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The Wych Elm (2018)

by Tana French

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,0711496,282 (3.58)181
"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)
  1. 00
    The French Girl by Lexie Elliott (dmenon90)
    dmenon90: A long-buried murder victim is found in familiar site, a close-knit group of friends under suspicion, well-drawn detective character, inner workings of narrator's mind, English/Irish setting, great pacing and dialog.
  2. 00
    The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan (Anonymous user)
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» See also 181 mentions

English (146)  German (2)  Piratical (1)  All languages (149)
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
I would give it ten stars if I could. I’m now listening to the audiobook and for the second time, back to back ( )
  MandyJMorganPhD | May 8, 2022 |
I normally like Tana French books. This one, not so much. It meandered a bit too much. ( )
  Dairyqueen84 | Mar 15, 2022 |
Big caveat to my reading is that the narrator is awful and definitely affected my experience. Has some similarities to The Likeness in terms of the idyll/utopia of the Ivy House. Use of unreliable narrator is the most interesting part, more so than the crimes and solutions. I liked her exploration of what makes us us, and Toby's transformation and perspective are fascinating. ( )
  eas7788 | Jan 24, 2022 |
Tana French's "The Witch Elm" is an excellent choice for a Book Club or literature class. There are many angles to take when looking at the book: murder mystery, brain injury, wealth, coming-of-age, luck, and more.

"The Witch Elm" seems to morph, which changes its direction. I heard from an interview with Tana French that Toby gets to experience crime from all angles victim, detective, and perpetrator.

In all of this, Toby is trying to find himself. His brain injury from the beating has changed him, as many brain injuries do. He should have followed through with the counseling. He is constantly trying to get back to who he was and does not accept who he is. The reader can feel the self-hatred.

"The Witch Elm" is a brilliant book that I will read again. ( )
  nab6215 | Jan 18, 2022 |
Just kinda boring? Odd, considering her previous works. This one failed to keep the pace up or me invested in the characters. ( )
  Venarain | Jan 10, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Lord, we know what we are,
but know not what we may be.
-- William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Dedication
For Kristina
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I've always considered myself to be, basically, a lucky person.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"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"--

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