The book and some of the characters are such a slow burn at first and then things become so vivid and epic that I kind of can't believe it's never been a movie. In fact I wouldn't be mad if it was adapted, so long as they kept it set in the early 90s. The psychological thriller interwoven with Darren Aronofsky-type CG camp for the dream sequences and the bacchanal with Dionysus in the woods? It could be like "Kicking and Screaming" meets "Heavenly Creatures" meets "Heathers." And just this month someone fantasy-casted it on Flavorwire, with choices I mostly agree with except let's switch out Jo-Gor-Lev with Jesse Eisenberg for Richard the narrator, and maybe Wallace Shawn for Julian.
The icing on the cake was Tartt's fucking pitch-perfect satire of how ridiculous a tiny elite liberal arts college can be. It takes place in Vermont at a thinly veiled fictional Bennington called Hampden and the faculty, the drug-drenched student body, everything just rings so true. One main character wears pince-nez which of course turn out to be lensless, the way so many people at Sarah Lawrence had some affectation-by-way-of-prop like a cape or exotic pet. We used to call one kid "The Mayor" (of McCheese fame) because he tried to get all WC Fields with a top hat and cane every day.
"Hampden College, as a body, was always strangely prone to hysteria. Whether from isolation, malice, or simple boredom, people there were far more credulous and excitable than educated people are generally thought to be, and this hermetic, overheated atmosphere made it a thriving black petri dish of melodrama and distortion. I remember well, for instance, the blind animal terror which ensued when some townie set off the civil defense sirens as a joke. Someone said it was a nuclear attack; TV and radio reception, never good there in the mountains, happened to be particularly bad that night, and in the ensuing stampede for the telephones, the switchboard shorted out, plunging the school into a violent and almost unimaginable panic. Cars collided in the parking lot. People screamed, wept, gave away their possessions, huddled in small groups for comfort and warmth. Some hippies barricaded themselves in the Science Building, in the lone bomb shelter, and refused to let anyone in who didn't know the words to "Sugar Magnolia." Factions formed, leaders rose from the chaos. Though the world, in fact, was not destroyed, everyone had a marvelous time and people spoke fondly of the event for years afterward."The fact that the story takes place in this environment goes a long way in making the cultish central friendship believable enough, and lends a sort of No Exit feel to their dynamic by degrees as the book goes on. I won't say I have separation anxiety from the characters, but I'm definitely thinking about them and wondering what they're up to.
The Velvet Underground - Ocean