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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair
Described as a literary thriller, this novel has been making a lot of noise in the publishing industry. Translated into over 32 languages, the winner of three major literary awards in France and a massive success in Europe, it has now arrived in English for us to judge. To be honest, I am less interested in whether this huge book is worthy of all the plaudits heaped upon...
Published 11 months ago by S Riaz

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars false hope
i had great hopes of this book. the basic outline was promising. but unfortunately the writing does not live up to the plot. this book needs merciless editing. tje plot meanders and twists repetitively, every time resolution is near, a completely random event or discovery sets the story off in a new direction. the writing is clunky,
the exchanges betwee the two...
Published 8 months ago by Una OConnor


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars false hope, 3 July 2014
This review is from: The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair (Kindle Edition)
i had great hopes of this book. the basic outline was promising. but unfortunately the writing does not live up to the plot. this book needs merciless editing. tje plot meanders and twists repetitively, every time resolution is near, a completely random event or discovery sets the story off in a new direction. the writing is clunky,
the exchanges betwee the two main characters frankly unbelievable. the "wisdom" relayed from senior to junior writer is cliched and uninspiring. i got the sense that there was an attempt to pose these comments as some kind of meta-commentary on the story as it unfolded, trying something clever but failing because the writing is just so bad. i read til the bitter end and was relieved when that end came. there are intriguing ideas about storytelling and authorship here, but they need a more elegant wordsmith to do them justice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The single worst book I've ever read, 28 Jan. 2015
First things first: this is a truly terrible book. It's so bad, there were times during the reading of it that I almost convinced myself it was done on purpose. That the ludicrous plot, the abysmal stereotypical characters, the nonsensical and, frankly, insulting dialogue, and the twists and turns as the story ambled to its long overdue close, were constructs of a writer who was trying to pastiche all of those things.

However, this is not the case. It's just a really bad story, written really badly, and chock-full of cliches, eye-rolling 'twists' and a cowardly central conceit that the author glosses over.

The main character, Marcus, is a complete wanker and Harry Quebert is a predatory paedophile who takes advantage of an abused 15 year old girl with serious mental health issues. When you start from there you'd think the only way is up in terms of characterisation, but there isn't a single person in the book who is just normal or decent.

They're all cheats, liars, thieves, burglars, rapists, paedophiles, druggies, murderers, mendacious thugs or just downright corrupt. The attempts to gloss over the child abuse aspects of the book by presenting it as an 'affair' or 'love' are just reprehensible. There's not much worse in life than children being set upon by sexual predators who we're then asked to feel sympathy for because they've convinced themselves what they're doing is a romance for the ages.

Well, I say that, but there are some things worse: this book being one of them.

I've read hundreds and thousands of books in my life. Some very good, some very bad, but this is by far the worst. I'm at an age where if a book is as bad as this then I put it down, but this was so astonishingly woeful I had to keep going to the end.

I'm sorry that I did. I'm sorry I read it at all. I'm sorry that this book has been a success instead of something well written by a decent author, and I'm sorry that all the people involved in the creation of this heap of unadulterated tripe haven't been shot into space because it's the very least they deserve.

It pains me that I have to even give it one star. If I could give it anything at all it would be a terminal illness. Avoid this book like you'd avoid French kissing a hobo with mouth ulcers and pus-ridden gums.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't do it, 23 July 2014
By 
Jane Smith - See all my reviews
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This was our book club choice and I don't like thrillers. But I really should not have worried as there were no features of the traditional thriller - complicated plots encumbered with a myriad of possible suspects, interspersed with violent scenes of graphic intensity. Just the same far-retched (that should be far fetched or maybe not) unbelievable story, repeated so many times that I lost count - the author actually bullet pointed the events twice which I found deeply insulting. The writing is clumsy and uses many literary references to try to prove its credentials. Never again Joel Dicker.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the hype!, 20 July 2014
By 
I have just finished reading The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker ... and really wish I hadn't. For some utterly unfathomable reason it's a best-selling sensation across Europe with over 2 million sales, all of which goes to show how important effective marketing can be because I was sucked into it like everyone else. It's unspeakably awful ... and over 600 pages long just to rub salt into the wound. An editor worthy of the name would have cut at least 150 pages of extraneous, repetitive material and another 150 pages of the sort of sickly, gloopy dialogue which would leave the average lovesick teenager vomiting into the kitchen sink. The sole reason for continuing, apart from sheer masochistic determination to see it through, is a plot which is intriguing enough in the early stages and promises a great deal, only to dissolve into a series of ridiculous coincidences and utterly implausible interventions that defy all logic. It's as if the author has overdosed on the mantra that you should always have a late twist, a sting in the tail that takes the reader by surprise. The last 50 pages here are staggering - one of the characters actually says 'I don't believe it' and I can't possibly be the only person tempted to scream 'you're not the only one'. This has been the most sickening waste of valuable reading time. Utter rubbish. All hype and zero substance.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I thought the premise was good: a successful author struggling with his second book ..., 4 July 2014
By 
Sandra Foy "Sandra" (Manchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair (Kindle Edition)
I was really looking forward to this book, I thought the premise was good: a successful author struggling with his second book comes to the rescue of his friend and mentor, Harry Quebert. Harry is accused of the murder of a 15 year old girl whom he is in love with. The body of the girl was discovered in Harry's back garden 33 years after she went missing.

