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The cult of Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt's third novel, The Goldfinch, is already being greeted with awe. Why does her work inspire such devotion?

By Hannah Rosefield  

Why does Donna Tartt's "The Secret History" inspire such devotion?

When The Secret History was published in September 1992, hype had been building for months. The author, Donna Tartt, was 28. She had received a $450,000 advance. She was elegant and miniature (“I’m the exact same size as Lolita,” she told an interviewer) and enigmatic. She could recite poetry, even entire short stories, by heart. As an undergraduate, legendary writer and editor Willie Morris had read her work and approached her with the words, “My name’s Willie Morris,…

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