The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

  • by Joel Dicker
  • Narrated by Pierce Cravens
  • 17 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.

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- Omie

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

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-27-2014
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio