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The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair: A Novel | [Joel Dicker]

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair: A Novel

August 30, 1975: The day 15-year-old Nola Kellergan is glimpsed fleeing through the woods before she disappears; the day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence. Thirty-three years later, Marcus Goldman, a successful young novelist, visits Somerset to see his mentor, Harry Quebert, one of America’s most respected writers, and to find a cure for his writer’s block as his publisher's deadline looms.
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Publisher's Summary

The number-one internationally best-selling thriller and ingenious audiobook within an audiobook, about the disappearance of a 15-year-old New Hampshire girl and, 30 years later, a young American writer's determination to clear his mentor's name - and find the inspiration for his next best seller.

August 30, 1975: The day 15-year-old Nola Kellergan is glimpsed fleeing through the woods before she disappears; the day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence.

Thirty-three years later, Marcus Goldman, a successful young novelist, visits Somerset to see his mentor, Harry Quebert, one of America's most respected writers, and to find a cure for his writer's block as his publisher's deadline looms. But Marcus's plans are violently upended when Harry is suddenly and sensationally implicated in the cold-case murder of Nola Kellergan - whom, he admits, he had an affair with.

As the national media convicts Harry, Marcus launches his own investigation, following a trail of clues through his mentor’s books, the backwoods and isolated beaches of New Hampshire, and the hidden history of Somerset’s citizens and the man they hold most dear. To save Harry, his writing career, and eventually even himself, Marcus must answer three questions, all of which are mysteriously connected: Who killed Nola Kellergan? What happened one misty morning in Somerset in the summer of 1975? And how do you write a successful and true novel?

A global phenomenon, with sales approaching a million copies in France alone and rights sold in more than 30 countries, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is a fast-paced, tightly plotted, cinematic literary thriller and an ingenious book within a book, by a dazzling young writer.

©2014 Joel Dicker (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (121 )
5 star
 (34)
4 star
 (27)
3 star
 (29)
2 star
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1 star
 (16)
Overall
3.4 (104 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (12)
Story
3.4 (106 )
5 star
 (30)
4 star
 (24)
3 star
 (24)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (18)
Performance
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  •  
    Omie Bainbridge Island, WA, United States 07-15-14
    Omie Bainbridge Island, WA, United States 07-15-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "AN INCREDIBLY STUPID BOOK"
    Would you try another book from Joel Dicker and/or Pierce Cravens?

    I would not consider another book from either the author nor the narrator. Based on the NYT review, I gave this book a fair try, but the plot is so dumb and the characters are so absolutely unbelievable, that I just couldn't go on. It is really hard for me to imagine that anyone would have published such a ridiculous book.


    What could Joel Dicker have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The characters are ridiculous! All of them, from the fifteen-year-old to the late-twenties writer to the sixty-something author -- from the pastor-father to the chief of police -- sound like the same inarticulate teenager. How many times can an author expect his characters to say, "I love him/her SO much" without the readers gagging.


    What didn’t you like about Pierce Cravens’s performance?

    Are we just getting spoiled by the fact that so many readers now are such masters of dialog and character? Craven makes every character in this book -- young and old, male and female, educated and ignorant -- sound exactly the same -- like a slightly whiny 18-year old.


    What character would you cut from The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair?

    I think this is a weak book from beginning to end. Jenny's mother, the original owner of the cafe is particularly annoying for her implausible cruelty toward her husband and her absolute stupidity about her daughter. Seriously, who would invite friends to a big party to celebrate a daughter's relationship to someone which whom she's had a single date. You just couldn't trust anyone in this book -- they were all entirely nonsensical.


    Any additional comments?

    I had hoped for a "wry' (that's what the NYT reviewer said) light mystery to get me through some long days in the garden. I gave this a real try, but if a high school senior had turned this into me in a writing class, I'd have given it a C. And I'd have given the narrator an F.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathi 05-28-14
    Kathi 05-28-14 Member Since 2010

    Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very good--but not a blockbuster"

    This turns out to be a rather intricate story that begins innocently enough. Marcus Goldman, a young man who has struggled with self-esteem in high school so much, that he has re-invented himself to become "Marcus The Magnificent." But he gets this title (partly in his own mind) by doing things in which it is so easy to excel that he gets a lot of (undeserved) adoration from others. He vaguely feels himself to be a bit of a fraud.

    However, when, as an adult, he finds himself faced with writer's block and a huge book contract to fulfill, he has to face his own fear of failure. So he goes back to Somerset, NH to consult with his old friend and mentor, Harry Quebert. Harry is a successful author whom Marcus turns to for support and encouragement, just at the time when the body of Nora Kellergan is discovered. It turns out that when Harry was 34 and Nora 15, they had had an affair. And then she disappeared and it is only now, years later, that the case is re-opened because the body has at last been found. Buried on his property.

