I really need to find a better way to gnaw through my books than being stuck on a plane.
Anyway after couple months I have finished The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affiair. It didn’t take me that long because it was horrible, but simply because of the other temptations of the world surrounding us.
On the surface level The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is a crime mystery. On August 30 1975 in the sweet little town of Somerset in New Hampshire Nola Kellergan, the daughter of the local preacher disappears never to be found. 33 years later her body is uncovered in the garden of the famous writer Harry Quebert, who wrote his opus magnum The Origin of Evil in summer 1975. With Nola’s body, the manuscript of said book with a dedication “goodbye, darling Nola” is found. Harry immediately gets arrested and accused of killing Nola Kellergan.
The protagonist and the focal point of the story is Marcus Goldman; a friend and a student of Harry, a writer himself who suffers from a bad case of writer’s disease after the publishing of first novel which was a great hit and put his name on the lips of everyone in the country. Once Marcus hears the news about Harry he decides to go to Somerset and find out what really happened and also to run away from the upcoming deadline of his next book, which does not have even one sentence, and so begins his adventure of trying to write a book and proving Harry’s innocence at the same time.
Writer writing a book about a writer writing a book about a writer writing a book is a little bit masturbatory in my opinion, but luckily the The Truth… did not transform into a circle-jerk about how blessed the writers are. The story is well structured, relying on a non-linear narration in a clever way and having some creative fun with its structure. Learning how this book works as a book was fun; more than once I went back to the earlier chapter not hunting for clues to the mystery but to check the structure of the story and how sentences are written to compare them to those in later chapters.
The story is interesting with its dead ends and red herrings, but it is pushed forward mostly by the ensemble of the background characters and the flashbacks to Henry’s first summer in Sommerset. Our main hero, Marcus is not all that interesting. I can describe him only as whiney. Any development that he goes through happens in the flashbacks to his youth.
My biggest problem is with the last 15% of the book (more-less) where we are being flooded by dramatic revelations after dramatic revelations. The book suddenly takes a left turn and goes to really absurd areas. I can’t help but feel that it was rushed.
Three out of five Lolitas.