The Little Friend
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The second novel by Donna Tartt, bestselling author of The Goldfinch (winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize), The Little Friend is a grandly ambitious and utterly riveting novel of childhood, innocence and evil.
The setting is Alexandria, Mississippi, where one Mother’s Day a little boy named Robin Cleve Dufresnes was found hanging from a tree in his parents’ yard. Twelve years later Robin’s murder is still unsolved and his family remains devastated. So it is that Robin’s sister Harriet—unnervingly bright, insufferably determined, and unduly influenced by the fiction of Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson--sets out to unmask his killer. Aided only by her worshipful friend Hely, Harriet crosses her town’s rigid lines of race and caste and burrows deep into her family’s history of loss. Filled with hairpin turns of plot and “a bustling, ridiculous humanity worthy of Dickens” (The New York Times Book Review), The Little Friend is a work of myriad enchantments by a writer of prodigious talent.
she carried the box into the living room, where she found Ida sitting in her tweed chair with her knees apart and her head in her hands. “Ida?” Harriet said timidly. Stiffly, Ida Rhew swung her head around. Her eyes were still red. “I—I brought you something,” Harriet stammered. She set the cardboard box down on the floor by Ida’s feet. Dully, Ida stared down at the vegetables. “What am I going to do?” she said, and shook her head. “Where will I go?” “You can take them home if you want to,”
driver’s side of the car with her hand on the hood—although whether she’d been standing there the whole time or had eased over after the prayer moment who could say. Nursie Vance had appeared from nowhere. She swooped down on Harriet with a smothering, bosomy hug. “The Lord loves you!” she said, in her twinkly voice. “Just you remember that!” She patted Harriet on the bottom and turned, beaming, to Edie, as if expecting to start up a regular old conversation. “Well, hay!” But Edie wasn’t in
around the edges. The next thing she knew, the lights were whirling and big fingers—a man’s—had grasped her elbow. “I don’t know about fainting, but they sure do give me a headache in a closed room,” someone was saying. “Let her have some air,” said the stranger, who was holding her up: an old man, unusually tall, with white hair and bushy black eyebrows. Despite the heat, he was wearing a V-necked sweater vest over his shirt and tie. Out of nowhere, Edie swooped down—all in black, like the
and Make Way for Ducklings. Harriet had stood behind her in line, with her Ivanhoe and her Algernon Blackwood and her Myths and Legends of Japan, fuming. Even Mrs. Fawcett, the librarian, had raised an eyebrow in a way that made it perfectly plain how she felt about it. Harriet opened the notebook. Hely had given it to her. It was just a plain, spiral-bound notebook with a cartoon of a dune buggy on the cover which Harriet did not much care for, but she liked it because the lined paper was
but the hovering darkness only shifted, and pressed in, more insistently, from the other side. “Come on, Harriet. It’s just water.” She heard the words, in the back of her mind, and yet did not hear them. Then—quite unexpectedly—something cold touched the corner of her mouth; and Harriet floundered away from it, screaming as loudly as she could. ———— “You two are nuts,” Pemberton said. “Riding your bikes out to this shit subdivision? It must be a hundred degrees.” Harriet, flat on her back in