Gone Girl was released on June 5, 2012, and was Flynn's third novel. Gone Girl was the #1 New York Times Bestseller for eight straight weeks and spent more than one hundred weeks on the bestseller list all together. By the end of 2012, Gone Girl had sold more than two million copies. The novel was widely praised in numerous publications including the New Yorker, New York Times, Time, Publishers Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Chatelaine, People Magazine, and USA Today. However, the novel has not won any major literary awards, possibly because of its status as a mystery novel. Mysteries as a genre have not typically been treated as "serious" literature.
Gillian Flynn started writing Gone Girl after her second novel Dark Places was published. During that same time she was laid off from her day job as a culture reporter for Entertainment Weekly, a job she had held for fifteen years. Because of this experience, she began writing about the experiences of the character of Nick Dunne. Originally, Gone Girl was written from Nick’s point of view. However, as she developed the character of Amy, Flynn became more and more interested in Amy's perspective and decided to make Gone Girl a "he said – she said" story.
Flynn wrote the screenplay for David Fincher’s 2014 film adaptation of Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Pike’s performance earned her her first Academy Award nomination and Flynn’s screenplay also earned her many awards and nominations, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay.
While extremely popular, Gone Girl has also been controversial, in particular raising accusations of misogyny. Flynn has responded to those accusations by saying that she identifies as a feminist and sees the creation of complex and villainous female characters as a feminist act.