This is probably one of those have-to-be-there books. It's, err, it's a young book, best read when you're full of hope and arrogance and insecurity. Basically when you're about 15.
Carraway-esque narrator at some kind liberal American arts college (I do not know how education works over there, okay?) falls in with a group beautiful, fascinating, pretentious, infuriating classics students.
Who murdered someone during a Bacchanalian blood-sex-orgy gone wrong.
Followed by one of their friends to keep the secret.
There are two aloof, borderline incestuous twins. A tortured genius. A tragic gay. And a probably homosexual Svengali.
Everybody is unbearable. But, in its way, it's embarrassingly sincere. Capturing something ineffable about the twisted fantasies of youth.
I mean, let's face it, at some point in our lives we've always wanted to belong to a secret group of enticing outsiders who have done terrible things, right?
I dare not read this again but I know it won't ever mean as much to me again as when I first read it, aged (appropriately enough) 15, fell in love with, desperately identified with and simultaneously wanted to be pretty much entire cast.
Except for the murdered one, obviously.
It is a marvellous, entirely lost book.