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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining!
The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair, by JoŽl Dicker is an international, award-winning bestseller and was the European publishing sensation of 2013, when it sold a million copies in France, and knocked Dan Brown’s “Inferno” off the top of Europe’s bestseller lists. It was published in the United States on May 27th 2014, and was one of the...
Published 4 months ago by Joanne Clancy

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15 of 16 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 ...
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...
Published 4 months ago by Sandra Foy


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly entertaining!, 16 July 2014
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This review is from: The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair (Kindle Edition)
The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair, by JoŽl Dicker is an international, award-winning bestseller and was the European publishing sensation of 2013, when it sold a million copies in France, and knocked Dan Brown’s “Inferno” off the top of Europe’s bestseller lists. It was published in the United States on May 27th 2014, and was one of the biggest original acquisitions in the history of Penguin Books.

It has been translated from the original French into 32 languages, and has been called “the cleverest, creepiest book you’ll read this year”–I wholeheartedly agreed with that statement; there were several nights when I had to stop reading because I was wondering what was lurking in the shadows! The book has been compared to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, and the television series “Twin Peaks”.

The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair kept me guessing right up to the end; anyone could have been the murderer. There are two stories running through the book: first is the murder mystery and second is the friendship between Marcus Goldman and his mentor, Harry Quebert. Harry is accused of murdering 15 year old Nola Kellergan, who has been dead for 33 years. Marcus is determined to clear Harry’s name, but he opens a literal Pandora’s box of secrets where nothing is as it seems.

The characters were well drawn, and I particularly liked the friendship between Harry and Marcus. My only quibble is that it was a little too long at 657 pages. However, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader entertained: highly recommended.
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15 of 16 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars utterly bad. Words, 29 Sep 2014
When this book was talked about on Radio 4's 'Front Row' I found the plot line intriguing and thought it sounded promising. I decided to read it in French, being bilingual, especially as some of the Amazon reviews talked about 'stilted language'. After all a lot depends on the translation.
All I can say is, I really felt sorry for the translator. This is unbelievably, utterly bad. Words, in fact, fail me. Puerile, repetitive, idiotic. I kept on till the end though and heaved a huge sigh of relief. Such a waste of time!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Honestly the worst book I have ever read., 2 Nov 2014
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This review is from: The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair (Kindle Edition)
This is the first review I have ever written. I am compelled to do so after reading the worst book I have ever read. Ever. A badly written book about a badly written book about a badly written book. Somewhere amongst all of these bad books there is a ludicrous double (or is it triple), murder plot although you'd be forgiven for forgetting this since only one of the two (or three) murders gets any attention at all. The dialogue is banal beyond belief and the relationships between characters are so shallow that you'd be forgiven for thinking it was the work of an infant.

The author makes a stab at some humour in the way he describes the relationships between the main character, his mother and his police detective "right hand man". This, however, fails miserably by not being in the slightest bit amusing, being totally out of place with the rest of the story and by relying on cringeworthy, worn out stereotypes. Perhaps he got his comedy ideas by misunderstanding a bad 1970's American sit-com.

Don't get me started on the story of the "grotesque" chauffeur, the possessed, evil, psychotic girl (who is also somehow the perfect beautiful and loving heroine), or the boring, teenaged drivel about "Marcus the Magnificent" and his blossoming relationship with his boxing partner come teacher come literary god.

In addition to being bad, this book is LONG. Notwithstanding all of it's flaws, there is simply no need for it to be this long. The story is slowly drawn out for as long as possible by everybody cunningly lying about everything over and over again. Then presumably when even the author himself has got bored almost to death of his book, he wraps it up by suddenly having everyone start to tell the truth. There is no intrigue along the way, no depth to the characters, no feeling of becoming immersed in a complex plot, no clever or inventive detective prowess and certainly no interest in who actually "done it".

I've never been one to give up on a book and I gritted my teeth and ploughed on through this. But this book has changed me. Never again will I be prepared to push on with something that is so obviously this bad, life is too short. So, at least I learned a lesson. Every cloud...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's complicated, Marcus., 15 July 2014
"It's complicated, Marcus." And it is! Until this literary detective novel runs out of suspects, the plotting is expertly handled, while the telling of the story through rapid and multiple time-shifts over a period of thirty-plus years is very clever, indeed.

It is a literary detective story in two senses. First, threaded into the story of the murders, thirty-plus years earlier, of fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan and an elderly female neighbour is an effort by the new literary star, Marcus Goldman, to cure his own writer's block by writing up his and Detective Perry Gahalowood's investigation into the Harry Quebert affair, that is, the arrest of Quebert for the two murders. Second, the investigation becomes a search for the meaning of a literary masterpiece, specifically a novel enigmatically entitled "The Origin of Evil", published by Goldman's mentor, Harry Quebert. A version of the novel is found with Nola Kellergan's corpse when it is discovered three decades later, buried in Harry's garden. The description "masterpiece" is bandied around and finally attached by Quebert to Goldman's "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair", as the student takes over from his master. These complexities of time-periods and texts are at least set primarily in one town, Somerset, New Hampshire, full of small-town characters and rivalries, with some episodes in New York City and locations in between. Also interwoven into the investigation and giving it a time-scale of deadlines and writerly pressures, is a sharp satire of the publishing industry, as Marcus' appalling publisher is determined to publish Goldman's book before the Obama election monopolises book-sales.

For all the literary dressing, "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair" is best appreciated as a detective story in the traditional sense, though given a European fascination with diners, automobiles and small-town protocols. It has, mostly, a closed location, red herrings (more than in any detective story I have read), astute plotting and skilful narrative switches, but also stereotypical "flat" characters, some of whom are quite embarrassing. There are no insights into what literary greatness might be, and certainly not in the quotations from the supposed masterpiece, "The Origin of Evil" or in the book we are reading, unless the translation is weak. Indeed, these excursions into literary appreciation are very stilted.

One definition of a literary classic is that many readers re-read it and find different insights, rather than being confirmed in their values or judgements. I might re-read "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair" but only to work out what happened in Somerset, New Hampshire, on August 30th, 1975, because I'm still not sure I quite got it, assuming that there is much to get.
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10 of 11 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 6 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair (Kindle Edition)
Interesting to see other comments on the possibility that the translation is what lets this book down. I thought the dialogue and writing in general were absolutely dreadful. Quite agree that the characters for the most part have no depth. The narrator is vapid and totally uninteresting, we're not invested in his struggles at all. I also can't bear novels where women are mere bystanders and one dimensional. Really disappointing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ... then the state of literature in France must be pretty dire. I'm told by people who have finished ..., 22 Sep 2014
By 
J. Myles (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair (Kindle Edition)
If this won two French literary prizes then the state of literature in France must be pretty dire.
I'm told by people who have finished the book that it has a good plot. Unfortunately, the dialogue is so dire, the characters so cardboard and some of the premises so ludicrous I just had to abandon it halfway through.
It really is embarrassingly bad. Enid Blyton has written more convincing stuff.
Avoid at all costs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars EXCRUCIATINGLY BAD PROSE, 27 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair (Kindle Edition)
An intriguing -- and almost TOO complex -- story line, but the writing is so poor that I had to force myself through the book, as I was curious to see how the plot would work out. Wooden, sentimental and completely unrealistic dialogue leads me to think the author must have grown up on a diet of [American-style] Mills & Boon-type stories. I have never read a book so poorly written.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the hype!, 20 July 2014
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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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