Joël Dicker and Reading

Ever since I was a kid, when I found an author that I liked, I tended to ‘binge read’ every thing of the author that was written. I remember my first author to intrigue me thus was John Steinbeck. I did ‘binge read’ his works but I was selective, in that I did not read all of his short stories. For whatever reason, the short story is not a genre that is my favorite.

I am not even sure how I came across the name of Joël Dicker. He is Swiss, a francophone, and quite young, in his early thirties. I got a hold of one of his books, ‘Le Livre des Baltimore,’ and quickly bought his other two books.

What I almost find disconcerting in his works is that like one of his fellow writers, Marc Levy, of France (another favorite of mine), he writes about things in the United States. In some respects, I almost wanted to avoid reading his works because I want francophone culture, not the American one.

I got over that.

I love to read in English and French and I love to be able to pick up a French book that mesmerizes me and makes it hard for me to put it down. That happens with Joël Dicker, just as it happened with Marc Levy.

I am always looking for something French to read, but I have found that my French friends have not been all that helpful, or maybe I just have not asked the right people, for book suggestions. I remember reading-wise, how after our Master’s degrees, that MK and I were pretty much incapable of looking at books. Our grad school reading lists were so long and full that I had trouble even seeing a book. That did not last more than a year, however and soon I was back in books. I don’t remember where I found his name; it might have been from seeing the name in a French bookstore.

The first book I read of Joël Dicker, ‘Le Livre des Baltimore’ talks of the young man, Marcus Goldman (who also appears as the protagonist in ‘La Vérité sur l’Affaire Harry Quebert.’ He is a young man growing up in Baltimore and becomes a writer. The story line revolves around him and his cousin and a young man taken in by his cousin’s family. His cousin is wealthier and Marcus feels the pull of the money and what it brings. The current book about Harry Quebert is about Marcus Goldman coming to the aid of his beloved professor, both of them being esteemed writers, because he is accused of murder. Add into that, the murdered person was fifteen years old and a love interest of Harry Quebert. It seemed like a subject I might not read about, but I was wrong. Somehow Dicker manages to make it work.

So, I read a book by Joël Dicker and quickly purchased the other two that were available. I wondered if the second book would captivate me as much as the first, and it did. I am about half way through. Today, on Facebook, I saw that the thirty-two year old author has announced his new book, ‘La Disparition de Stephanie Mailer.’ I am thrilled.

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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