book review sites and blogs for a while now..sad

Sorry people keep talking about "the twist" there were a few twists and turns, would someone pm me?

gazzalw Thu 21-Feb-13 13:00:30

I'm with you on the 'old and jaded' Ummlilia - as I said previously, it felt as if I'd read much better a long, long, time ago.... I think that there are only so many twists in such thrillers and then one becomes so experienced in the genre that one see the 'surprise' coming a mile-off....

I don't think that I ever actually believed Amy was dead even at the beginning....

gaelicsheep Fri 22-Feb-13 00:47:23

Well I've finished it. I enjoyed the first three quarters and then it lost its way quite badly and fizzled out.
Two things really annoyed me. The whole "Amazing Amy" thing and those blooming multiple choice questions.
I will be back with a question for Gillian when I've reflected on it a bit more.

I'll say that all questions can now be posted (whether they contain spoilers or not) as we'll need to get them to Gillian asap.

So please go ahead and put your advance q's up here, and those will be the first to be answered on Tuesday eve...

Looking forward to it.

gazzalw Fri 22-Feb-13 08:48:28

Wow Gaelicsheep you read that quickly.....

Was not the point of the multiple choice questions that she was a personality test design psychologist and it's as if she lived her life at one remove and almost treated herself as a scientific study of another (which kind of fits in with 'Amazing Amy' being a fictional psychological construct?).

OK, my first thought was what would Amy have done if Desi had had an alibi for the time he 'snatched' her from her home? He may well have done, and she didn't seem to worry about that. She may have just chosen to take the risk (as he seemed to be much of a loner, no job etc) but it was a big risk to take

One thing I did really like was that sympathies changed throughout the book, which is unusual. I started off liking both A&N, then feeling sorry for A, then N, then...neither of them really, but still hoping they'd get back together! And Desi - I know we were meant to feel sorry for him but he was just a big stalky controlling creep really.

difficultpickle Fri 22-Feb-13 19:44:13

We only have Amy who said that Desi kept her prisoner. I don't think he did but frankly by the end of the book I thought that Nick and Amy deserved each other and I didn't care what happened to them. If there was a sequel I wouldn't bother reading it. I'm really surprised at how popular it is.

gaelicsheep Fri 22-Feb-13 21:00:15

gazzalw - I'm sure that probably was the point, but for me it didn't work. As a device it was just far too crude.

The diary twist was interesting, but by the end I too really didn't care what happened to either of them.

Far more interesting would have been if Desi had kept Amy prisoner long term, and a proper exploration of that - Amy really getting her comeuppance, more than she bargained for, etc. Not escaping and this bizarre situation of her husband taking her back. And as for the ending - no no no!

Gargamella Fri 22-Feb-13 21:35:43

First off, wanted to say I enjoyed this. It romped along and the short snappy style made it easy to catch installments throughout the day.

I found the whole 'Cool Girl' thing quite interesting. I wondered if Gillian was suggesting the Cool Girl persona might have began as something authentic but proved unsustainable, or was it always a front in this case?

Yes but he was definitely stalkery - the tulips? Or are you suggesting her whole account might be fiction?
Did anyone else think as I did about the alibi?

gaelicsheep Fri 22-Feb-13 21:49:10

Thanks again for sending the book btw gazzalw. I did enjoy the vast majority of it. smile It's great having a target - makes me stick with a book instead of getting distracted onto other things.

gazzalw Fri 22-Feb-13 21:59:19

De nada, Gaelicsheep...and sorry I was a bit obtuse about the dates....I seemed to be running a week ahead of myself so thought the web-chat was the Tuesday just gone rather than the coming one....wishing my life away.....

jennywren123 Fri 22-Feb-13 22:01:57

There's something about this web chat. That's three of us that thought it was last Tuesday instead of next . . . . .

lilibet Fri 22-Feb-13 22:08:25

Hi Gillian, thanks for coming onto mumsnet.

I think that both Amy and Nick were both thoroughly unlikeable as they were products of bad parenting, albeit in very different ways. Do you agree with this? And as a connected follow up, Could you envisage what sort of messed up child that liason would produce? I'm sure he would merit a novel of his own!!

difficultpickle Fri 22-Feb-13 22:21:37

SPB I think she made the tulips up as it fitted her story better to have Desi viewed as a stalker. Same as the 10 foot fence, no keys to get out etc.

lilibet Fri 22-Feb-13 22:46:57

Oh now you're messing with my mind, it never occurred to me that the second part was an unreliable narrative from her!

gaelicsheep Sat 23-Feb-13 01:38:32

Oh ditto, that didn't occur to me either!

Yes, me too, that wasn't diary style it was actual story style

difficultpickle Sat 23-Feb-13 10:30:15

But it is Amy telling the story so it is her reflection of her 'truth'. It has been a long time since a novel annoyed me so much. The previous one I hated was the Time Traveller's Wife but that was more to do with style. The substance of Gone Girl annoys me as the plot is so full of holes.

gazzalw Sat 23-Feb-13 12:13:21

Given her parents' exploitation of Amy in their 'Amazing Amy' enterprise, I would have expected to feel a certain amount of sympathy for her, flawed as she is as an adult, but I just couldn't and didn't...

But it did seem like a novel that reverted to type, as is so often the case with this type of thriller, with a cunning, manipulative woman and a rather dense, motivated-by-sex, man....

cm22v077 Sat 23-Feb-13 15:38:31

I just finished reading this, it felt very strange reading it a the same time as the Oscar Pistorius case was unfolding, anyone else? I'm paranoid that I'll be talking to someone about the case and get it confused with the book!!
I enjoyed the twists but like others have said bit disappointed with the ending.
My question for Gillian is, I read you grew up in Kansas City, do you think that your chosen genre is linked to novels like 'In Cold Blood' which was famously set in the same region?
Thanks for coming onto Mumsnet!

