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The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

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"Like Salinger and Heller before her, Tartt has become a cult figure." - The Observer, 7/28/2002

Book Description

  • Novel: The Little Friend
  • Published: October 22, 2002
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
  • ISBN: 0-679-43938-2
  • Years to write: 10
  • Pages: 576
  • Average words per day: 58
The hugely anticipated new novel by the author of The Secret History a best-seller nationwide and around the world, and one of the most astonishing debuts in recent times The Little Friend is even more transfixing and resonant.

In a small Mississippi town, Harriet Cleve Dusfresnes grows up in the shadow of her brother, who when she was only a baby was found hanging dead from a black-tupelo tree in their yard. His killer was never identified, nor has his family, in the years since, recovered from the tragedy.

For Harriet, who has grown up largely unsupervised, in a world of her own imagination, her brother is a link to a glorious past she has only heard stories about or glimpsed in photograph albums. Fiercely determined, precocious far beyond her twelve years, and steeped in the adventurous literature of Stevenson, Kipling, and Conan Doyle, she resolves, one summer, to solve the murder and exact her revenge. Harriet's sole ally in this quest, her friend Hely, is devoted to her, but what they soon encounter has nothing to do with child's play: it is dark, adult, and all too menacing.

A revelation of familial longing and sorrow, The Little Friend explores crime and punishment, as well as the hidden complications and consequences that hinder the pursuit of truth and justice. A novel of breathtaking ambition and power, it is rich in moral paradox, insights into human frailty, and storytelling brilliance.


Harriet Cleve Dusfrenes grows up haunted by the murder of her brother. His killer was never identified, and the family never recovered from the tragedy. Harriet lives largely in the world of her imagination, alone even in company. Then one day she decides to find his murderer and exact her revenge.

The Little Friend is the story of Harriet Dusfresnes, a young girl who has grown up under the shadow of her brother's unsolved murder. She was just a baby when her brother Robin was found hanging from a tree in the yard. The murder tore at the fabric of her family, sending her father away and leaving her mother paralyzed by grief. At age twelve, Harriet decides to find and punish the murderer of the brother she's loved only through photographs and stories.


The writing is very beautiful but the story isn't as riveting and exciting as The Secret History.


For Bloomsbury, the company that has paid almost £1m for The Little Friend, the novel's publication in a year which sees it deprived of a new Harry Potter title will be an anxious, as well as exciting, moment. Other London publishers, invited to bid for the book, were not unanimous in their praise. At least one found The Little Friend "deeply disappointing". But Alexandra Pringle, Tartt's publisher at Bloomsbury, is delighted with "a breathtaking novel", and is convinced "that people will still be reading this book in 50 years time".

Reports do speak of a brilliant opening section: a suspenseful account of a horror beyond repair that suddenly strikes a close-knit family on a stormy spring evening. For the moment, The Little Friend remains pretty much a secret history. But as St Thomas Aquinas (whom Tartt has certainly read) once wrote, "The slenderest knowledge that may be obtained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge of lesser things."

Beyond any doubt, the book will surprise readers who expect more of the Tartt recipe as before. She has disclosed that "when I was writing this book I was thinking very much about Stevenson, whom I love, very much about Treasure Island and the pirates". She has called it "a book about children - but not for children. It's a... scary book about children coming contact with the world of adults, in a very frightening way." The ride will be scary, perhaps, for Bloomsbury's shareholders as well. [...]

So far as we know, The Little Friend will plunge readers into the deep, lingering emotions of a multi-generational family, rather than the neurasthenic fads and frenzies of a self-selected college elite. It promises to establish her as a more rounded and mature voice than the fey sprite who conjured up The Secret History. The new novel may also brand her as a strongly Southern writer, in the rich regional vein that runs from Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor to Eudora Welty - the revered and prolific Mississippi novelist who died last year, aged 92. Some American lives, at least, can have many long and satisfying acts.

excerpted from The Secret History: Whatever happened to Donna Tartt?­books/features/story.jsp?­story=297317

Donna Tartt, on her new novel, tentatively titled "Tribulation", due out early 2002

Excerpt from the interview

"When I was writing this book I was thinking very much about Stevenson, who I love, very much about Treasure Island and the pirates, and you know, Long John Silver, - books that I loved as a child. This is a book about children, but it's not a book for children. It's a frightening book. It's a scary book. It's fairly dark. It's about children coming into contact with adults. It doesn't take place wholly in the world of children (when I say children, I mean twelve years old...) And coming into contact with the world of adults in a very frightening way. (...) It's finished. I'm doing the edits now, the rewriting..." - Donna Tartt
Last book/date: The Secret History, 1992

Next book: The Little Friend, out November 2002

Years to write: 10

Pages: 608

Average Number of words written each day: 47
Square Books in Oxford, MS will be having a signing for Donna Tartt on Thursday, November 14th 2002. She will read from the book on Thacker Mountain Radio. After the show, she will sign copies of the book upstairs at Square Books beginning at 6:30 p.m. Further details will be announced closer to the event. They will be reserving signed copies of The Little Friend in advance so please drop by the store [160 Courthouse Square] or contact them by phone [800-648-4001] or email to inquire.

