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

(197 Posts)
TillyBookClub Mon 14-Jan-13 20:27:04

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...

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.....

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.

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

smile <round of applause>

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!

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.

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'

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


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!

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


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 16:48:04


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 16:44:14


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 16:32:44


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 16:26:04


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.

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?

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

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

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


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!

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


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!

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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

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