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Book Review: Two books to read

Sue Krall/For the Steamboat Pilot & Today

“The Truth About the Henry Quebert Affair”

By Joel Dicker

ISBN: 9780143126683



This book swept across Europe grabbing everyone’s attention. Now it’s arrived in the United States, and I don’t think that I have ever read through 656 pages quicker.

This paperback original is thick but it moves along swiftly.



The story opens in August 1975, as a young woman is seen fleeing, and then never seen again. We pick up Marcus’ story years later as he struggles to write his second novel, after having a blockbuster debut and receiving a ridiculously large and quickly spent advance on his next book.

He is desperate and seeks out his mentor and former professor, Henry Quebert, who lives in the missing girl’s New Hampshire coastal town. Right then, Henry has become implicated in the girl’s disappearance, as his affair with her became known. She was only 15 years old when she vanished!

Marcus realizes that he must write a book that will save Henry’s life, since he believes that Henry did not kill her.

The problems turn the story into a real thriller and this becomes a whodunit and a book within a book.

It sounds complicated, but Dicker manages to keep the reader engaged, informed and moving. I loved this book and marveled at the French author’s knowledge of New England small-time life.

It turns out that he summered with his grandparents on the coast of New England. Those memories informed his descriptive prose into what is just a great read of a wonderful story.

“The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel”

By Gabrielle Zevin

ISBN: 9781616203214

This is an independent bookstore’s dream book! Hopefully, you will enjoy it, as well.

The story takes place on a New England island — a community and a tourist stop. (Sound familiar?) And, there is this bookstore and this bookstore owner.

We first meet A.J. Fikry, truly the grumpiest bookstore proprietor ever, as he struggles with the tragic loss of his wife, the trials of keeping a bookstore going, and his condescending attitude toward every reader who doesn’t measure up to his standards of literature.

Then a baby, a book club and a publisher’s rep enter his life and things start to look a little better.

This book tells many stories. There is an intimate look into the book business, an uncloying romance, a journey into the transitive nature of parenthood, and humor and tears.

What I loved the most were the literary references interspersed throughout, most of which kept me googling for more information, while I read. I wonder if I would have been one of those customers whom A.J. found challenging?

These books are available at the Bud Werner Memorial Library and at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore; e-books can be found at http://www.steamboatbooks.com.


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