Gargamella Sat 23-Feb-13 15:42:03

Question about technique, I guess. Gillian - did you create other parts of the plot or character development that you then didn't show? I'm thinking of maybe how the characters Amy manipulated early on got over that and what they thought about her in the intervening years before she was back in the spotlight.

releasethehounds Sun 24-Feb-13 16:54:55

Really enjoyed the book - it kept me wanting more, however, like many others have said I was disappointed with the ending. I felt much more sympathy for Nick than Amy, as he was trying to be a better man despite his flaws whereas Amy came over as progressively more evil as the story developed! I figured the main twist out early on, but it was still a good read. Some may say Nick deserved to be stuck with Amy at the end but he was trying to do the right thing by protecting his child-to-be, and I felt quite sorry for him. It left me feeling "I hope the child will be happy despite it's twisted mother".

curlyLJ Sun 24-Feb-13 18:26:48

I really enjoyed the book too, but as others have said, I was really disappointed with the ending. I was willing Amy to get her comeuppance!! All in all I enjoyed the twists and turns and am looking forward to the webchat to see what Gillian thinks of the comments re the ending...

mollyblack57 Sun 24-Feb-13 21:54:53

Just briliant! I loved the ending!

Janimoso Mon 25-Feb-13 09:09:33

Just finished Gone Girl last night. Now I have to say that I don't have a wealth of murder who-done-it's to draw upon.

I really liked the way the present time was mixed with Amy's diary to make it to the present collectively. Yeah, that was clever! Kept you hanging on.

I didn't like what I thought was in places, unnecessary crudity and bad language. Now I do take into account that if you have unsavoury characters you may get a bit of unsavoury language. I also understand that this issue is subjective, what I find nasty someone else might not, but as I say I thought there was a lot of unnecessary language in this book.

Problem is... the language and crudity didn't really start until I the book got going and so I found myself in a bit of a predicament, not wanting to read on... but wanting to find out how it unfolds and what happens.

In truth if it hadn't been for the fact that I was reading this book as part of the mumsnet book club and looking forward to the discussion on Tuesday night I would have definitely given the book back to the library.

It is a cleverly put together book, just put off with the vulgar bits.

Salfersile Mon 25-Feb-13 11:41:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Salfer, I think you need to start a thread of your own, there is a list of topic if you click on "talk". Hope you find out what you need to know smile if its a media enquiry (not sure about your motivation, from what you've written) you need to run it last mnhq

iYawn Mon 25-Feb-13 11:58:20

<Marking place>

Salfersile Mon 25-Feb-13 12:01:27

Yes ,,,sorry . Wrong place :|

impty Mon 25-Feb-13 17:36:07

I quite enjoyed the book but felt disappointed by the end. However i felt it was like the author couldn't let go of either Nick or Amy. Is there any truth in my theory?

SunshinePanda Mon 25-Feb-13 17:52:00

I found the disturbing character of Amy and her complex relationships fascinating. I was impressed by the final pregnancy twist but very concerned about the mental well being of her unborn child! When writing the novel was it always your intention to have Amy trap Nick in the marriage forever or did you seriously consider other options? Personally I am still hoping that in the future Nick saves the child from Amy's clutches although as we know we can never underestimate Amy!

squeaver Tue 26-Feb-13 09:43:40

This is one of the best examples of unreliable narrative that I've read - I thought it was refreshing to not be rooting for one character or another. In fact, I found the ambivalence that I felt towards Nick and Amy made the process of reading the book a more engrossing experience. Your instinct is to feel sympathy for first Amy, then Nick, then the rug is pulled from under you. It shows just how shallow traditional "thrillers" can be (not that there's anything wrong with losing yourself in one of those now and again!). So the book becomes about the process of reading (and your interpretation) as much as the plot itself (if that's not too wanky).

Anyway, I have a couple of questions for Gillian. Do you think some people are approaching the book in the wrong way because it's been marketed as a thriller? I know people who have said "Oh I don't want to read that, I'm not really into thrillers".

Secondly, in a book where the main protagonists are so unlikeable, who is the moral centre of the book? Is it Go? Boney? I thought it was interesting that you had a central female villain, and that all the main male characters were also unsympathetic (Nick, Amy's Dad, Desi) but you had two females to whom you could remain sympathetic throughout.

Also interested in what other options you considered for the ending.

desidesosa Tue 26-Feb-13 10:14:05

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desidesosa Tue 26-Feb-13 10:59:09

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How weird - spamming?

jennywren123 Tue 26-Feb-13 13:13:36

Yes spam. How you can earn loads of $ working from home etc etc.

ArcticRoll Tue 26-Feb-13 16:22:22

I loved the book but wondered whether you considered a diffferent ending?

CuriousMama Tue 26-Feb-13 16:24:19

I loved this book as I've said on other threads I read it in a night. Luckily my sons were at their dad's and dp was at work (nightshift) but I still read it until I finished it at 7am, then had a good lie in wink

My question is about a possible movie? If you have any say on casting would you please consider Ryan Gosling as he can do hot and horny and also tortured soul. And I love him blush

Also sneaky extra one, your skin is so lovely, what's your secret or is it lucky genes?

squeaver Tue 26-Feb-13 18:08:37

Like gargamella, I'm interested in the "cool girl" thing too. As I'm 20 years past being single, is this something that you think is true? Or an Amy-posited hypothesis to make us think about her character?

Champagnesupernova Tue 26-Feb-13 18:32:26

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading it - didn't want to do much else and will await the webchat with relish. THanks for coming on Gillian.

SinisterSal Tue 26-Feb-13 18:33:57

Firstly apologies in advance for any typos, on silly phone. smile
Diary Amy comes out with some fairlynuanced feminist arguments, though not actuallyexplicitly stated as such. The cool girl thing for example. Yet it turns out that she is literally using it as cover to be a psycho from hell who traps a man by getting pregnant, cries rape, and deliberately tries to ruin a poor scmucks life, and nearly does it to beause everyone thinks the worst of men. Etc etc. Why did you choose that portayal of a 'feminist'?

Patchouli Tue 26-Feb-13 20:02:08

Reece Witherspoon? As in the girl from Elf?!

Really enjoyed reading Gone Girl. I don't normally go for thrillers, but it made a nice change for me and it was very readable.

The meticulousness of the revenge at some points reminded me of Fay Weldon's Life and Loves of a She-Devil

jennywren123 Tue 26-Feb-13 20:11:19

I really enjoyed the book, but I did feel that I wanted to find out more about what happened after the baby was born. Did they stay together? What was the child like? Were they ever happy again (doubt it!). What made you decide to end the story when you did? Can you tell us what happened to Amy and Nick 5 years later, 10 years later, 20 years later? Thanks

BumgrapesofWrath Tue 26-Feb-13 20:11:53

I really enjoyed the book! Very clever plot.

