The Witch Elm

The Witch Elm

A Novel

eBook - 2018
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Named a New York Times Notable Book of 2018 and a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, The New York Times Book Review, Amazon, The Boston Globe, LitHub, Vulture, Slate, Elle, Vox, and Electric Literature
“Tana French’s best and most intricately nuanced novel yet.” —The New York Times
An “extraordinary” (Stephen King) and “mesmerizing” (LA Times) new standalone novel from the master of crime and suspense and author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher.

From the writer who “inspires cultic devotion in readers” (The New Yorker) and has been called “incandescent” by Stephen King, “absolutely mesmerizing” by Gillian Flynn, and “unputdownable” (People) comes a gripping new novel that turns a crime story inside out.
Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and 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, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, 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—and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.
A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

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k
kjsn
Feb 20, 2021

This story went on far too long. It could have been edited down by 100 pages and still met its mark. The ending was just that--it just ended, almost as it started. Not surprising, not interesting, just ended.

JCLHilaryS Feb 04, 2021

A stand alone novel that follows an Toby Hennessey as he struggles to figure out a murder. Overall, it was enjoyable, but the portions that were supposed to build tension and atmosphere were a little long and made reading it less enjoyable. The ending was a twist, and one that was a welcome change to the typical unreliable narrator story line.

t
tjdickey
Dec 30, 2020

Sometimes "people find out they are not who they always thought they were," and where does that leave them? How do the effects of our thoughtless actions ripple down the ages in their effect on the lives of others? Tana French's characteristic depth and intensity of characterization plays out through the generations of a family living on the boundaries of dysfunction.

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BARosen1112
Dec 12, 2020

Tana French's first non-Murder Squad novel, the mystery this time revolves around the sudden appearance of a skull found in a large hole in a 200 year old wych elm tree in the garden of the home of the protagonist's (Toby) beloved Uncle Hugo. The story is told from Toby's perspective, and as usual French gives us a mystery, (who killed the school mate of Toby and now adult cousins ) which is secondary to her in-depth psychological character study. No one writing mysteries today writes as beautifully as French, and this one is well worth your time!

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eclairemoore
Nov 26, 2020

A horrible book. No re-deeming value. Too long and could have benefited from a good editor. A downer from the beginning to the end. This was not so much a mystery but the examination of the destruction of the protagonist.

This is the second of this author’s books thatI have read and will be the last. Left a very bad taste in my mouth.

r
RubyHocker
Jul 28, 2020

I've liked a few of the author's other books but I was disappointed with this one.

It's really, really long and it's not a thriller - it's more about the interwoven lives of a family with a skull being found along the way. There are a lot of flat characters with no action and the main character is not likeable so it's tough to read through long chapters that don't push the plot further along.

With about half the details removed it might flow.

u
uncommonreader
Jul 12, 2020

A book about white privledge with its lack of empathy. The protagonist's luck runs out.

i
islandteacher27
Jun 27, 2020

Didn't like the protagonist, nor the pat discourse from the sister in the reveal.

s
sandooski
Feb 09, 2020

Wow. This is great storytelling, full of color and place, human conditions and relationships deeply rendered, suspense and unexpected twists. The tension made me anxious enough to have to put the book down a few times. I will definitely look for other books by Tana French.

v
vancouverville
Jan 31, 2020

I was hooked at the beginning, so read on to figure things out. I just about gave up a few times because of the long drawn out conversations that I suppose where there to build tension. They just made me impatient so I started skimming. The end was kind of a let down, but not surprising.

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ArapahoeMaryA Mar 13, 2019

But we’re so desperate, aren’t we, to believe that bad luck only happens to people who deserve it. People genuinely can’t take it in that someone could die of cancer without bloody well smoking.

ArapahoeStaff26 Jan 10, 2019

"...for whichever reason, growing apart or fighting or cheating or just getting old and dying, relationships don't last forever...But I was really in love with Jo. And ... I genuinely couldn't handle that." pg. 332

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JCLGraceB Oct 18, 2018

JCLGraceB thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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