Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker

Paperback: 656 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books; First Edition edition (May 27, 2014)

The main concern when one reads pocketbooks is that one misses the action and a trove like this book. (At the same time, the bright side is that one avoids buying the latest fashionable novel, because it is fashionable and having to put up with a lame platitude which only advantage is a successful marketing...)

In the end, it took me some time to buy this book because:
- The Goncourt mention was only saved by the fact that this is the students prize (I hoped that they really were looking to reward quality) (mouahaha)
- This book is labeled novel. Well, I have a very slight tendency to only read thrillers

In the end, it took that some friends were surprised that I hadn't already read the book "it's great, really, you'll see" and I must say they were right and I do not regret at all having bet a part of my vacation in Cuba with this book (which I finally read midway throught during our journey there).

It's been awhile since I had been so pleasantly surprised by the construction of a novel. What originality! One has the impression that it goes in all directions (and this is somewhat the case with multiple changes of perspective) but this creates a dynamic and rhythm that entertains us. You'll find
boxing, writing advices, exchanges of letters, stories, action. In short, nice pieces that give a nicer whole.

So, admittedly, some criticize the love story between Nola and Harry, finding it too cutesy, others criticize the writing, finding it too simple for an Academy Award. And yes, it's true that the love story is mushy and the words of love between the two lovebirds are more reminiscent of a love story in Jane Austen than a relationship between a teenager and a thirty years old guy in 1975 but it's nice like that. Yes, the language is not that realistic but it's romantic and it brings a little old world charm to a crime fiction like no other.

As for me, I liked to know the people of this town, I would have loved going on vacation in this beach house and go out to the dinner sitting next to Harry's table. The words are simple but one thing is certain, they integrate us into the story. One is part of the inhabitants, we know them, they are our neighbors, with their faults and qualities.

And the plot is twisted at will. I thought I had discovered the culprit but it was too easy and I got fooled, then I found another culprit, less obvious, but I was still wrong and in the end I said "well then, I did not see that coming! " And in each chapter a new fact appears, a revelation is unveiled, a mystery is cleared and every time, what I thought of Nola and Harry changed and in the end, I was completely mistaken. That too is nice in a novel: to be taken for a ride!

This novel it's the language of Jane Austen that meets a police investigation Agatha Christie-like that receives writing tips from Mohamed Ali. Brilliant cocktail, huh? This novel is a gem that should appeal to many.

The blurb

August 30, 1975: the day fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan is glimpsed fleeing through the woods, never to be heard from again; the day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence.

Thirty-three years later, 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—whom, he admits, he had an affair with. As the national media convicts Harry, Marcus launches his own investigation, following a trail of clues through his mentor’s books, the backwoods and isolated beaches of New Hampshire, and the hidden history of Somerset’s citizens and the man they hold most dear. To save Harry, his own writing career, and eventually even himself, Marcus must answer three questions, all of which are mysteriously connected: Who killed Nola Kellergan? What happened one misty morning in Somerset in the summer of 1975? And how do you write a book to save someone’s life?

In a nutshell

A real gem this book! It deserves the prize and the rave reviews. I loved the writing style, the twists, the relationships between the various characters. It is a 5/5 for me!

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