This is the first time I write a review where I have no words to describe the book. Really, it is the mere truth, I read this book only in a week, a book which is over 700 pages and now I have no words to say about this book. I am discussing about the novel written by the Swiss author Joel Dicker and titled The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. The original version of the book was written in French in 2013 and later was translated into most of languages all over the world. This is the kind of book called Best seller. Indeed, the author sold millions of copies all around the world and now I am here, on this Italian literary blog without words to tell about a best seller book!
I am telling all this because that is not a bad book, but an excellent mystery novel written by a very young author. When Joel Dicker wrote this book, indeed, it was only 28 years old! Hence, you can be a successful writer also when you are young! The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair became a successful book thanks to word mouth. However, I don’t know if behind the book there is a powerful marketing strategy, but I know this is a very original book that got success thanks to a well engineered plot capable to challenge the best books written by queen of mystery Agatha Christie.
I got this book between my hands, during my latest summer holidays. I spent these holidays in a Sicilian town, Vizzini, that is the home of a famous Italian writer: Giovanni Verga. I was in the beautiful countryside of the town and a day, my brother in law, that I invited to lunch, gave me this book to read and review it! He said to me that he got the book from one of his customers, my brother in law works as a taxi driver. His customer said to him this is a beautiful and wonderful book that had to be absolutely read. I accepted this gift and started reading. From that day, I didn’t manage to stop reading.
Usually I am an avid reader, but I never found myself reading a 750 page mystery novel in a week! I believe that the secret of this novel is just the plot and a narration technique made of unexpected twists from the first to the last page. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is the story of a successful writer struck by writer’s block. To overcome the block, Marcus goes to find her former writing teacher Harry Quebert , who lives in a beautiful manor near a beautiful beach where he met in 1975 a charming teenager called Nora Kellergan. The teacher, indeed, had a love affair with Nora at that time, when he was 34 years old and Nora 15. This was, hence, a prohibited love story. Nora Kellergan missed mysteriously just in that same year: 1975. Her remains are discovered accidentally in 2008, buried in the garden of Harry Quebert! But the girl was really killed by her lover?
Marcus, the character of the book, the successful writer suffering from writers’ block, does not think so and start a personal investigation to discover the truth about The Harry Quebert Affair and the murder of the girl! From this stage, the book takes an unexpected turn which offers other unexpected twists to arrive up to the final chapter where readers will discover an likewise unexpected and untold truth about the murder of the young Nora Kellergan! I believe the book gained all this success because it was written around a main question: who killed Nora Kellergan?
Joel Dicker, in turn, was very clever to intertwine the plot with credible characters who hide their perversions behind the mask of normality. Furthermore, the fact that the victim is a teenager, who fell in love with an adult, outfitted the book with a morbid insight capable to catch any kind of reader. The book is also written around the dialogues between two writers Marcus Goldman and his writing teacher Harry Quebert. The latter, indeed, suggests to Marcus how to overcome writer’s block and write a successful book.
Every chapter contains just a little lesson of creative writing drawn from these dialogues. Seductive plot, writing lessons and excellent twists are the main ingredient of a book that will surely remain in the history of the contemporary mystery novel. And just to close my review, I want to say a sentence drawn from the dialogues of the two characters about writing. During one of these dialogues, Harry Quebert said to Marcus: “A good book, Marcus, is a book you mind to have finished! “, just as I was very sorry to have finished to read it!
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