Is Amy based (loosely obviously) on someone you know? I just got a really good feel for her character, she seemed so real and believable to me.

Also, how did you go about writing the plot of the story without getting confused yourself? Lots of post-it notes? Or diagrams? The story wove together so nicely you must have planned it meticulously (like Amy??)

kermithermit Tue 26-Feb-13 20:46:37

Hi Gillian
Great of you to come!

I have lots of questions for you, too numerous for this forum. What I particularly loved about Gone Girl was the converging narratives but also the fact that both are unreliable narrators and your view of them shifts as you move through the book.

What I wanted to ask is: what are the character arcs for Nick and Amy if they end up back where they started? I can see more of a transformation in Nick, less so in Amy - I suppose this makes him the protagonist?

Fantastic read though. Hurry up and write some more as having read Dark Places I am pacing myself to read the rest of your books so that I don't run out too early...

Genesgirl Tue 26-Feb-13 20:46:51

I loved the book, thanks Gillian. I didn't dislike all the characters the way I did with say 'The Slap'. Agree, didn't like Amy but maybe cos I started off rooting for her (ie. the first half, the diary version of Amy it was hard to change.) I agree with someone else who said Nick knew his flaws and was trying to be better albeit in a haphazard, too relaxed way. Also agree with someone else and thought some language was unnecessarily crude. My question is did you ever had another ending in mind? I thought Nick would kill her in the end in a sort of 'Fatal attraction' ending. He'd been provoked enough. In the end I just worried for the baby......In summary, a great book and probably better for having an unpredictable, non standard ending IMO.

Evening everyone

A lot of varied and interesting opinions this month, and a lot of questions posted already. So without further ado...

I am delighted that Gillian is joining us from Chicago tonight to talk about her writing, her inspiration and the phenomenon that is GONE GIRL.

Gillian, firstly, thank you very much indeed for taking the time to be here. And many congratulations on such a brilliantly successful and gripping book. We'll kick off with the advance questions from further up the thread. And then we'll aim to get through as many new ones as possible over the next hour (although getting through all the posts above may take a good chunk of that...)

I'd also like to add our two standard MN Bookclub questions (which we like to ask all authors):

Which childhood book most inspired you?

What would be the first piece of advice you would give anyone attempting to write fiction?

Over to you...

gaelicsheep Tue 26-Feb-13 21:00:20

I think squeaver's insights are very interesting and have made me think about the book in a different light.

My question for Gillian is whether you feel this book is more about the story or the telling of it? For me personally it works more in the technique than as a story in itself (that's just me).

Gillianflynn1 Tue 26-Feb-13 21:03:03

Thanks so much for having me! I think this will be quite a lot of fun!

FakePlasticLobsters Tue 26-Feb-13 21:03:45

I loved the book and loved the ending. It couldn't really have ended any other way.

I've discussed it with my friend and she was feeling very sorry for the baby, saying "Imagine what Amy might do to manipulate him or her!"

While I was thinking that perhaps the baby might grow up to be worse than Amy, a sort of Bad Seed child.

Have you got an idea in mind for how Nick and Amy's baby might turn out?

Gillianflynn1 Tue 26-Feb-13 21:04:58

I loved stories about bold, adventurous children (particularly as I was a fairly shy, unadventurous child!). I loved Meg in A Wrinkle in Time, Lucy in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Tom in Tom Sawyer, but I think my favorite was Alice in Wonderland. I loved how curious and precocious and fearless Alice was, and I was fascinated by this strange other world that she explored. I spent many hours looking for rabbit holes in my backyard.

As for writing advice: This will sound too simple, but I think it’s very important: Keep writing. I wrote my first book at night and on weekends after I finished my day job, and the process was long and sometimes discouraging and very erratic. But I kept at it, even when I lost momentum and life took over and I hadn’t looked at the book in six months. I just kept going back and writing and rewriting and then finally—magic!—one day it was done. Also: Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Don’t worry if your first version is crummy; that’s what a first draft is for—to figure out what it is you want to say. I always find my books in the third of fourth draft!

Welcome!

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 21:14:45

FakePlasticLobsters

I loved the book and loved the ending. It couldn't really have ended any other way.

I've discussed it with my friend and she was feeling very sorry for the baby, saying "Imagine what Amy might do to manipulate him or her!"

While I was thinking that perhaps the baby might grow up to be worse than Amy, a sort of Bad Seed child.

Have you got an idea in mind for how Nick and Amy's baby might turn out?

Well first of all, you can give an author no better compliment than wondering what happens to the characters after the book is closed, so thank you! I think the answer is: Not well. I think Nick will try his best to keep the child from too much mental gamesmanship, but I don't know that Amy will be able to mother with out manipulation—using the child a pawn in the ongoing marital chess game.

Just a quick message to say there may be a few delays as Gillian's computer being a bit slow - she's very kindly said she'll stay on a bit longer to make up for it...

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 21:20:35

gaelicsheep

I think squeaver's insights are very interesting and have made me think about the book in a different light.

My question for Gillian is whether you feel this book is more about the story or the telling of it? For me personally it works more in the technique than as a story in itself (that's just me).

It's very much a book about storytelling. We are all engaged in our own myth-making. When we meet someone and tell them our life story, we are choosing to portray ourselves in a certain light; we are picking the stories and the anecdotes that we believe represent us (this isn't always correct, but that's the whole point: The choices you make in trying to explain who you are). I wanted Amy and Nick to be writers—people who were already trained in telling stories, and I wanted their alternating chapters to make the reader feel like he or she was trapped in an argument between friends.

Patchouli Tue 26-Feb-13 21:26:31

It's those alternating chapters that made it so readable for me.
I'd get to the end of one and want to whiz through the next to get back round to what's going to happen - but in whizzing through the next, I'd want to know what was happening in that situation.
I might say to myself 'one more chapter then I'm going to bed' - but with this book it was loads.
Made it all the more engrossing.

Janimoso Tue 26-Feb-13 21:27:43

I agree... me too :-)

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 21:31:01

Genesgirl

I loved the book, thanks Gillian. I didn't dislike all the characters the way I did with say 'The Slap'. Agree, didn't like Amy but maybe cos I started off rooting for her (ie. the first half, the diary version of Amy it was hard to change.) I agree with someone else who said Nick knew his flaws and was trying to be better albeit in a haphazard, too relaxed way. Also agree with someone else and thought some language was unnecessarily crude. My question is did you ever had another ending in mind? I thought Nick would kill her in the end in a sort of 'Fatal attraction' ending. He'd been provoked enough. In the end I just worried for the baby......In summary, a great book and probably better for having an unpredictable, non standard ending IMO.

