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The Witch Elm: A Novel by Tana French

The Witch Elm: A Novel (original 2018; edition 2018)

by Tana French (Author)

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9627613,873 (3.6)78
"A brilliant new work of suspense from "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years." (Washington Post) From the writer who "inspires cultic devotion in readers" (The New Yorker) and has been called "incandescent" by Stephen King, "absolutely mesmerizing" by Gillian Flynn, and "unputdownable" (People), comes a gripping new novel that turns a crime story inside out. Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who's dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life - he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden - and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed. A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we're capable of, when we no longer know who we are"--… (more)
Title:The Witch Elm: A Novel
Authors:Tana French (Author)
Info:Viking (2018), Edition: First Edition, 528 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Wych Elm by Tana French (2018)

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English (73)  German (2)  Piratical (1)  All languages (76)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
French is very wordy, but somehow that really helped building this mystery. The story is very atmospheric with a wonderful skew, but it lost me halfway through chapter 12. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Aug 27, 2019 |
Interesting look at the psychology of privilege. Much more abstract than French's usual murder mysteries, and I can see why the ending might have been a bit controversial ( )
  hatingongodot | Aug 12, 2019 |
The Wych Elm by Tana French 513 pages

I found this a well written murder mystery with realistic characters and an almost Gothic-in-a-modern-setting feel to it. There was an old family house; a family secret; an evil villain; a murder; and the threat of dungeons, well, prison cells.

The characters include professional, Dublin millennials, totally focused on having fun; their parents, who are well-to-do meaning the millennials are of the more privileged members of society; members (both uniformed and detectives) of An Garda Síochána (the Irish police force); a handful of less privileged members of society who would be, and are, looked down upon by the main characters; the Ivy House. The Ivy House is the family home that has been in the family for four generations. It has to be considered as a character in this tale as it is the hub of the story and is instrumental in defining the socio-economic status of the characters and their position in the privileged class.

Tana French does an excellent job of portraying the lives and attitudes of the families who have lived in the big old houses in the rich leafy suburbs that are now some of the most expensive real-estate in the country, and whose children are the fodder of the modern Millenial business world, people who believe they are indestructible and that rules and laws are for others.

I came to this book having just read two other murder mysteries, [47 Seconds] and [The Hunting Party]. As soon as I started reading [The Wych Elm] I knew I was dealing with an author whose writing skill was infinitely better than that of the authors of my earlier two reads.

I am giving this book 3.5 stars out of 5. For me a 3 represents a good book. 3.5 is praise indeed. I reserve 4 and above for books that teach me something and that I find to have interesting wordplay, or novel ideas and insights. [The Wych Elm] is a good read; it is an interesting murder mystery. I will read more books by Tana French, but I did not find myself making notes in the margin, putting comments in the back cover to remind me to go back to certain pages and reread wonderful ideas and phrases. This is the type of book I would read for a relaxing read. It is well written and entertaining and I will approach further Tana French books with that in mind. I would recommend it as a summer read. ( )
1 vote pgmcc | Aug 4, 2019 |
While Toby, the protagonist, and everyone around him are not pleasant to encounter, this book plunges you into a dark psyche that is only too familiar: the smart, confident young man who has had everything handed to him and is so certain he can control everything and everyone around him. It demonstrates what someone can do once they get the chain of events started, and yet how little they understand the potential outcomes. Life is not really a chess game. It's a depressing book, but one that rings horribly true, even if the events are over the top. If anything, that lack of realism is what allows you to keep reading and recognize the value of what French is trying to do here. ( )
1 vote PatsyMurray | Aug 3, 2019 |
This is another great Tana French work with lots of twists and turns. We have an unreliable narrator, a mystery from the past, a fascinating cast of characters, and enough red herrings to keep you guessing until the end. ( )
  DrApple | Jul 31, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
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