Donna Tartt: The Little Friend (once more, with spoilers)

Introduction (and justification)
Reading about the The Return Of… So what are you reading? thread suddenly reminded me of one of my original reasons to quit lurkerhood. After doing a quick search I found this
thread that somehow never really got off the ground. Since I’d dearly love to hear from others, and reviving zombie threads is apparently considered not done, here is a new chance for all us newbies (and old-bies (sp?) who’ve only just finished TLF).

There we go
I assume you’ve first checked the earlier TLF-thread.

I’m one of the persons who feels somewhat disappointed with TLF. The Secret history I’ve read several times; despite its flaws it is dear to me for the warm and full portraits of its characters and its quiet humor. TLF seems to ramble more. It might be my inexperience with Southern Gothic, which she apparently wanted to emulate, but I found myself fast-reading longwinded descriptions of the environment, something I wouldn’t dream of doing with The Secret History. So, there you go.

With respect to Mr. Hand’s three questions, here is my take.

  1. Dunno for sure. I had a hunch that the rope with which Robin was hanged was somehow related to Pembertons’ remark on how to catch snakes (p. 158 in my edition, 17 pages in chapter 3, The Pool Hall). However, I’ve never been able to develop this further. Wasn’t Pemberton the one who started collecting money like mad for a monument for Robin? But this wouldn’t fit in well with his casual dismissal of the suggestion that Danny Ratliff did it: “Danny Ratliff didn’t kill Robin, any more than I did” (p. 553).
  2. This is explained on p. 543 (in my edition) by Harriets father when visiting the hospital.
  3. I’d like to hear your guesses as well. A mundane explanation is that this is an early idea that Tartt never came around to fully develop. I hope I’m wrong.