Thank you for such thoughtful comments!

As for the language: Yeah, I curse like a sailor, and I thought Nick and Amy would too. Amy more once she's on the loose, and trying to put up a shell; I thought she'd think that Ozark Amy would curse. Nick, he just takes after me!

And here I will address THE ENDING!
SO SPOILER ALERT: STOP READING if you haven't reached the end!

First of all, I'm aways very interested to hear how people thought it should end, so everyone feel free to chime in.

I did consider several different endings, and none of them worked for me. I didn’t want Amy to go to jail—she’s Amazing Amy! She’s not going to let that happen. And I didn’t want her killed off. Nick wouldn’t do that. He loves her, as crazy as their relationship is. And to have someone else do it is putting him back in the place where he started out—passive, letting someone else do the hard work.

People tell me a lot that they want justice. I wasn’t interested in justice for Amy—this isn’t what the book is about. It’s not a morality tale. It's a love story, in a way, and not all love stories end happily. I wanted it to feel realistic, and this is what felt realistic to me. We all know those couples who become toxically addicted to each other. They like the gamesmanship of their marriage—they have found a worthy nemesis who also happens to be their soul mate. As Nick says: He wants to be a better man than he is. He is a lazy guy; he wants someone who will force him to be smarter, wittier, more considerate, better. And in turn, Amy needs him to love her. He makes her laugh, he gives her perspective. You know, it’s tragically romantic. I like open endings; I think they're much more unsettling than a big ka-pow! That said, I understand it's not for everyone. My hope is that even if you didn't like the ending, you can still like the book—if it made you think, or feel, or squirm, or get angry, or laugh—if you wanted to talk to a friend or a spouse about it, then wonderful. That's the goal.

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 21:32:32

Patchouli

It's those alternating chapters that made it so readable for me.
I'd get to the end of one and want to whiz through the next to get back round to what's going to happen - but in whizzing through the next, I'd want to know what was happening in that situation.
I might say to myself 'one more chapter then I'm going to bed' - but with this book it was loads.
Made it all the more engrossing.

Thank you so much! They were fun to write, and I wrote them as they were in the book, alternating between Nick's mind and Amy's. It made me feel like an actor, trying on different characters.

BOF Tue 26-Feb-13 21:33:31

I loved Gone Girl, but I loved Dark Places even more: it was the best book I'd read all year, I think. The central character, although flawed was really likeable and you rooted for her. Which of your novels has been most fun to write, Gillian?

katb1973 Tue 26-Feb-13 21:35:19

Gillian, I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of this book and really loved reading it. However, I personally found the ending too trite....after all the twists and turns in the book, the build up of resentment on Nick's side, verging on hatred....do you really think he would have "settled" marrying her to save the child? I suppose I imagined him proving she was guilty, seeing her go to jail and possibly getting the child as a result, though Amy probably would have aborted it........oh the possibilities!!!! How do you choose the "right" ending? Do you trial several?

squeaver Tue 26-Feb-13 21:35:45

Are you worried that Hollywood will change the ending?

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 21:36:44

kermithermit

Hi Gillian
Great of you to come!

I have lots of questions for you, too numerous for this forum. What I particularly loved about Gone Girl was the converging narratives but also the fact that both are unreliable narrators and your view of them shifts as you move through the book.

What I wanted to ask is: what are the character arcs for Nick and Amy if they end up back where they started? I can see more of a transformation in Nick, less so in Amy - I suppose this makes him the protagonist?

Fantastic read though. Hurry up and write some more as having read Dark Places I am pacing myself to read the rest of your books so that I don't run out too early...

Thank you! They are definitely not traditional character arcs. Not everyone learns something here! Nick's transformation is much more dramatic. He finally grows up, and he makes a choice, and its not the choice everyone would like for him, but I think he's finally proud of himself. He's doing the hard thing after a life of doing what's easiest. As for Amy, I think only time will tell. She finally learned she's not invincible. She can get robbed and be threatened. So...will that humble her a bit? She also learns that she can get herself out of any mess she finds herself in, so she may actually feel more powerful...

squeaver Tue 26-Feb-13 21:37:12

Personally, I think the ending is absolutely right for the book: leaving it our own interpretation, ambiguous, unsettling, thought-provoking.

Genesgirl Tue 26-Feb-13 21:39:19

wow I am so excited you responded to my post Gillian I won't sleep now - thank-you! I am off to download your other books on my kindle. Good luck with it all and thanks for coming on here x

BOF Tue 26-Feb-13 21:41:14

Yes, I liked the ending. I loathed Nick so much though, that he could have been sent to jail and had the key thrown away, and I wouldn't have cared. I suppose that's a bit harsh, but he maybe could have been sentenced to have his nostril hairs individually removed by tweezers daily or something. That would have made me quite happy.

Patchouli Tue 26-Feb-13 21:42:07

I was expecting Nick to finally be believed, so then free to kill her.
But I love the baby ending.

gaelicsheep Tue 26-Feb-13 21:42:31

Thank you for your answer Gillian, that's very interesting. The more I think about this book the more I agree with squeaver and others that the ending probably is appropriate. Nothing is cut and dried, and I think any other ending might itself have felt contrived. It is unsettling, yes, but perhaps that's as it should be.

KateSMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Feb-13 21:42:41

I just finished the book today, I was racing through it to find out how it ended!

I was really interested in the dynamic between Nick and Go, how do you imagine that would change with the [SPOILER ALERT] return of Amy?

kermithermit Tue 26-Feb-13 21:43:32

The central character in Dark Places is one of my favourites. A prime example of how a protagonist can be extremely flawed and yet somehow the writer still has you rooting for her. I didn't root for Nick and Amy in the same way but thinking about this as a love story rather than a morality tale, the book makes perfect sense. I also agree that straightforward, logical endings are a tad boring. But as a reader, the ending you expect depends on what you think you've signed up for. I'm not sure that bit is quite as obvious in Gone Girl as in Dark Places.

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 21:43:59

BumgrapesofWrath

I really enjoyed the book! Very clever plot.

