Title: The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair
Author: Joel Dicker
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Suspense and Thriller, Literary Fiction
I thought to myself, “What could be there in this book that most people outside of the country are going absolutely crazy about it”? I mean there has to be something to it, isn’t it? I kept evading the read for the longest time, maybe because of the tome of a read that it is, but I also guarantee you that once you start reading, “The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair” by Joel Dicker, there is no way you can stop reading it.
The book is not just a literary thriller spanning from 1975 to 2008. It is more than that. I could not stop reading the book because of the writing of course, but also because how Dicker gets you so involved, that you become a part of the characters’ lives. According to me, very few books manage to do that and when a book does that to you, then you are hooked to it forever.
“The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair” is not a book which can be reread, but there are parts which the reader can go back to and find solace in them. It is about a fifteen-year old Nola, who went missing from a small town in New England in 1975. It is about Harry Quebert – a renowned writer, who had an affair with her. It is about a murder. It is about a book called, “The Origin of Evil” written by Quebert and what was the genesis of the book. It is about the people in the town and how it all was destroyed by this one incident.
The book is also about Marcus Goldman, the protégé of Quebert who comes to the town, Somerset after years again in 2008 to find out what happened to Nola and how after thirty-three years her body was found on Quebert’s land and how Goldman wants to save his mentor and clear his name.
That in short is the plot of this wondrous book. There are times in the book, when you just wonder about the profound lines, about the complexities of love and how fragile relationships are and then you are taken in by the thriller element. The writing overwhelms you in most places and you cannot believe that this is a debut. The book has garnered a lot of attention, when it was first released in French.
The translation by Sam Taylor is splendid and without a blemish. The writing takes you back and forth with ease – between 1975 and 2008 and the in-between parts when Quebert beautifully teaches Goldman how to write. Those were my favourite parts.
After I was done reading this book, the plot played on and on in my mind. I could not stop thinking about the plot and how intricately it was written by Dicker. This is one book which you must read this year. Without fail please. If it is the only book you will read this year, then let it be this one.