Gillian Flynn was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to two community-college professors—her mother taught reading; her father, film. Needless to say her love of books was greatly encouraged. And how many youngsters can boast of having seen Alien, Psycho and Bonnie and Clyde by the age of seven? Flynn received undergraduate degrees in English and journalism from the University of Kansas followed two years later by a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago. But it was Flynn’s ten-year stint at Entertainment Weekly magazine in New York City that set the award-winning author on the career path that was meant to be. Flynn’s 2006 debut thriller Sharp Objects was an Edgar Award finalist and became the first book ever to win two of Britain’s Dagger Awards in one year. In 2009, Flynn’s second novel, New York Times bestseller Dark Places, was Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice. But it is 2012’s #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl that has garnered countless rave reviews. Accolades such as “Ice-pick-sharp…” (Janet Maslin, New York Times), “masterful dissection of marital breakdown” (Boston Globe) and “an irresistible…thriller with a twisting plot worthy of Alfred Hithcock” (People) are just the tip of the iceberg for this “ingenious and viperfish thriller [that’s] going to make Gillian Flynn a star” (Jell Giles, Entertainment Weekly).
Flynn’s novels have been sold in 28 countries. She lives in Chicago with her husband, attorney Brett Nolan, and their son.
When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of it, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of the head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it. Like a shiny, hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil. She had what the Victorians would call a finely shaped head. You could imagine the skull quite easily.
I’d know her head anywhere.
And what’s inside it. I think of that too: her mind. Her brain, all those coils, and her thoughts shuttling through those coils like fast, frantic centipedes. Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspooling her brain and sifting through it, trying to catch and pin down her thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy? The question I’ve asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?
My eyes flipped open at exactly six a.m. This was no avian fl uttering of the lashes, no gentle blink toward consciousness. The awakening was mechanical. A spooky ventriloquist- dummy click of the lids: The world is black and then, showtime! 6- 0- 0 the clock said— in my face, first thing I saw. 6-0-0. It felt different. I rarely woke at such a rounded time. I was a man of jagged risings: 8:43, 11:51, 9:26. My life was alarmless.
At that exact moment, 6-0-0, the sun climbed over the skyline of oaks, revealing its full summer angry-god self. Its reflection flared across the river toward our house, a long, blaring finger aimed at me through our frail bedroom curtains. Accusing: You have been seen. You will be seen.
I wallowed in bed, which was our New York bed in our new house, which we still called the new house, even though we’d been back here for two years. It’s a rented house right along the Mississippi River, a house that screams Suburban Nouveau Riche, the kind of place I aspired to as a kid from my split-level, shag-carpet side of town. The kind of house that is immediately familiar: a generically grand, unchallenging, new, new, new house that my wife would—and did—detest.
“Should I remove my soul before I come inside?” Her first line upon arrival. It had been a compromise: Amy demanded we rent, not buy, in my little Missouri hometown, in her firm hope that we wouldn’t be stuck here long. But the only houses for rent were clustered in this failed development: a miniature ghost town of bank-owned, recession-busted, price-reduced mansions, a neighborhood that closed before it ever opened. It was a compromise, but Amy didn’t see it that way, not in the least.
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