Is Amy based (loosely obviously) on someone you know? I just got a really good feel for her character, she seemed so real and believable to me.

Also, how did you go about writing the plot of the story without getting confused yourself? Lots of post-it notes? Or diagrams? The story wove together so nicely you must have planned it meticulously (like Amy??)

Ha! Thank you! She is, thank goodness, not based on anyone I know. But I think we've all met people like her. Severe alpha girls who will always do better than you and get more than you because they don't care whether they're acting morally. they just want to win. To me, that was a big key to Amy. Also her "perfection": She’s beautiful, smart, wealthy—nothing has ever gone wrong for her. I think that’s a very dangerous way to grow up, because it doesn’t teach buoyancy. I believe buoyancy to be one of the most important human skill there is. When things begin to go wrong, Amy doesn’t know what to do or how to handle it.

As for plotting: Yes, mad post-it notes! I am not good at plotting, and I chose to write this very plotted book. My way of organizing my thoughts is to write the chronology and the facts, and the dates, and the clues on pieces of paper and tape them to the wall of my little home office. By the end of Gone Girl, it looked like the den of a mad woman! Thousands of fluttering little scraps of paper. Who was telling what lie to whom and when? And then all the police work and legal questions on top. Madness!

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Feb-13 21:44:30

I have been speed reading all day... and still have about 50 pages to go but just wanted to check in and say how much I've enjoyed the book (so far!) I didn't see the twist coming at all..... Know there have been comments about the end so want to make sure I get there without finding out what happens (so apologies if my question is a repeat, I daren't read the thread) but just wanted to know if there were any real life incidents/ characters /events that inspired the story or whether it was all just the fruit of a brilliant imaginationsmile I loved the anniversary trails for example and thought the way women expect men to remember stuff rang very true. I also loved the way you totally manipulate the reader's emotions...

I'll be giving the book to lots of friends... but am off to finish it first. Thanks so much for coming on Mumsnet!

squeaver Tue 26-Feb-13 21:44:54

Lol - BoF. I loved the bit where he finally admitted where he was on the morning of the disappearance: in a storage unit, reading old copies of his magazine. So pathetic and so telling.

kermithermit Tue 26-Feb-13 21:49:29

Gillian - thanks for your answer!
The Amy character became more fragile when she was attacked - almost as if she didn't see it coming, but with a mind that sharp, she should have done. At that point I had more of an insight. I felt that there she was, a spoiled only child who had been brought up to believe she was invincible, but there were elements to society that she was completely unprepared for... I think I had wanted to see more of that.
And I love that both Nick and Amy are trained story tellers. As others have said, the unreliable (but purposefully so) narration really works extremely well for me.

kermithermit Tue 26-Feb-13 21:50:08

Sorry - not when she was attacked, when she was threatened and had to give her money over.

BumgrapesofWrath Tue 26-Feb-13 21:50:28

Thank you for answering my questions Gillian!! You've made my night!

I'm off to buy Dark Places on Amazon now...

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 21:52:06

HellesBelles396

an early question: is the book more about dysfunctional marriages or dysfunctional parenting?

My intention was to explore a marriage that, on paper, may seem to be a fantasy match—and then to explore what went wrong. But you’re right: Nick and Amy are two people who’ve been parented in such a way that they truly believe they are the golden children—they can do no wrong. They are self-centered and egocentric. In Amy’s case, she had an iconic status, because of the Amy books, that she didn’t even earn. She’s beautiful, smart, wealthy—nothing has ever gone wrong for her. I think that’s a very dangerous way to grow up, because it doesn’t teach buoyancy.

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 21:56:53

BOF

Yes, I liked the ending. I loathed Nick so much though, that he could have been sent to jail and had the key thrown away, and I wouldn't have cared. I suppose that's a bit harsh, but he maybe could have been sentenced to have his nostril hairs individually removed by tweezers daily or something. That would have made me quite happy.

The dreaded nostril hair punishment—I like it!

tallpoppies Tue 26-Feb-13 21:57:49

Just a small point but I loved the part so much where nick is thinking about the downfall of Carthage. The point he made about being the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time and the secondhand experience always being better - these few paragraphs really stayed with me for weeks after finishing the book which I loved. I wouldn't have changed anything at all, loved it!

FakePlasticLobsters Tue 26-Feb-13 21:59:42

Thank you for answering my question, and my friend is thrilled to have an insight into how things might go for the baby, just as much as I am. I really hope Amy meets her match when that baby grows up and turns out 'worse' than she is.

I did think I had the ending all worked out at one point, I thought Nick and Amy were in it together for the insurance money and that poor old Andie would get the blame for the 'murder' of Amy, the affair being a set up that Amy knew about all along.

After that, I wanted Nick to have some sort of justice and to escape Amy once and for all.

But when it finally came down to it I think my reaction was "NO! That can't happen!" followed by "Oooh, that was clever!"

And it might not have been what I thought I wanted, but it couldn't really have been any other way and I love it when that happens in a book. Now we don't have an ending, we have another beginning and a lot of imagining to do.

Until the sequel? grin

squeaver Tue 26-Feb-13 22:00:05

Hmm, am loving the buoyancy thing...

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 22:02:26

littlewifey

Just finished. Enjoyed the twist about the diary but was disappointed by the ending and left feeling very frustrated about the main characters! My question for the author is: Would you consider/ have any plans already for writing a sequel to Gone Girl?

That was never my plan when I wrote the book. But I do find these to characters fascinating. It could be fun to dip back in on them when their child hits the teenage years!

BOF Tue 26-Feb-13 22:04:22

Ooh, that's a brilliant idea. It would beat the shit out of The Omen.

Reebs123 Tue 26-Feb-13 22:05:34

half-way thru the book and loving it. can't wait to find out what happens.
Thank you Mumsnet for the book!

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 22:07:42

gazzalw

This is definitely a case of "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". I do love a thriller where all is not as it seems and just love the very stark contrast twixt the perfect fairy tale Amy and the darker and more complex reality which is hidden beneath her All-American apple-pie image and beauty.

My question, Gillian is this: you have painted the starkest picture of the disintegration of a love-affair from heady perfect romance, to simmering tensions, to the pure hatred and rage which culminates in such a twisted form of vengeance. I definitely thought that of David Lynch as I read your novel - this idea of things not being at all as they seem on the perfect surface. Are you personally that cynical about love and relationships?

