Saturday, June 7, 2014

A meta-thriller for our self-reflective age (Books - The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker)

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (2014) is the American fiction debut of 28-year-old Swiss writer Joel Dicker.  Published by Penguin, who furnished my copy, it is a thriller, originally written in French.  After becoming the phenom of the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, it was translated into 68 different languages, ok maybe not 68, but probably everyone working for the U.N. could have read it, and after selling 2 million copies who knows, perhaps they have.

In The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair Marcus, a young author, is facing writer's block in trying to produce a second novel for a fast approaching deadline, after a wildly successful debut.  He goes to the small town of Somerset, New Hampshire to visit Harry Quebert, his college mentor, who is accused of the murder of a teenage girl after her body is discovered in his back yard, the original manuscript of Quebert's most successful novel buried with her. Marcus, determined to clear Quebert's name, sets about investigating the 33-year-old crime and generally making a pest of himself.  As he uncovers old secrets, he finds in them the subject for his second book.