Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

A fantastic multi layered book which simultaneously reads like a whodunnit and also as a guide to great novel writing.

Joel Dicker's French novel translated into English is a delightful read. Marcus Goldman a one off literary sensation is struggling to write his second bestseller. He turns to his mentor Harry Quebert for help but turns out Quebert is in trouble after a girl's body, who went missing 33 years ago, is found on his property, with a manuscript of Harry's one and only literary classic. 

Goldman decides to come to his mentor's aid and starts digging around. Meanwhile, he is under pressure from his publisher who wants to cash in on the publicity and persuades him to write a book about the scandal.

As Goldman digs into the past, it paves way for his own bestseller, a book which will define him and change his relationship between him and his master forever.

The truth about Harry....works at many levels. At one level it is about the mystery of the murdered girl. But it is also about the relationship between a mentor and a protege, a guide to writing a good book, about a girl called Nola and people around her who are in one way or another connected to her disappearance, 33 years ago. Dicker links these facets and blends them quite seamlessly into his novel. 

Of course, the translation by Sam Taylor is quite good, a major plus since the book is like a tome at over 600 pages. The length of the novel can be a deterrent for it is some time before the story actually takes off. The first 150 pages really took some perseverance to stick with it. But after 350 pages or so, and I found myself making excuses to get to bed early to catch up with the story with its many twists and turns. 

Whats works:
  • Great story, plot and characters
  • Excellent narrative 
  • Neatly outlined tips to writing a great book and then illustrating it through the plot
What doesn't:
  • The length of the book. The sequence of events can be condensed a bit to make it a slicker plot.
One of the best books I have read through Goodreads. A cracking read, a marvellous story.

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