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The Wych Elm: The Sunday Times bestseller Kindle Edition
|Length: 517 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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The Wych Elm is her best novel yet (Erin Kelly)
Lyrical, suspenseful, unpredictable
My favourite novel of last year (Sophie Hannah)
Terrific - terrifying, amazing, and the prose is incandescent (Stephen King)
A masterpiece (John Boyne)
The finest crime writer around right now (Mail on Sunday)
One of the most compulsive psychological mysteries since Donna Tartt's The Secret History...impossible to put down (The Times)
The Wych Elm should cement French's place in the first rank of great literary novelists (Observer)
Her storytelling skills are incredible (Sarra Manning Red) --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From the Inside Flap
One night changes everything for Toby Hennessey. A brutal attack leaves him damaged and traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at his family's ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.
But not long after Toby's arrival, a discovery is made: a skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden.
As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself.
A spellbinding standalone from a literary writer who turns the crime genre inside out, The Wych Elm asks what we become, and what we're capable of, if we no longer know who we are.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B07FQLXSS4
- Publisher : Penguin (21 February 2019)
- Language : English
- File size : 1670 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 517 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 26,947 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Taking us on a journey through the childhood with adventures with their wonderful uncle to a macabre and horrid and seen. Between Toby and his cousins secrets are revealed that are astounding and quite sad, as the main victim turns out to be an old man died of cancer.
I don’t want to say too much as I would rather not spoil it for you, but it is worth a read and I will definitely read more from this author.
This book drags at first, and I was starting to think of giving up on it when an event occurred and I was hooked. By the time I finished the book I knew that the slow beginning was needed. So trust the writer - this " boring bit" becomes vital information later.
The ending should have been depressing . But by the time you get there you., like Toby, will be older and wiser. A happy ending would be far too trite for the book, and too trite for you.
This is one of those books one has to be ready to read. Don't like it now? Keep the book and try again in 5 years. If you still don't like it, wait another few years before trying again. It will be worth it.
The problem is, you can tick every box, and it’s just that.
It’s someone too conscious of writing well and ticking boxes.
This novel is largely taken up with a sequence of characters telling eachother different parts of the plot, at great length.
There was no dramatic immediacy to haul me in and make me want to follow unfolding events. Just a ‘clever’ design, dragging a hefty back story. Mainstream reviewers have predictably gone off the scale with laudatory statements, because that’s the way the industry works.
Far too much detail on the family Sunday lunches Very repetitive. Poorly written.
Top reviews from other countries
I'm posting a review of the physical book first before I read it later - see below. I'm really annoyed! I've never posted a review of a book before reading it, but I feel I have a right to in this case.
Tana French is one of my favourite authors and I'm expecting a great story. My one-star slagging off has nothing to do with her work, it's all about cost-cutting by Penguin/Viking. Back in the day, a hardback book, newly released, was a thing to admire, to hold with pride. They often smelt nice, too. But this? This looks like a re-cycled book that's already 30 years old. It's small, for a start, almost pocket-sized, and while some will find that convenient, if I wanted convenience I would have ordered it for my Kindle. No, I wanted a well-made, large hardback book and having paid top money for it on publication date I think I am entitled to that. It's what I've received on countless previous occasions.
So Tana: If you're reading this, this is not a criticism of your latest novel, which I fully expect to be a special reading experience. Thanks to Penguin-Viking however, it will be a constant distraction to hold such a cheap and nasty book. If the publishers would like to send me a decent quality copy as a replacement, I will delete this review.
I have now read the book in full, and I didn't like it at all. Characters were uninteresting such that I didn't care what happened to them one way or another. Writing style was bland and the story unengaging. The overall impression was that someone else wrote this, because it wasn't like a Tana French novel at all. I've given every other novel she has written 5 stars (I've read every single one), but this is utterly different in every way and I just hope that she returns to form next time around with the kind of work she is more than capable of. I must repeat that Tana French has been one of my most highly-rated novelists of the past decade, but it this had been my first experience of her work, I doubt that I would try again. Fortunately she has an outstanding back-catalogue and if you have yet to try any of her previous books, you're in for a treat. This one, however, is a dud.
I totally appreciated the point that French makes early on in the novel that it is easy for some people to be happy go lucky and not worry too much because they know their natural attributes/cushion of financial security (or both) will ensure that they will end up on their feet. I have commented on this myself in the past. I totally got how Toby's perspective changed once he found himself an object of pity/derision/no longer the alpha male in charge of every situation. I did feel, however, that she did hammer this point home a time too often and personally I didn't feel it was fair that Toby ending up bearing the burden of guilt that he did - sure he took his charmed life for granted - but who doesn't? and as far as I can see the majority of teenagers are pretty much self-absorbed and oblivious to what is going on in other people's lives.
The pacing of the book is a little off for me. After a tense and gripping first chapter, the whole thing slows down a lot when Toby and Melissa start living at Hugo's, and even after the grim discovery they make shortly after, the book still has long slow sections where nothing much happens. Hate to say this but at the least the police procedural format gave her books some kind of structure which is sorely missing here. The outcome of the murder plot comes far too soon (I was left looking at the amount left to go on my kindle and thinking - where do we go from here?). Well then comes another violent surprise which leads the book in quite another direction - French does her best with it, but it's a misguided plot twist, in my opinion, more like something you'd find in some dire free on KU 'thriller'.
Weirdly, I usually enjoy books with a depressing subject matter, but there needs to be something hopeful for the reader to catch hold of and the dreary pointless ending here left me feeling quite dejected (and yes I do appreciate that's a tribute to French's talent that it affected me so much). After all that gloom and doom it would have been nice to have a more hopeful ending. The rest of my comments I will put in the notes to avoid spoilers.
The plot meandered all over the place and by about half way through I just did not care who had done the deed. The big reveal at the end was nonsensical as well as the additional event! (no spoilers!)
I did not like the language used. The characters seem to all speak to each other in a far too jocular way including the police officers.
Save your money and buy something with intrigue and pace.