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The Basic Eight

(4 customer reviews)


Author Daniel Handler
Rights UK & Comm. excl. Canada
ISBN 9780749013363
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In their affluent San Francisco high school, Flannery Culp’s group, the Basic Eight, are dismissed as a pretentious clique, but to Flan they are indispensable. She needs Kate, despite her incessant gossiping. She needs Gabriel, even though he has a barely requited crush on her. She needs V____, whose name has been changed to protect her wealthy family. She needs Douglas, procurer of absinthe. She needs Lily. She needs Jennifer Rose Milton, but most of all she needs Natasha – beautiful, brave Natasha, who gives her confidence and strength.


Flannery needs them all because sometimes school can get so stressful, you just want to kill someone …

What The Critics Said

‘A pitch-black comedy… The Basic Eight is both a delicious entertainment and an unsettling statement on the irrationality of adolescence’

Time Out, New Yor

‘Sharply observed and mischievous… Handler’s confident satire is not only cheeky but packed with downright lovable characters whose youthful misadventures keep the novel neatly balanced between absurdity and poignancy’

Publishers Weekly

‘A scathing satire…with a dark and completely unexpected twist’

New York Post

‘Very funny and very sharp – the biggest contribution to the high school murder genre since the movie Heathers’


Have Your Say

  1. Tom

    ‘I’m 17 and have read many books, but no book I have read can match The Basic Eight, by Daniel Handler as the most gripping, intense and moving account of a misunderstood teenager in american society. The narrative structure is clever, the characters expertly drawn, but above all the greatness of this book comes from the narration through the eyes of the witty, sarcastic, unhinged, but above all teenaged Flannery. It just completely appealed to myself as a teenager, though this wont stop older or slightly younger (not too young – you wont get important parts of the book) enjoying it.
    I had to read it almost all in one sitting as it gripped me and after reading I thought about it so much that I had to pick up some rubbish book to take my mind off The Basic Eight. The end, following the dramatic and emotional events of ‘October 31st’ ends on a sad and poetic note, the poetic descriptive qualities of which are present through Handler’s amazing authorship. It’s one of the greatest coming of age books, ranking up there with Catcher In The Rye – but in my view, better. Get this book!’

  2. a. nonymous

    ‘Not since the days of Evelyn Waugh has there been such a perfect pastiche.
    For all you fans of Donna Tartt’s ‘The Secret History’ (And I am one of them) read this as an antidote to all her classical allusionos and pretentious ponderings.’

  3. Anon

    ‘This book is highly confusing and very twisted. Having not read the Lemony Snicket series I wasn’t sure what to expect but it definately wasn’t this highly disturbing and unusual experience! I found it so perplexing that I had to take off 2 stars, but the gripping style and weird plot twists merited a good 3. I’ve read other reviews and found similar ideas, but for a 17 year old this book can be quite upsetting and disturbing so be careful!’

  4. Anonymous

    ‘I heard about and read The Basic Eight because I attended the same high school as Daniel Handler. I’m not a friend of his. He didn’t dissapoint with this book. I enjoyed The Basic Eight. I thought it was an entertaining, witty satire of the high school experience. I do wonder why he veiled names so lightly… Nevertheless, I laughed out loud several times, agreeing with DH’s oddly trivial but right-on observations such as the first-day-of-school-cover-your-books phenomenon. (Like another commenter, I missed my bus stop reading this book.) It’s also been an interesting conversation piece in light of recent events. I am looking forward very much to Daniel’s next book.,

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