Donna Tartt sneller in Nederlands dan Engels

29 maart 2002 - De Bezige Bij publiceert de vertaling van `The Little Friend', de nieuwe roman van Donna Tartt, een maand voordat het boek in het Engels verschijnt. De Nederlandse vertaling verschijnt op 15 september, het origineel op 15 oktober.

De Nederlandse primeur is te danken aan de extreem goede verkoop van Tartts debuut De verborgen geschiedenis, laat Robbert Ammerlaan weten. Van dat boek gingen (in Nederland dus?) ruim 700.000 exemplaren over de toonbank. `Een adembenemende proportie', vindt de directeur van De Bezige Bij. `Daarbij ben ik in de loop der jaren goed bevriend geraakt met Tartt en haar Amerikaanse uitgever.' Ammerlaan gaf De verborgen geschiedenis in 1993 uit als directeur van Anthos.

Tartt heeft The Little Friend nog niet af. De Bezige Bij beschikt over zeven van de acht hoofdstukken. Het team van vertalers werkt al aan de eerste drie hoofdstukken, die de uitgeverij begin dit jaar in handen kreeg. Het is voor De Bezige Bij zodoende geen probleem de roman op tijd in de winkel te krijgen, schat Ammerlaan. Hoe de uitgeverij het boek gaat promoten, weet hij nog niet. `In de komende catalogus staat dat wij een allesomvattende promotiecampagne voeren. Wat dat inhoudt, hangt ook af van gesprekken met de boekhandel.'

Ammerlaan beseft dat het niet de eerste keer is dat de Nederlandse vertaling vóór het Engelse origineel verschijnt, maar wil niet spreken van een trend. 'Het komt altijd door de goede persoonlijke band tussen auteur en uitgever. Dat geldt voor Jaco Groot met Ian McEwan, voor Eva Cossee en J.M. Coetzee en voor mij met John Irving en Donna Tartt. Natuurlijk is de Engelstalige markt in Nederland substantieel en is het dus aardig om juist hier de vertaling eerder te laten verschijnen. Maar de persoonlijke band staat in de meeste gevallen voorop.'

Hoeveel omzet het voor de Engelstalige uitgave scheelt als de vertaling eerder verschijnt, durft Ammerlaan niet te zeggen. `Ik denk ook niet dat iemand daar een betrouwbaar getal over kan geven.' (MD) WorldLingo Translation:

Donna defies faster in Dutch then English

29 March of 2002 - the busy bee publishes the translation of ` The Little Friend ', the new novel of Donna defies, a month before book it in it English appears. The Dutchwoman translation appears on 15 September, it original on 15 October.

The Dutchwoman early product is thank to extreme good sale of Tartts debuut the hidden history, late Robbert Ammerlaan know. Of that book went (in the Netherlands therefore?) hold 700. 000 copies concerning the counter. ` breathtaking proportie ', find the director of busy. ` thereby it I touched loop in of the years well bevriend with defy and her American woman editor. ' Ammerlaan spent the hidden history in 1993, as a director of Anthos.

The Little Friend not yet has to defy. Busy at had seven of considers chapters. The team of translators works already the first three chapters, the that publisher starts this year in hands got. It is get the shop for busy at thereby no problem the novel on time in, values Ammerlaan. How the publisher the book goes to promote, know he not yet. 'in the coming catalogue stands that we feed a comprehensive promotion campaign. Also what implies that, depends of conversations with the bookshop. '

Ammerlaan realize which it not the first time is that the Dutchwoman translation appears by it English original, but does not want to speak of a recent development. ` it always comes by the good personal link between author and editor. That applies for Jaco with Ian McEwan, for Eva Cossee and j. M. Coetzee and for me with defies John Irving and Donna. Natural the English-speaking person market in the Netherlands significantly and is it nice in order correctly here the translation is rather to to therefore let appear. But the personal link stands in the most cases first. '

How much turnover for the English-speaking person outgoings makes a difference as the translation rather appears, does not dare Ammerlaan not say. Also ` I think not that a someone reliable number there concerning can give. ' (MD)

De kleine vriend

In een kleine stad in Mississippi groeit Harriet Cleve Dusfresnes op, geplaagd door de moord op haar negen jaar oudere broertje, dat opgehangen aan een boom in hun tuin werd gevonden toen ze nog een baby was.

