The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair was given to me as a gift from a Swiss friend. Interestingly, the book is written by a Swiss man who seems to have vacationed a lot in Maine during his childhood, according to the author blurb bio.

The Swiss friend said he wanted to option it for a film, and the story and characters are very film-worthy, with a weird, slight noir bent (it is a murder mystery after all.) But as a book, well, despite the page turning fuel of a whodunnit, I had some issues. Writers as main characters is not an automatic anathema, but it’s a delicate task, and hammering down smug college lessons along with literal boxing lessons rubbed me the wrong way. Also, the New England painted here seems basked in an European light. The dialog might be stale and unnatural, but in a filmic way, but it’s the class structures, love of newspapers and the like. The main character’s early obsession with success and later light nihilism pity party was an ache as well. The blowjob college sceen, in what, 1998? seemed out right stupid, along with the the possibility of expulsion. Dated.

As for the whodunnit, least likely characters[1] get implicated, some twists are seen miles away. I don’t want to waste to many brain cells on it, but I feel there’s at least a few plotholes and piss poor motivation, but the pacing works for the most part. I don’t read many straight up mysteries.

I liked how the story became a patchwork of time, though, with days being revisited and revised, and how the book’s dedication section was kept in character, a nice touch, though the main character, Marcus the Magnificent, getting that weird boxing praise on the last page seemed like a Hudson Hawk movie to me. I also liked the small look into publishing world.

Again, the book is blah, but could make a magnificent movie, worthy of Marcus himself.

[1] I did think the shrink, mentioned a handful of times, would be in on it.

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