    This is a book that is interesting, held my attention for sure, but puzzling at some level. The story builds with a large number of suspects that grow as the story progresses, and the plot development and twists and turns--especially at the end, are probably what holds the book together.

    However, I found the contrast of characters who were often meant to be amusing (but occasionally were simply silly or unbelievable) with this murder investigation not to work as well as I would have wished. Possibly the author tried to put too much into the book--I don't know.

    What works very well, is his clever use of a "story within a story" technique, in which he has Marcus finally write the book that has eluded him, by investigating the murder of Nora, in order to free his old friend who is immediately suspected of having killed her, and then arrested. This provides lots of space for Joel Dicker to explore what it means to be a writer, the behind the scenes aspects of writing that a reader would not be privy to, and the interaction between writer and publisher. I found that part to be very interesting and unusual.

    This is a good book, and appears to have received rave reviews from everywhere. I liked it, but I didn't think it rose to the 5 star level in any category. Now that I have finished it, I find myself ironically comparing this whole work to the original "Marcus the Magnificent"--who got a lot of praise by accomplishing something rather too easily. It is surely worth the read, and others may find it more of a blockbuster than I did. But I found the writing itself pretty plain (possibly due to translation) and some of the characters were just off-putting instead of humorous (as I think the author intended). I do recommend this book--these are just my own reactions to it. The story and mystery are quite well put together and overall, despite my discomfort with some characters, was a fun read (listen).

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. William J. Kass Albuquerque, NM USA 08-09-14
    Dr. William J. Kass Albuquerque, NM USA 08-09-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "pedantic"
    Would you try another book from Joel Dicker and/or Pierce Cravens?

    No thank you.


    Has The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not the genre, just the author


    What didn’t you like about Pierce Cravens’s performance?

    the performance was fine,


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    I listened for almost 3 hours, after which I felt no interest in the characters or the outcome.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MHR 01-05-15
    MHR 01-05-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "big disappointment"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Nothing. I eventually decided it was not salvageable


    What was most disappointing about Joel Dicker’s story?

    the characters were uninteresting and one dimensional. The story line was too simplistic. The dialogue belonged in a children's book.


    What didn’t you like about Pierce Cravens’s performance?

    He read it like he thought it was a children's book.


    What character would you cut from The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair?

    If one eliminated the narrator, that would solve everything.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Antoinette Rochester, MN, United States 08-06-14
    Antoinette Rochester, MN, United States 08-06-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Incredible Letdown"

    The truth about "The Truth . . ." is that the reading of it was an extreme disappointment, especially right after listening to the beautifully written A Spy Among Friends. The Truth, etc., sounds as though it was written by a high schooler for a middle schooler's reading level (apologies to all literate high schoolers and middle schoolers out there). It turned an interesting plot and OK characters into an excruciatingly long display of dreck.

    Cravens' narration was as competent as could have been expected, given the material he had to work with. Unfortunately, his youthful voice only added to the juvenile quality of the book. His voice could be used to better advantage narrating well written young adult novels.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Jewett 07-21-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "Beyond trite"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I suppose if someone is looking for a mindless beach book this may fit the bill


    Would you ever listen to anything by Joel Dicker again?

    No


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Pierce Cravens?

    Not sure it matters


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not one


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mynt 09-06-14
    Mynt 09-06-14

    Mynt

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    "writer w/ overly inflated sense of self worth"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    My pet peeve is writers talking about how important writers are. I was totally turned off in the first few pages where the junior writer publishes a hit book and then becomes the talk of new york, recognized on the streets, and dates supermodels. Gag me with a fork. It might get better after this but I didn't stick around to find out. Too many other good books out there.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lea Murphy Kansas City, MO 06-02-14
    Lea Murphy Kansas City, MO 06-02-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pass on this one"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I can't imagine who would enjoy this book. It was too long, too unbelievable and too, too, too tedious.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narration was tedious and droning as well as irritating.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Had this book been MUCH shorter with better, more believable, interesting narration this book could have been great. A hatchet should have been used to edit this book. It was way, way, way, way, way too long.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish I had my credit and my time back on this one. I kept hoping it would end. I didn't even care HOW it ended, I just wanted it to be over.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Boston, MA, United States 06-05-14
    Jim Boston, MA, United States 06-05-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sophomoric Claptrap"

    I foolishly decided to ignore the member reviews and see for myself. Wooden prose, implausible situations, cartoonish characters.. an effort that Dan Brown would be embarrassed about.

    Save your credits for something worthwhile. Pierce Cravens is a fine narrator but I look forward to hearing him read something that's not complete rubbish.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim 06-03-14
    Jim 06-03-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    "Run away"

    Narration makes this novel unbearable. Best seller in France, go back to France. Story is so long and tedious. Who cares about the truth about Harry, not I.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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