Thank you for such a thoughtful question! I am not a cynic, but I can be wildly pragmatic. I do think a lot of people enter relationships because of the way the person makes them feel. They don’t enter them to love, they enter them because they feel better about themselves when reflected through the eyes of this other person. Obviously, your spouse should make you feel good about yourself, but entering a relationship because you believe someone may “fix” you is a losing proposition for both sides. I think that is a bit of Nick and Amy’s problem. As Nick says: They complete each other in the most dangerous way. Nick felt smarter with Amy, and more challenged to be the man he wants to be, but he doesn’t feel able to be himself with her. He doesn’t feel loved unconditionally. Amy would, of course, say that isn’t the point of love.

Quick update: Gillian has very kindly offered to carry on till 10.15, so she can get to some of the advance questions from earlier in the thread...and then possibly she'll be able to post a few more when her computer is back to normal.

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 22:11:01

tallpoppies

Just a small point but I loved the part so much where nick is thinking about the downfall of Carthage. The point he made about being the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time and the secondhand experience always being better - these few paragraphs really stayed with me for weeks after finishing the book which I loved. I wouldn't have changed anything at all, loved it!

Thank you so much. That's actually one of my favorite passages in the book (if I may be so immodest). I do think we are getting so saturated with pop culture and devices and the ability to upload anything and everything into our brains that it becomes harder to be genuine people—our first reactions too often are echoing someone else's. Plus everything is better with a soundtrack!

CoteDAzur Tue 26-Feb-13 22:12:00

"Love story"? "Soul mates"?

Are you saying that you are addressing a predominantly female audience here?
If not, it is a bit disappointing (to me). I read Gone Girl as the story of a brilliant psychopath who, like Hannibal Lecter, manipulated everyone and succeeded in getting her way against long odds.

Nick is staying with Amy only because she is pregnant, so how is this a love story of soul mates?

The ending was great, by the way. Killing Amy or sending her to jail would have been the easy way out. Having the psychopath win is a courageous choice and makes the ending original.

BOF Tue 26-Feb-13 22:12:31

I'm just thinking how cinematic the books are: I can totally see any one of the three I've read as a brilliant movie.

Gillian, when you write, do you 'see' the scenes in your head, or are you more about the sound of the language and finding poetry and rhythm? Because although I have found lots of really cleverly-composed and striking ways of articulating a thought, I fundamentally can really visualise it all, if you know what I mean?

SinisterSal Tue 26-Feb-13 22:12:37

Turn talk poppies, I really foundnicks thoughts about never seeing anything for the first time very interestinginteresting in the context of how powerful the media is - see Nicks trial by media . It's all storytelling.

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 22:13:32

KateSMumsnet

I just finished the book today, I was racing through it to find out how it ended!

I was really interested in the dynamic between Nick and Go, how do you imagine that would change with the [SPOILER ALERT] return of Amy?

Great question. I think Go may be the one thing Nick wouldn't give in on. She's his moral center, and she's the one who can give him perspective. He needs her. And yet, I also feel that Go is very threatening to Amy. Still, she's smart enough to push exactly as far as she can. It may become the one thing they agree on, if uneasily: Go stays.

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 22:15:58

CoteDAzur

"Love story"? "Soul mates"?

Are you saying that you are addressing a predominantly female audience here?
If not, it is a bit disappointing (to me). I read Gone Girl as the story of a brilliant psychopath who, like Hannibal Lecter, manipulated everyone and succeeded in getting her way against long odds.

Nick is staying with Amy only because she is pregnant, so how is this a love story of soul mates?

The ending was great, by the way. Killing Amy or sending her to jail would have been the easy way out. Having the psychopath win is a courageous choice and makes the ending original.

He's not staying with her only because she's pregnant. He stays with her because she makes him (as in forces him) to be better. I'm not saying they're soul mates in the way normal people would like to be soul mates, but they are meant to be together. Even sociopaths need love...

CoteDAzur Tue 26-Feb-13 22:17:19

Sorry - The first sentence is incomprehensible in my previous post. I was trying to say "Are you saying that because you are addressing a predominantly female audience here?"

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 22:20:21

cm22v077

I just finished reading this, it felt very strange reading it a the same time as the Oscar Pistorius case was unfolding, anyone else? I'm paranoid that I'll be talking to someone about the case and get it confused with the book!!
I enjoyed the twists but like others have said bit disappointed with the ending.
My question for Gillian is, I read you grew up in Kansas City, do you think that your chosen genre is linked to novels like 'In Cold Blood' which was famously set in the same region?
Thanks for coming onto Mumsnet!

Thanks so much. Yes, i grew up on the kansas border and read in Cold Blood at a very young age! It touches on an obsession of mine, which is: Why violence happens. The inevitability of it in certain circumstances, with certain people. My second novel, Dark Places, actually starts with that image: A family murdered in their lonely Kansas farmhouse: What happened?

BOF Tue 26-Feb-13 22:22:08

That was my favourite one, Gillian. So dark, but with such black humour too. I might go up for a bath and re-read it grin

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 22:22:20

BOF

I'm just thinking how cinematic the books are: I can totally see any one of the three I've read as a brilliant movie.

Gillian, when you write, do you 'see' the scenes in your head, or are you more about the sound of the language and finding poetry and rhythm? Because although I have found lots of really cleverly-composed and striking ways of articulating a thought, I fundamentally can really visualise it all, if you know what I mean?

Thanks! Yes, I am the daughter of a film professor, and I wrote about film for 10 years at Entertainment Weekly, so I do think very visually and I do write in scenes often. It's just the way my brain works, I suppose!

BOF Tue 26-Feb-13 22:28:31

Ooh, that's interesting! I wonder if you'll ever write a screenplay? Anyway, thanks for replying to my question. I just want to thank you for your writing, and wish you lots of luck for the future. I can't wait to see what you come up with next.

No pressure grin

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 22:31:02

Thanks so much to everyone! Many apologies for my slow computer (ahh...Chicago snowstorms!) I'll keep answering the posted questions—thanks for them!
Best,
Gillian

As it is 10.30pm here in the UK, I am going to draw the chat to a semi-official close - BUT have spoken to Gillian and she is going to keep at it, despite her tech difficulties. So stay put/look out tomorrow for more answers from Gillian on this thread.

Many thanks to all for excellent questions and wonderful to have so many different faces here tonight.

