…you may also like:
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
I had the pleasure of being in college when The Secret History came out. I think that is the ideal age for reading it.
It’s set at a fictional college in Vermont (based on Bennington, I believe, where the author wrote it).
The narrative gives away the murder it’s leading up to right on the first page: “The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.”
It’s exquisitely written, every sentence strung together gorgeously. But what made it so memorable and affecting to me was that the motives were abstract and idealistic. The narrator comes from a dull, uninspiring California suburb to a gracious New England idyll. The value of that beauty, not just the physical beauty but the beauty of idealism and learning itself, drives everything.
It’s probably not entirely appropriate to put this book in the position of “If you like The Whole World you’ll also like…” Maybe a better way to say it would be, “this book inspired me and I aspire to be that good.” Also, “my book is set in a college town too, and I hope the beauty and idealized experience of Cambridge comes through.”
If you haven’t read it yet, and especially if you’re college-age yourself, I strongly recommend it!