Gaga Over Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn has been on the bestseller’s list for almost two years. It was made into a movie in 2014, and that movie and its performances have been nominated for many awards, including Rosemary Pike’s portrayal of protagonist Amy Dunne as Best Actress in a Motion Picture. Dubbed a psychological thriller, Gone Girl opened a door for a new sub-genre that is all the rage with publishers and readers alike –Domestic Noir. Although it might not be entirely new – Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier were probably the first type of literary Domestic Noir. They mysteriously and atmospherically asked us questions like – Do we really know someone we are in a relationship with? How do we handle grief and pain in our families? What goes on in the minds of those closest to us – and how do we interpret their actions?

Maybe we don’t ask ourselves these questions, but we sure seem to care about the novels that ask them of the characters. We love the secrets, we love the thrill, and we love the idea of reading this type of escapism since we are nosy by nature. It might not always be a “who-done-it,” but there is always the question of “what happened?” Following on the success of Gone Girl, numerous books have been released in the past year that widened the literature scope in the Domestic Noir sphere. We are seeing mostly books about women written by women, but the narrator isn’t always as reliable as we would hope her to be. Amy in Gone Girl was very conniving indeed, and you will see that Rachel in Girl on a Train is the definition of a loose cannon.

Sophie Orme, Senior Editor at Mantle Books, sums it up best when she says, “the authors have shown us that we don’t necessarily have to like the female protagonist to sympathize with her plight and be gripped by her story.” If you are also one who is gripped by these stories or enjoy psychological thrillers, then Domestic Noir may be the next thing you check out at the Library. For some suggestions, please look at my new reading list.