Unfortunately the book did not live up to the premise. The writing is appalling. At first I thought something had maybe been lost in translation, but I don't think everything can be blamed on the translator.

There is no depth to any of the characters. You should really be shocked that a 15 year old girl has been brutally murdered and her body lost for 33 years, but because you know nothing about the girl except, 'she likes dancing on the beach and feeding seagulls', you really don't care one jot.

The dialogue is childish in the extreme. The scenes with Marcus' mother are nothing short of embarrassing and if they are meant as a joke; fail miserably.

There is a character who has been badly disfigured and instead of telling the reader that he has a speech impediment and allowing the reader to use his imagination, the author writes his speeches throughout the book phonetically. It is cringeworthy. I could not read them. Having to skim over them all just to be able to get the gist of what he was saying.

Marcus decides to investigate the murder himself, so he can clear Harry's name. The police very kindly let him get on with it. Giving him access to all kinds of evidence and in the end they join his investigation.

There are so many twists in the book that when you get to the final one you really have lost the will to live and just want the book to end.

How to sum up this book?
I did manage to finish it. Although very glad when I did. I am mystified as to how it has managed to win awards. If the author has played it for laughs then he has seriously misjudged it. The only time I laughed was on the last writers' tip, given to Marcus by Harry. It said 'a good book is a book you are sorry to finish, and that really did make me laugh.

It does have the makings of a good story and he does keep it moving although there is some repetitiveness. If you can excuse the bad writing and dialogue you may well enjoy it. It could be a good book club choice, it would certainly provoke discussion.
**
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Truth About Harry Que-BORE, 9 July 2014
Beyond disappointing, it's a crime it was ever written. I bought this much-hyped book after reading a review on a site I normally trust but, oh dear. It sounded so good, but if you want to read abysmal writing with the world's most annoying characters, this is the one for you!

There is nothing and no one to like in this sorry tale - is it just me or were all the characters as dumb as a box of rocks? I'm surprised Gahalowood managed to find his way home, let alone solve anything remotely resembling a crime. It took me so long to wade through the tedious story that by the end I couldn't care less who killed Nola. In fact, I can't even be bothered to write another word about it, my review title says it all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair, 30 April 2014
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair (Kindle Edition)
Described as a literary thriller, this novel has been making a lot of noise in the publishing industry. Translated into over 32 languages, the winner of three major literary awards in France and a massive success in Europe, it has now arrived in English for us to judge. To be honest, I am less interested in whether this huge book is worthy of all the plaudits heaped upon it and more about whether or not it is a good read. Ignore all the comparisons to Roth, et al, and think of this as more in the tradition of Donna Tartt or Marisha Pessl - it is, essentially, a great crime novel which is more character driven than the usual.

Marcus Goldman is a young author who has the world at his feet. He has a major success with his debut novel and has been enjoying life on the proceeds of that sudden fame. Now, his star is waning and his agent and publisher are clamouring for that, oh so difficult, second book... What Goldman cannot admit to is that he has the `writers' disease' and his inability to even start his second novel, let alone finish it, causes him to contact his writing mentor - respected author and professor Harry Quebert. Harry Quebert is famous for his most successful novel, "The Origin of Evil," and has treated Goldman like a son. Even now, although his young protégée has not even contacted him since his bestseller made him famous, he immediately takes Goldman's concerns seriously and invites him to his beachside house, Goose Cove, in the little town of Somerset. Goldman sets off to recuperate and, hopefully, begin writing again. However, while he is there, he makes a disturbing discovery; many years before, in 1975, Quebert was romantically involved with a fifteen year old girl called Nola Kellergan who disappeared one day, and whose return Quebert has never stopped waiting for. Back in New York, shortly afterwards, the remains of Nola Kellergan are discovered in the grounds of Goose Cove and Harry Quebert is arrested for murder. Immediately, Goldman rushes to his aid and begins to investigate what really happened thirty three years before.

