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La vérité sur l'Affaire Harry Quebert by…

La vérité sur l'Affaire Harry Quebert (edition 2012)

by Joël Dicker

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5576517,907 (3.72)13
Title:La vérité sur l'Affaire Harry Quebert
Authors:Joël Dicker
Info:DE FALLOIS (2012), Broché, 670 pages
Collections:lecture 2012, Your library
Tags:lu2012, polar, USA, XXe siècle

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The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker


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English (20)  French (13)  Spanish (9)  Dutch (7)  Italian (5)  Catalan (4)  Finnish (2)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (63)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
When I read this sentence in the Sunday Times Book Review -- “His darkly comic debut thriller (already a blockbuster in Europe!) is unimpeachably terrific.” – I not only finished the review (which glowed so brightly I needed sunglasses), but I immediately added “The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair” by Joel Dicker to my ‘must read’ list. (Did the reviewer actually read the book or simply take the week off and go by the promos?)

My first reaction (say, the first 50 pages) was “pretty good.” Half way through my opinion had dropped at least a notch. And by the end of the book I was already composing this critique which I can hardly make scathing enough.

Let’s start with the easy stuff. First, the book is too long. I read it on my Kindle and I could never quite believe how little the percent complete increased each time I put it down. (“What! I’ve been reading for an hour and I’ve only gone 3% more!”) Second, it has way too many characters. Dicker could easily have pared down the character list by half and told same story. Finally, the folksy prose is engaging for those first 50 pages. For rest of the book it just sounds childish.

The story itself is stupid. The corpse of a teenager missing more than thirty years is unearthed from Harry Quebert’s garden. Harry is an author whose fame emerged from a novel about his love affair with that very teenager. That plotline could easily lure a mystery buff. But Dicker’s own writing is so poor that he fails to convince us Harry Quebert was ever a credible writer; that the love story is believable; that the circumstances of the crime are plausible; or that the characters are authentic. By the end of the book any semblance of plot is completely drowned by ludicrous situations and absurd explanations.

Do not read this book! And if you do read this book remember that you are only doing so because you can’t believe it is as bad as all that. It is! ( )
1 vote refice | Aug 8, 2014 |
Easy read, gripping with a good twist at the end. ( )
  PaulaCheg | Aug 2, 2014 |
Some of the characters -- particularly the women -- felt like caricatures. But I still enjoyed this campy mystery. ( )
  CLStern | Jul 29, 2014 |
In 1975, fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan disappears. Thirty years later, her body is found buried in famous novelist Harry Quebert’s garden. While he admits he had an illicit affair with the young girl, he denies having anything to do with her death, and claims he has been waiting all these years for her to return. Marcus Goldman, a protégé of Harry’s who is currently suffering from writer’s block and badly in need of inspiration, is determined to solve the mystery of who killed Nola and clear his mentor’s name.

This is a very clever story about two books: The book Marcus is currently writing about Harry and the ongoing murder investigation, and a fictional best-seller Harry wrote 30 years ago that was a thinly disguised version of his secret affair with Nola.

Interestingly, the original novel was written in French by a Swiss author, but is set in the US – in a small town in New Hampshire. While there are a few awkward sentences and odd word choices from the translation, it was not disruptive to the flow of the story. There are lots of short sentences and some choppiness, but it reads fine, like a ‘bestseller’.

The plot is at times convoluted, there are lots of twists and turns, many characters, and an occasionally unreliable narrator, but in the end, a satisfying conclusion. The style of this novel is a little different than what I usually think of in a mystery, but nonetheless, I enjoyed it a lot. Despite the complexity, I had no trouble following the story, which was a concern when I decided to listen to the audiobook.

Audio Production:
The narration was performed by Pierce Cravens. This was my first experience with his narration and I was happy with his performance. With a large cast of characters to keep track of, he was able to create enough variation in voice and tone to keep me alert to changes in who was speaking.

While I found the listening level to be of average difficulty, I rated it intermediate to difficult because of the complexity. I wouldn’t recommend this as a choice for new listeners. Experienced listeners should be able to keep the books, plots and characters clear with a little extra attention.

