Ooh, a book review, how thrilling!
Do bear with, this won’t last long and The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is the first book in ages that I actually couldn’t put down. It was a proper finish-it-at-1.30am-even-though-I-need-to-get-up-early-tomorrow job.
The premise is simple: a writer from New York travels to New Hampshire in order to prove that his friend, mentor and former university lecturer, Harry Quebert, is innocent of murdering a 15 year old girl over thirty years previously with whom he was having a love affair. Cue lots of reminiscences, local townspeople getting upset, and general thrills and spills as we follow the writer, Goldman, on his quest to free Quebert.
This, to me, is not particularly literary – I don’t think it will be nestled between Salman Rushdie and Kingsley Amis in your local Waterstones – but it is excellently written with some genuinely, as my colleague puts it, ‘shit the bed’ moments. Perhaps what is remarkable is the fact that the novel is written by a French author, Joel Dicker, in his native language and then translated. You would never know it, and that in itself is exceptionable.
One little niggle from me is that sometimes the dialogue doesn’t feel entirely natural. The 15 year old girl at the centre of the whole thing also got on my nerves from time to time. Don’t let this stop you in any from enjoying this book; it is easy to read and incredibly rewarding.
If you commute, have recently read something bad/tricky to get through, have a late summer holiday planned, or even if you can just read words on a page, then do yourself a favour and pick this up. And let me know how you get on please! Apologies in advance for anyone who hates it.
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is available in hardback from all good booksellers and also in Kindle edition