Under pressure to deliver his second book, what eventually happens is that Goldman's investigation becomes his latest literary offering. This is a clever plot device, allowing the author to delve into the past and use flashbacks, while keeping the storyline on track. This is no easy matter and this book seriously has a lot of twists and turns, plot surprises and, by the end, you are hard pushed to keep track of what really happened. However, as the storyline is set in a small town, there are a limited number of suspects and, wonderfully for a novel of this sort, they all have really viable motives, so you cannot easily guess who was responsible.

The most elusive character of all is Nola herself. Daughter of the local pastor, she is certainly a girl who tends to provoke extreme reactions in people. Labelled by Goldman's publisher as, "the girl who touched the heart of America," she begins the book as the sweet schoolgirl who bewitches an author and inspires him to write his greatest work, but eventually we learn that things are not as straightforward as we first thought. As Goldman begins to strip away the layers of events surrounding her disappearance, he finds himself in danger. Someone in Somerset is still threatened by the events of the past and will do anything to stop him publishing his book. Even if he is allowed to write it, will it be enough to save Harry's reputation and his own, floundering career as an author?

This is a really enjoyable mystery and I think it should be viewed as such. Forget the hype and all the comparisons and simply enjoy the book for what it is. An interesting, intelligent and well written novel, peopled by a fascinating cast of characters - from the pastor who hides in his garage blaring out music, to the disenchanted waitress at the local diner, the henpecked husband whose wife (owner of the diner) is unbearable to the point where you wonder why nobody actually murdered her instead, the librarian who longs for fame and the wonderful Sergeant Gahalowood who joins Goldman on his mission for the truth. You will probably not be able to guess the ending, but it's a wonderfully enjoyable ride and I can easily see why this book has been such a media sensation.

Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All plot and no personality, 28 Jan. 2015
By 
Paul Carslake (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There are some good reviews in the press about this book, but overall, I was disappointed. The characters really do lack real depth (as many other reviewers here have pointed out), the dialogue sounds more like police drama screenwriting than what people actually say to each other in real life, and the book is really all about the plot - which starts off looking predictable enough, and then, about seven-eights of the way through, takes a load of unpredictable twists and turns, revealing 'the truth' right at the very end.
This last section of the book is the best bit and a real page-turner - but I ended up wishing that Mr Dicker had written this book using half as many words. About halfway through the book I was ready to give up.
The protagonist, Marcus Goldman, is depicted in the early stages of the book as a bit of an ambitious chancer, and not a particularly likeable one either. I wondered whether if Dicker had written this in the 3rd person instead of the 1st person, he could have been a little harsher, or at least mocking, or wry, with the Goldman character, and therefore connect more with us, the readers. As it was, Goldman was our guide through the whole book, but while we (eventually) got to know more about 'The Harry Quebert Affair' we didn't get to know anything interesting about Goldman.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Simply terrible, 26 Sept. 2014
If I gave a middle school grade on a writing assignment exercise, it would be a C-. And this poorly written novel received prizes? Note to author and warning to reader picking up an "American novel", there are so many inaccuracies and blatantly cheesy references to American culture that we know the author has no idea of the time or the place or bothered to put in the research. It's boring, a huge waste of time and left me insulted as an American reader wanting to have a good read. The prose is nuance-free in French and English. The translation does not save it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Smart crime and punishment, 21 July 2014
By 
Joey VanB (Cumbria England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair (Kindle Edition)
I read some of this book in the original French and some in English. As an exercise in vocabulary development of the former it could be described as useful. As a novel or creative endeavour I found it wanting. If you like your novels slick and smart as a frothy cappuccino then look no further; this is a cleverly constructed whodunit,no argument. If on the other hand you seek more substantial fare then look elsewhere.Dostoevsky this is not. It does not come close to Donna Tartt or Henning Mankel. For me it lacked any serious content or literary soul.
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