Joël Dicker, La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert (The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair)

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I read this rather large book quite quickly… Bought it on a Wednesday night and finished on the following Tuesday. Like many other reviewers have said, it is overly long with some repetitive parts although it did hold my interest throughout. It not great literature by any stretch of the imagination, but still good fun on a hot, muggy summer week.

I put a bunch of links below, so you can some summaries of the plot as well as other commentary which I won’t repeat here (such as how could this book get prizes…).

What I likes about the book:

  • The plot twists: you think you have answers, and oos, something else comes up, again, and again, and again.
  • The meta-discussion about novel writing.
  • A different way to say that: Reading this novel is like peeling an onion (the tearless kind though).

What I did not like:

  • The trite descriptions of infatuation, jealousy, frustration: there has to a more nuanced way to describing these human emotions.
  • Almost everyone sounds like a teenager in the book.
  • The predictability of the multiple personality disorder: funny how I did not see any comments about that in the reviews I read… Must be related to my one-time obsession with this topic (Sybil anyone?).

Someone remarked that some of the character names were a bit off-the-wall, in particular a certain police officer named Gahalowood. I saw there an obscure reference to Sir Galahad, but I might be off my rocker. Gahalowood is shown as very level-headed and fair, and he is quite helpful to the main character in his quest for the truth.

Some people have written that his was Dicker’s first novel, but it is actually his second. I am not sure I would read anything else (recurring thoughts of given how old I am and how many books I can read per year, would I chose to read more of this…).

 

References

Dicker, Joël. La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert. Éditions de Fallois/Poche, 2014 [2012].

 

http://www.npr.org/2014/06/28/325889734/sorry-europe-quebert-affair-plot-thrills-but-prose-lacks-substance

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20818810,00.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/book-review-the-truth-about-the-harry-quebert-affair-by-jel-dicker-trs-by-sam-taylor-9345092.html

http://www.slate.fr/culture/64971/joel-dicker-goncourt-lyceens

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2014/06/francophone-hit-american-letdown.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galahad

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4 responses »

  1. I have heard so many thoughts about this book….unfortunately any readers as MarinaSofia and yourself…..were disappointed. I will put this book on the shelf “long and over-hyped books”. Thank you for your insight!

  2. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I too read it in French after all the fuss that was made over it last year. I found it second-hand at a Vide Grenier and the lady who sold it to me shrugged when I asked her how it was and said: ‘Nothing to write home about.’ And yes, it was a bit of a let-down. OK to read, some clever moments and the novelist thing is usually an element I like (don’t all writers?), but it felt overly long, rather repetitive and full of clichés.

  3. I am interested to read your review of this book . It has had so much hype here !!! I read it when it first came out as I bought it in France ( it had just won a prize) and like you I read it in French.
    I totally agree with your review , yes it was an ok thriller type read …..quite clever in parts but I really cannot understand all the fuss about it ! !

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