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The Wych Elm: The Sunday Times bestseller…
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The Wych Elm: The Sunday Times bestseller (original 2018; edição 2019)

por French Tana (Autor)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2,6521725,581 (3.57)209
Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life: he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden. As detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.… (mais)
Membro:Patzakaib
Título:The Wych Elm: The Sunday Times bestseller
Autores:French Tana (Autor)
Informação:PENGUIN UK (2019), 528 pages
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The Witch Elm por Tana French (2018)

  1. 00
    The Scholar por Dervla McTiernan (Utilizador anónimo)
  2. 00
    The French Girl por Lexie Elliott (dmenon90)
    dmenon90: A long-buried murder victim is found in familiar site, a close-knit group of friends under suspicion, well-drawn detective character, inner workings of narrator's mind, English/Irish setting, great pacing and dialog.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 172 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I think I came to this with unfair bias. My only previous experience with French's work was The Searcher, which I read in 2022, and I enjoyed. That is more of a traditional mystery, whereas this is more of a character study/novel (it does in fact say "a novel" on the front cover)? I also think I might have been better served by the print version as I found Paul Nugent's performance in the audiobook rather overwrought.

All that said, it doesn't help that the protagonist (and the vast majority of the characters) is just not that likeable. Toby is "always lucky" we are told, and he and his buddies, Sean and Declan, are hyper-masculine clichés, steeped in bro culture that is magnified in a seemingly endless scene at a pub between the three of them. Likewise, Toby's two closest cousins, Leon and Susannah, also don't have much going for them as characters. As read by Nugent, Leon is a whiny prat with a huge chip on his shoulder. In the case of this character, there is much in his backstory that makes him more sympathetic, but we don't get to any of that until much later in the book. The only two characters who seem to have any redeeming qualities are Uncle Hugo and Melissa (although I found Nugent's voicing of her to be absolutely cloying in places--California valley girl meets Irish damsel in distress).

As far as pacing goes, I feel that I must take responsibility for the fact that I was hoping for a more traditional mystery, and I was distracted in the first hour or so of listening because I kept trying to figure out a) why no one had died yet and b) who it was going to be. Well, someone does die, but it is actually a minor plot point by the time we start to understand that this book is an attempt to investigate the darkness of the human soul. There are a LOT of very lengthy trips down memory lane -- between the guys, between the cousins--not all of them necessary, lingering on boyish pranks and other foolish behavior. And LOTS of time sitting around getting drunk and wasted. I did end up appreciating what first seems to be Toby's luck coming to an end, as it was a well-crafted diversion (but not quite a diversion).

If you are looking for a more traditional whodunnit, this is not that. French's writing is descriptive and charged, enough for me to stick with it when I started to tire of everyone whining. Uncle Hugo's freelance work is interesting, and occasionally French peppers in some interesting historical tidbits and the like. A small point, but I was a bit surprised to hear Uncle Hugo quote Virgil as an example of the ancient *Greeks* believing that the witch elm stood at the gates of Hell. Splitting hairs, perhaps, but it was implied that Virgil was Greek.

I tried to evaluate it on its own merits rather than expectations I should not have had of the book. If you are a fan of French's mysteries, just understand that this is a very different creature. If you enjoy slow plots, psychological study, and an occasional plot twist, this might very well be a great book for you! ( )
  rebcamuse | May 10, 2024 |
I enjoy French's writing style and the depth she gives her characters. This book was no exception, the characters are excellently done and she expertly builds sympathy and empathy for them. The plot is deliciously twisted and just when you think you've got the mystery solved, she throws another twist in the mix and you're left wondering how you missed it. But, and this is a huge exception, I did not like the way she resolved the conflict with her main character and I was extremely disppointed with the ending. I realize this is very subjective and another reader might disagree, but the ending left me unsatisfied and I ultimately felt she never fully resolved the Toby character. ( )
  Al-G | Mar 10, 2024 |
I am a fan of author Tana French and I look forward to reading her series, The Dublin Murder Squad so I was excited about the stand alone novel, The Witch Elm. Unfortunately it didn’t come up to the level I am used to getting from this author. The author does tend to write very long books but usually they hold my attention. In this case I thought the story was way too long and could easily have been shortened by 100 pages or more. The author went on and on with details that I didn’t feel needed to be explored at such great length. Eventually though the story took off and for me, the last third of the book was the best.

Part of the problem I had with this book was my own fault. I had high expectations and was disappointed when they weren’t met. I was expecting an exciting mystery but this book is a combination character study, family drama and mystery. Obviously the author felt that the mystery was the least important aspect and so put more time into the main character’s development and the family dynamics.

I have no quibbles with the actual writing, Tana French presents well developed characters that are believable in the situations that she places them. And while the book didn’t totally work for me as I was expecting more of a page-turner, The Witch Elm is a well done study of perception, family loyalties and how our memory serves us. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Mar 2, 2024 |
French writes captivating mysteries set in her native Ireland. Her gift for character development and sense of place, however, takes them way beyond genre. In the Witch Elm, psychological exploration overshadows the mystery; nevertheless I didn't figure it out until the very end of this (long) book. ( )
  Shepherdessbooks | Jan 29, 2024 |
Disappointed. Very disappointed. Tana French can do amazing, clever and heartbreaking things in her police procedurals. I loved 5 out of 6 books in Dublin Murder Squad series, except for the disaster that was "Broken Harbor" - imho, of course.
I am afraid this book was another such "disaster". There were flashes of brilliance, sure - passages that were almost alive (especially the parts about the good times at the Ivy House). But, but, but... The writing was not quite on the same level as the previous books. I did not much care about the mystery and its solution, nor about the characters (about Hugo - maybe), a bad sign. I figured out the whodunit part quite early - if it were a better book, it wouldn't have mattered very much. As things stood, I was bored. And the big reveal, when it came, went on and on and on and on for I don't know how many pages. Gaaah. Also, that ending: my eyebrows climbing higher and higher, me doing a facepalm "So, this what you had in mind for your characters? Really? Really!? Can I unread this?"
I need something very different AND good after this, and fast :-)
There might be a pattern to my Tana French reading, though: 3-4 great books, then something I give two stars to ;-) So at some point I will definitely read the latest novel, "The Searcher", just to see whether the pattern holds, he he. ( )
  Alexandra_book_life | Dec 15, 2023 |
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Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life: he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden. As detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

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