Gillian, thank you very very much indeed for battling through computer trouble and giving us such thoughtful and insightful answers. We really appreciate your time and energy, especially as I imagine your schedule is completely manic these days. Good luck with your next project (and can't wait to read it...)

Many thanks again.

GillianFlynn Tue 26-Feb-13 22:36:11

BOF

Ooh, that's interesting! I wonder if you'll ever write a screenplay? Anyway, thanks for replying to my question. I just want to thank you for your writing, and wish you lots of luck for the future. I can't wait to see what you come up with next.

No pressure grin

Many thanks! I am writing the screenplay for Gone Girl and really enjoying the process!

jennywren123 Tue 26-Feb-13 22:36:46

Thank you Gillian. I'm definitely off to find a copy of Dark Places tomorrow!!!

FakePlasticLobsters Tue 26-Feb-13 22:38:04

Thank you for being here Gillian. This was my first author chat, and I've really enjoyed it.

BOF Tue 26-Feb-13 22:44:01

Thank you so much, Gillian.

Perhaps you might consider including a short scene in which Amy tenderly plucks a hair from Nick's nostril? I would love you forever grin

tallpoppies Tue 26-Feb-13 22:56:26

Thank you for replying to my post. I don't think it's immodest at all that you love that passage, I wish I had written it! In a way it not only symbolises society today but the whole dynamic between Nick and Amy. She is the secondhand experience for him that he was too lazy to create for himself. She manipulated his emotions and provided the soundtrack. There could have been no better ending for Nick. In becoming the doting father to be and staying with Amy he will be the perpetual "good guy". Everyone's a winner baby........

CuriousMama Tue 26-Feb-13 23:38:58

Aww I didn't get my questions answered. Mind you they weren't that interesting.

Still nice to see Gillian on here though. I have Dark Places waiting for me so am still happy.

Marking place to read thoroughly later.
Was disappointed my quetion wasn't answered too - I really wonder what plans Amy had in place for if desi had had an alibi for the time she was snatched.

gazzalw Wed 27-Feb-13 07:59:20

Thanks for answering all the questions (including mine)Gillian - another very enjoyable web-chat!

Hope you sort out your computer issues in snowy Chicago!

I think other posters' comments (and yours) have revised my view of the book and I may well reread it. First impressions (as with Amy!) can be deceptive and I feel I will get more out of it second time around!

grin

CuriousMama Wed 27-Feb-13 08:00:39

SPD at least your Q was book related. Mine was movie related and asking how she has such nice skin grin

CuriousMama Wed 27-Feb-13 08:01:24

gazzalw is that you rubbing it in there, all the questions wink

BOF Wed 27-Feb-13 08:13:09

I think that Gillian might come back to some, they said, when her connection is better?

CuriousMama Wed 27-Feb-13 08:20:42

Did you get a question answered BOF? wink

I'm not bothered tbh, hope SPB gets her question answered and anyone else who had a decent one though.

gazzalw Wed 27-Feb-13 08:47:25

Sorry blush - not rubbing it in...I got the decided impression from Tilly that Gillian was going to answer some more questions which hopefully will include yours, CuriousMama (grovel, grovel!).

Starting to really enjoy the Mumsnet Book Group! Pity there's not more of the virtual wine though grin!

FakePlasticLobsters Wed 27-Feb-13 09:18:07

I was really pleased when Gillian said it might be fun to dip back into Nick and Amy's lives when the baby is a teenager.

I really am hoping for some sort of nightmare teen, with Amy's poise, smarter than both of them and running rings around Amy. Perhaps a combination of Stephen King's Carrie and Lionel Shriver's Kevin. Cool, calm and crazy.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 27-Feb-13 09:31:18

For anyone who hasn't clocked it, our next book of the month is a collection of short stories by Jon McGregor, whose debut novel was the acclaimed If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. He'll be here on Tues 26 March at 9pm.

Short stories are a first for book club. We hope it means you'll come and chat to Jon even if you only have time to read some of the stories. And once we've decided on April's book, we'll let you know so that you have maximum time to get reading.

And (last but not least) we've got a new page explaining how Mumsnet book club giveaways work.

Thanks to everyone who posted questions for Gillian and joined in last night.

BOF Wed 27-Feb-13 10:49:12

Curiousmama, eh? Have you got something in your eye?

Joshthompson Wed 27-Feb-13 10:57:15

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

elizabethaaliyah Wed 27-Feb-13 13:40:36

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

CuriousMama Wed 27-Feb-13 14:57:09

gassalw just joking grin

I've ordered the next book so fingers crossed I get a question answered?

Rachel Joyce answered 2 so I can't be greedy.

GillianFlynn Wed 27-Feb-13 22:21:17

CuriousMama

I loved this book as I've said on other threads I read it in a night. Luckily my sons were at their dad's and dp was at work (nightshift) but I still read it until I finished it at 7am, then had a good lie in wink

My question is about a possible movie? If you have any say on casting would you please consider Ryan Gosling as he can do hot and horny and also tortured soul. And I love him blush

Also sneaky extra one, your skin is so lovely, what's your secret or is it lucky genes?

Hi Curious Mama—sorry I didn't get to this question yesterday! Snowstorm is gone and my computer works again. I will pass on Your Ryan Gosling advice to casting! And you are incredibly kind to say that about my skin—it helps to get one's author photo taken in the waning sunlight of a golden afternoon—everyone looks peachy and glowing!

GillianFlynn Wed 27-Feb-13 22:25:01

CuriousMama

I loved this book as I've said on other threads I read it in a night. Luckily my sons were at their dad's and dp was at work (nightshift) but I still read it until I finished it at 7am, then had a good lie in wink

My question is about a possible movie? If you have any say on casting would you please consider Ryan Gosling as he can do hot and horny and also tortured soul. And I love him blush

Also sneaky extra one, your skin is so lovely, what's your secret or is it lucky genes?

Hi Curious mama—sorry I didn't get to your question last night! I will pass on the Gosling vote to casting. As for your very kind note about my skin—it helps to have one's author photo taken in the golden afternoon—everyone looks peachy and glowing!

gazzalw Wed 27-Feb-13 22:30:21

Ha! Answered twice over now CuriousMama! What a lovely woman Gillian seems!

CuriousMama Wed 27-Feb-13 23:32:20

Oh thank you Gillian. Glad your computer is back working. Looking forward to maybe seeing Ryan as Nick wink

gassalw ha indeed. Yes she is lovely isn't she?

