THE WITCH ELM

by Tana French

A skull discovered in a backyard exposes a family's past. Read by Paul Nugent. 22 hours, 7 minutes unabridged.

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3 positive comments

1 neutral comments

1 negative comments

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What people are saying on Twitter (sample)

  • But I'm fucking loving Her Body and Other Parties so far, so hopefully it goes fast and I can do Alice Isn't Dead,… https://t.co/7L8W4mSY9R
  • My copy of Tana French's new book is out for delivery. Please excuse me while I lock myself in my room and read. >>… https://t.co/kiPcw6J95A
  • I am reading Tana French's latest, The Witch Elm, and thinking about how a review headline to the effect of "This b… https://t.co/7E7YgOfnwL
  • @MarianKeyes I love the build up to a new Tana French book release almost as much as I love reading the book itself… https://t.co/rZAzktyGrc
  • I loved this book so much. Best book of 2018. 😍 The Witch Elm: A Novel https://t.co/caKxuDxqb0
  • 21 positive comments

    14 neutral comments

    31 negative comments

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    What people are saying on Amazon (sample)

    • One of the worst books I have ever read. I am disappointed in myself for not putting it down after the first 100 pages. It is so long winded that I found myself skipping whole pages and not missing anything. I had read some good reviews about it and that kept me reading. But it was a boring waste of time.
    • Terrible. I loved all of Tana French's other books. I am 25% through and bored to death. Too bad those robbers didn't kill Toby in the first chapter. An idiot would have been gone from the world and this book would be over.
    • Tana French is an amazing writer. Her mysteries are well-written, interesting and engaging. She is one of my favorite authors; When I see that she has a new book about to be published, I immediately preorder it, anxiously await the novel’s release, devour it over the course of a few days, and am sorry when it is finished. Such was the case with her new novel Witch Elm with the exception that this time I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had anticipated I would.Witch Elm is long, a little over 500 pages, and unnecessarily so. A good edit could have cut out more than a hundred pages, possibly 200, which would have improved the pacing of the story. Initially there is a tremendous amount of background information, many pages of which were either unnecessary or redundant. It wasn’t until about page 200 that the story hooked me. At this point the story takes hold, but it isn’t long before it slows down again. The mysteries are engaging but again there is unnecessary, repetitive detail which doesn’t add to the story, but in fact detracts from it.Most of the characters are not likable and are unreliable, but I did love Uncle Hugo and Melissa. The family gatherings were also a nice, enjoyable touch in a fairly dark story. Although this was a well-crafted novel, I wasn’t really surprised by the conclusion. 500 pages later and I was a little bored.The chapters involving the police interviewing the family were tense, but felt real. The reader sees and feels the manipulation of the police. The author excels in this area. However, the choices that these characters made regarding their interactions with the police did not seem authentic. Who continues to have multiple conversations with the police without an attorney present when clearly they were considered suspects? Who submits to a search of their home without much protest and without contacting a family member for support? The police are walking in and out of the house as though it was their own. Additionally, there were a couple of unrealistic scenes that didn’t seem plausible.Don’t get me wrong, there is much to like here, but it takes patience.
    • Again I find myself making a first attempt at an author I’ve heard so many good things about and walking away with a meh feeling. Best known for her Dublin Murder Squad series The Witch Elm by Tana French is a standalone so it seemed the perfect opportunity to try this mystery.Toby is our main character in The Witch Elm and to be honest my first problem with the book. You see, Toby and his happy go lucky attitude came off as a bit of a jerk to me so it’s hard to connect with a character that annoys you, sure things were great for him but he seemed to not care about anyone but himself.So anyway, the whole story is lucky Toby finds himself thinking all things will continue to go his way until he ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time where two burglars beat Toby within an inch of his life. This scare is something Toby has trouble dealing with so he returns to his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. This is where a skull is found at a witch elm which opens a box of secrets to be uncovered.Now, besides not particularly liking the main character in this story the book also had my next biggest mood killer of incredibly slow pacing. It takes forever to get to the mystery side of the story and even then it still crawled along. Now, I’m hearing this is not normal for Tana French but I can definitely say that the style of this one is not for me leaving me to rate it at 2.5 stars.I received an advance copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.
    • Self indulgent characters I can handle, but self indulgent writing of endless “ this is important” discussion is not for me. The idea of the Lucky Man is an intriguing one. Having adults rehash teenage years in front of the fire or on the terrace repeatedly is not for me. Characters seemed cast as types, but not short enough of a novel to be a moral allegory. Boring is a sad comment for a Tana French novel, but that’s how I found this one.