Robins moordenaar is nooit gevonden, noch heeft de familie het verlies ooit kunnen verwerken. Met een vader die gescheiden leeft van de familie en een moeder die uitgeschakeld en verlamd is door verdriet, leeft Harriet grotendeels in de wereld van haar eigen verbeelding, eenzaam en alleen - zelfs in het gezelschap van haar oudere zusje.

Voor Harriet is Robin echter ook de schakel met de gelukkige tijd van vroeger, die ze kent van foto's en verhalen, en dus besluit ze in de zomer van haar twaalfde jaar zijn moordenaar te vinden en revanche te nemen.

Geladen met dezelfde zinderende spanning als 'De verborgen geschiedenis' is 'De kleine vriend' een verhaal over een verloren jeugd; een ambitieuze, adembenemende roman die vlijmscherp de paradoxen in onze moraal én de menselijke zwakheden blootlegt.

WorldLingo Translation:

The small friend

In a small city in Mississippi grow up Harriet Cleve Dusfresnes, teased by the assassination her nine years older broertje, which had found hung to a tree in the garden then they still a baby which.

Robins assassin is never found, nor has the familie it loses ever can process. With a father who lives separated of the familie and a mother that paralysed eliminated and by sorrow, live Harriet mainly in the world of her own imagination, solitary and only - even in the gezelschap of her older zusje.

For Harriet is Robin however also the link with the gelukkige time of former, which knows them of photograph and tales, and therefore decides them in the summer of her twelfth year is assassin be found and revanche to take.

Charged with the same shimmering tension if ' the hidden history ' is ' the small friend ' a tale concerning lose a youth; an ambitious, breathtaking novel vlijmscherp paradoxes in our morality and the human zwakheden expose the those.

Donna Tartt in Nederland

Uitgeverij De Bezige Bij heeft de wereldpremière van De kleine vriend, de nieuwe roman van Donna Tartt verworven. Haar langverwachte tweede roman verschijnt in Nederland op 15 september, een maand eerder dan waar ook ter wereld. De Amerikaanse en Engelse edities van The Little Friend liggen op 15 oktober in de winkel.

Donna Tartts debuutroman De verborgen geschiedenis, dat tien jaar geleden verscheen, was een van de literaire sensaties van de jaren `90. Vertaald in 23 talen werd het boek een internationale bestseller.

In ons land werd Tartts debuut uitzonderlijk goed ontvangen. Er werden tot nu toe meer dan 700.000 exemplaren van verkocht. Dit verkoopresultaat was voor Donna Tartt en haar Amerikaanse uitgever aanleiding haar Nederlandse vertegenwoordiger de première van haar nieuwe roman te gunnen.

WorldLingo Translation:

Donna defies in the Netherlands

Publisher the busy bee has the wereldpremière of the small friend, the new novel of Donna defies acquired. Her long-awaited Second novel appears in the Netherlands on 15 September, a month rather then where also in the world. Edities of The Little Friend lie American and the English on 15 October in the shop.

Donna Tartts debuutroman the hidden history that ten years appearred suffered, which sensaties of the years, the literary of, a ` 90. Translated 23 languages it book an international best-seller.

In our country become Tartts debuut exceptionally well to receive. It become up to now more than 700. 000 copies of sold. This sale result which for Donna defies and her American editor reason her Dutchwoman representative the première of her new novel grant.


The Little Friend Book Covers

The Little Friend by Donna TarttThe Little Friend
First Edition
523 pages
October 2002
ISBN: 0679439382
The Little Friend by Donna TarttThe Little Friend
October 28, 2002
The Little Friend by Donna TarttThe Little Friend
640 pages
October 2003
ISBN: 1400031699

The Little Friend by Donna TarttThe Little Friend
Random House Audible
Audio Download
October 2002
ISBN: 0553714066
The Little Friend by Donna TarttThe Little Friend
Random House Compact Disc
October 2002
ISBN: 0553714031

The Little Friend by Donna TarttThe Little Friend
Audio Book
October 28, 2002
ISBN: 0747562881 Narrated by Donna Tartt
De Kleine Vriend by Donna Tartt De Kleine Vriend
roman gebonden 544 pagina's September 2002 ISBN: 902340355X