GillianFlynn Thu 28-Feb-13 16:26:04

SinisterSal

Firstly apologies in advance for any typos, on silly phone. smile
Diary Amy comes out with some fairlynuanced feminist arguments, though not actuallyexplicitly stated as such. The cool girl thing for example. Yet it turns out that she is literally using it as cover to be a psycho from hell who traps a man by getting pregnant, cries rape, and deliberately tries to ruin a poor scmucks life, and nearly does it to beause everyone thinks the worst of men. Etc etc. Why did you choose that portayal of a 'feminist'?

Wow, fascinating question. I don't think Amy is a feminist, actually. I think Amy hates women just as much as she hates men (possibly more so). Amy is an Amy-ist, as in, she is for whatever is best for Amy and against whatever isn't. But I'm sure she would be proud of the fact that she's never a victim, even when she's playing a victim. She turns the idea of the woman as the constant receiver of pain, the constant sufferer, on its ear, and uses it to her advantage.

GillianFlynn Thu 28-Feb-13 16:32:44

squeaver

Like gargamella, I'm interested in the "cool girl" thing too. As I'm 20 years past being single, is this something that you think is true? Or an Amy-posited hypothesis to make us think about her character?

I think the Cool Girl idea is very relevant today, in the idea that some women "spin" themselves into a persona that's designed to appeal to men (general) or a man (specific). It seems to me much more common that women take on their men's interests and hobbies than vice versa (ie Amy's comment about men and Jane Austen). I think women tend to be socially ambidextrous anyway—much more so than men—and so it's easier for women to transform than men. That can be a great skill or a dangerous one depending on how it's applied.

GillianFlynn Thu 28-Feb-13 16:44:14

squeaver

This is one of the best examples of unreliable narrative that I've read - I thought it was refreshing to not be rooting for one character or another. In fact, I found the ambivalence that I felt towards Nick and Amy made the process of reading the book a more engrossing experience. Your instinct is to feel sympathy for first Amy, then Nick, then the rug is pulled from under you. It shows just how shallow traditional "thrillers" can be (not that there's anything wrong with losing yourself in one of those now and again!). So the book becomes about the process of reading (and your interpretation) as much as the plot itself (if that's not too wanky).

Anyway, I have a couple of questions for Gillian. Do you think some people are approaching the book in the wrong way because it's been marketed as a thriller? I know people who have said "Oh I don't want to read that, I'm not really into thrillers".

Secondly, in a book where the main protagonists are so unlikeable, who is the moral centre of the book? Is it Go? Boney? I thought it was interesting that you had a central female villain, and that all the main male characters were also unsympathetic (Nick, Amy's Dad, Desi) but you had two females to whom you could remain sympathetic throughout.

Also interested in what other options you considered for the ending.

Thanks for the question. Yes, it's a tricky thing figuring out how to market a book. I do think some people may have chosen not to pick it up because they "don't like thrillers." I, personally, would never write off an entire genre. There are smart, beautifully written Westerns, science fiction, fantasy, and yes, thrillers, that tackle such meaty and worthy subjects as socioeconomics, gender roles, marriage, race, parenthood, politics, etc. and do it brilliantly.

As for the moral center: I think the one unchanging core center of the book is Go. I think Boney is a moral person, but she's also doing a job. Go, except for that one awful, turning point moment, is very much unwavering in her love and faith.

GillianFlynn Thu 28-Feb-13 16:48:04

BOF

I loved Gone Girl, but I loved Dark Places even more: it was the best book I'd read all year, I think. The central character, although flawed was really likeable and you rooted for her. Which of your novels has been most fun to write, Gillian?

Thank you! They're all fun in different ways. Sharp Objects was special because it was just me and my laptop at night and on weekends, writing for the fun of it. Dark Places has one of my personal favorite characters, Libby Day. Love that meanie! She's one of the characters I catch myself thinking about: How's Libby doing? What's she up to? And Gone Girl really tested me, the structure and the voices were so tricky and complex, and it was both a giant challenge and a thrill.

GillianFlynn Thu 28-Feb-13 16:53:59

Gargamella

Question about technique, I guess. Gillian - did you create other parts of the plot or character development that you then didn't show? I'm thinking of maybe how the characters Amy manipulated early on got over that and what they thought about her in the intervening years before she was back in the spotlight.

Yes, quite a bit of stuff that didn't end in the book. One of the things I like to do when figuring out a character is to write the character from someone else's point of view-so a scene with Amy told from POV of Hilary Handy, or Nick as seen by his childhood teacher.

GillianFlynn Thu 28-Feb-13 16:56:38

lilibet

Hi Gillian, thanks for coming onto mumsnet.

I think that both Amy and Nick were both thoroughly unlikeable as they were products of bad parenting, albeit in very different ways. Do you agree with this? And as a connected follow up, Could you envisage what sort of messed up child that liason would produce? I'm sure he would merit a novel of his own!!

I agree to an extent. I think it was well-intentioned bad parenting (except for Nick's dad, which was just plain old bad parenting). Nick and Amy are two people who’ve been parented in such a way that they truly believe they are the golden children—they can do no wrong. A dangerous way to grow up!

lilibet Fri 01-Mar-13 09:03:25

Gillian, thanks for coming back after your allotted time and answering questions, it's much appreciated and definitely 'above and beyond'

squeaver Fri 01-Mar-13 13:29:09

Gosh, wasn't that nice of her to come back and finish off the questions. Gold star for Gillian! She can come back any time.

gazzalw Fri 01-Mar-13 16:25:46

Yes, I think she deserves the Mumsnet equivalent of the Blue Peter Gold Badge for responding over and above the call of duty.....what a star!

BOF Fri 01-Mar-13 17:25:48

smile <round of applause>

Reebs123 Fri 08-Mar-13 21:18:36

loved-loved-loved the book! I did like the ending and was 'amazed' at how Amy's mind worked although a bit scared for Nick. You must read this book if you haven't. I'm so sad I didn't read it before Gillian Flynn did the web-chat. Is this being made into a film? Can't wait! Also looking forward to reading Gillian's other books.

gazzalw Fri 08-Mar-13 21:30:48

Reese Witherspoon is producing it and I think Gillian is doing the screenplay.... Will be interesting to see who plays Nick and Amy.....

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