August 30, 1975: the day fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan is glimpsed fleeing through the woods, never to be heard from again; 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 the country'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 - with whom, he admits, he had an affair.
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 own 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 book to save someone's life?
A chart-topping worldwide phenomenon, with sales approaching a million copies in France alone and rights sold in more than thirty 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.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR
"Jesus, Marc, have you heard?"
"My God, turn on the TV! It's about Harry Quebert! It's Quebert!"
I put on the news. To my amazement I saw the house at Goose Cove on the screen and heard the reporter say: "It was here, in his home in Somerset, New Hampshire, that author Harry Quebert was arrested today after police discovered human remains on his property. Initial inquiries suggest this may be the body of Nola Kellergan, a local girl who at the age of fifteen disappeared from her house in August 1975 and has never been seen since." The room began spinning around me, and I collapsed onto the couch in a daze. I couldn't hear anything clearly anymorenot the TV, nor Douglas, at the other end of the line, bellowing, "Marcus? Are you there? Hello? He killed a girl? Quebert killed a girl?" In my head, everything blurred together like a bad dream.
So it was that I found out, at the same time as a...
[Spoiler warning: Don't read ahead if you don't want to know too much!]
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair offers tenterhooks, trump cards and enough suspense to keep you on perpetual high alert. Quebert reads like a motion picture and is a solid choice for those who love an intellectual thriller.
(Reviewed by Megan Shaffer).
Full Review (928 words).
A large part of the fun in reading The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is in Joel Dicker's use of red herrings. A "red herring" is a literary device that is used to keep one from reaching the correct conclusion, or to divert the reader's attention from the more important details. Quebert's plot is full of them, crafted to make each character suspect and to send the reader in a different direction at every turn. Incidentally, a MacGuffin is a particular type of red herring.
What is an actual red herring? The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines red herring as a noun that is 1: a herring cured by salting and slow smoking to a dark brown color, and 2: [from the practice of drawing a red herring across a trail to confuse hunting dogs...
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