” ‘In our society, Marcus, the most admired men are those who build bridges, skyscrapers, and empires. But in reality, the proudest and most admirable are those who manage to build love. Because there is no greater or more difficult undertaking.’”
Perhaps 779 pages are too many, he could have cut here and there and a great thriller would have come out anyway, yes, maybe the writing is still a bit unripe and the twists and turns are abundant but too isolated towards the end.
All reproaches that are easily found around and that made Joel Dicker the perfect alter ego of the protagonist of his novel: Marcus Goldman, a young and successful writer who finds himself trapped in the writer’s block after the first success. Reading this book was like reading several books at the same time. Not only because it is a combination of different genres – we move from entertaining prose, to the poetry of dull love, to the tragic, with a touch of journalistic style. – but also, and above all because it is an obstacle course: a tangle of truth. And a clear act of reverence to other books and characters, and despite this drawing from the past remains an original story written with a charming style that never gets dull.
‘Cherish love, Marcus. Make it your greatest conquest, your sole ambition. After men, there will be other men. After books, there will be other books. After glory, there will be other glories. After money, there will be yet more money. But after love, Marcus, after love, there is nothing but the salt from tears.’”
And having so many genres inside, it is a novel suitable for everyone, it can excite for the poignant love story, for the mystery, for the betrayed friendship, for the inspiration that does not arrive. In an interview the author stated that with this book he aimed to get on his readers the same effect that the TV series Homeland had on him (series I will talk about!):
“You watch one episode, then another, then you start doing stupid things like watching four in a row at night so you can’t work the next day … My ambition was to achieve the same result with a book”
In my opinion he succeeded, this novel with the numbering of the chapters in reverse mode (starting from 31 and opening a countdown) starts off slow, catches the reader, intrigues him with a few characters and a small problem. Then it accelerates, more and more, and introduces more and more characters and more and more conspiracies, until it makes it impossible not to finish!
Exactly as the Summer, which welcomes us kindly in its heat, and then throws us at the heat, the promises, all that we have postponed hoping that the sun would have given us the answers and then, as soon as we finally relax … it ends and brings us to the cold and the wind.
I started it in June, along with the job of animating a summer center, I read a dozen pages a day, then twenty, then fifty, then I spent one night reading it,in front of the window under the light of the pale waning moon and a salad of tuna, corn, artichokes and olives, brought down with tonic water full of ice.
Dicker always keeps the tension high, with wonders that change the point of view on the events, the characters, the relationships between people. And he does it with skilful mastery, so much so that in the end we find ourselves having consumed these 779 pages without even realizing it.
“Harry, how long does it take to write a book?” “That depends.” “On what?” “On everything.”
 From the novel.
 From the novel.