I listened to much of this book while gardening and trimming hedges. Since gardening is second nature to me, I could devote my full attention to the story. This is the type of book that works well if one can listen in large chunks of time rather than short intervals. ( )
  UnderMyAppleTree | Jul 24, 2014 |
Marcus Goldman is a writer who studied under the tutelage of a world renowned, award-winning author, Harry Quebert. When he finds, after his huge first unexpected success, that at the age of 28 he can no longer seem to write and is faced with writer’s block, he is devastated. He suddenly remembers his old friend and mentor Harry Quebert, the man who made him believe in himself. He had pretty much abandoned him when he gained fame, but now, after a long absence in his life, he calls him and is graciously welcomed back and invited to stay at Harry’s bucolic home in New Hampshire until he regains his momentum.
The story travels in many directions. Marcus is given advice by Harry. He begins to box again with his old friend, teacher and surrogate father, as they used to do in his college days. Even so, he cannot relax and write. Ensconced in this perfect setting, there is still no inspiration. Badgered by his publisher with threats of a law suit, if he doesn’t produce a book by his deadline, he resigns himself to the fact that he is no longer a writer. While rudely and clandestinely searching through papers in Harry’s home, hoping to find the initial notes for his renowned book so he can understand how he should begin again, he finds out that, in 1975, at the age of 34, Harry had an illicit relationship with a fifteen year old girl, Nola Kellergan, for whom, when confronted, he professes a deep, and everlasting love and a plan to run away with her which was foiled when she was murdered. He has carried a torch for her ever since, and he confesses that the book he is remembered for, “The Origins of Evil”, was written for her. After this episode, Marcus returns home, to New York.
When Harry’s landscapers uncover human bones on his property, while planting Hydrangea bushes, he is arrested for Nola Kellergan’s murder. Marcus returns, stands by his side, giving up any effort to have any book ready for his publisher, although he is faced with legal action, and he begins an investigation to prove Harry’s innocence. This will lead, ultimately, to the book he needs to write, the book which will maintain his status as a sought after writer and which will reveal all the facts, some of which would have been better left hidden. The stigma of the relationship with an underage girl will stain Harry’s reputation irreparably, even if he is innocent.
Hypocrisy, secrecy, lies, deception, emotional conflict, warnings to leave, threats against his life, psychological twists and turns will face him as he conducts his inquiry. On almost every page, in an effort to get to the bottom of this mystery, the reader will be faced with intrigue. The ending will be a total surprise in its many facets and the reader will be caught in the grip of this engaging crime novel filled with advice for writers, advice for the lovelorn and the lonely, and an exploration of the “origin of evil” in all of its costumes, mental and physical. There is no end to the artifice and cover-ups of those involved in this double murder mystery. Nothing is as it seems.
The book works backwards as the chapters descend in order, instead of ascending as the do in a normal pattern because the book begins in 2008 and has to solve a crime committed 33 years before. As it works backward, the characters will be well developed and their behavior carefully examined. Sometimes minor characters will assume unexpected importance. There will be a bit of humor like those times when mothers try and organize the lives of their children, and there will be moments of shock and surprise. The psychology of behavior will be a key point in the discoveries made.
I wonder if anyone will guess the ending, but I truly doubt it, so please, do yourselves a favor, don’t cheat, don’t read the last pages first, sit back and relax and enjoy a page turner of a novel with many twists and turns that will take you on a thought-provoking trip as the murders are investigated. The reader will be left wondering about what man is capable of when fear is governing behavior, when terrible mistakes are made and accidents happen that cannot be reversed, when facts are misunderstood, and misdirected intentionally, They will discover that even those that are not truly evil can commit a crime of passion, that seemingly honest, moral people will allow innocent people to suffer for their sins, that hypocrisy rules over honor, and that conclusions are drawn from circumstantial evidence, jumped to without investigating all the facts once madness and mayhem enter the picture.
The drawback of the book is that although it is engaging, it is not entirely credible at times. When the book ends, the reader may sit back and ponder all of the twists and turns and wonder about the conspiracy that developed to protect those who were guilty. The reader will have to go back over the book, will have to recreate the scenes and revisit each character before it will all fall into place. Take this book on vacation, on an airplane, into the tub for a relaxing bath, but don’t take it too seriously!
Although not all critics liked this book, I found it a fast-paced thriller even if it isn’t literature! If you are looking for rocket science, don’t read it, if you are looking for a good mystery that will capture you from page one, even in its hokeyness, then enjoy the read. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Jul 23, 2014 |
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Marcus Goldman, a successful young novelist, visits Somerset to see his mentor, Harry Quebert, one of the country's most respected writers, and to find a cure for his writer's block as his publisher's deadline looms. But Marcus's plans are violently upended when Harry is suddenly and sensationally implicated in the cold-case murder of Nola Kellergan.… (more)

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