The book: The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, a 600-page tome of a crime thriller that has been translated from its French original into 32 languages, is considered one of the biggest original acquisitions in the history of Penguin Books and has become a worldwide bestseller.
The author: Joël Dicker, a 28-year-old Swiss writer who found his first publisher after his first four novels were rejected.
The gist: Summer of 1975, the quaint seaside town of Somerset: Harry Quebert, a struggling author in his 30s falls in love with a 15-year-old girl; 33 years later, her body is dug up from his yard, along with a manuscript of the novel that established him as one of America’s top writers. When the news and investigators pour in, Somerset is shocked. Marcus Goldman, a young writing sensation going through writer’s block after hitting the jackpot with his debut novel, sets out to clear his mentor’s name. He deciphers the mysteries behind the disappearance and death of Nola Kellergan, unearths the secrets that the little town holds, and pens his new bestseller.
One-line review: Filled with cliffhangers, it excites and astonishes with such smooth twists that you begin to doubt your own sense of comprehension.
A tiny excerpt: “It’s a writer’s privilege, Marcus, to be able to settle his scores with his friends and enemies through the intermediary of his book. The only rule is that he must not mention them by name, because that means opening the door to lawsuits and headaches. What number have we reached on the list?”
“So this is the twenty-third rule, Marcus: Only write fiction. Anything else will just bring you trouble.”
From HT Brunch, July 27
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