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The Wych Elm

Narrated by: Paul Nugent
Length: 22 hrs and 7 mins
4 out of 5 stars (141 ratings)
Regular price: £25.99
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Summary

For me it all goes back to that night, the dark corroded hinge between before and after, the slipped-in sheet of trick glass that tints everything on one side in its own murky colours and leaves everything on the other luminous and untouchable. 

One night changes everything for Toby. A brutal attack leaves him traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at his uncle's rambling home, the Ivy House, filled with cherished memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.

But not long after Toby's arrival, a discovery is made. A skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden. 

As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past and himself.

A spellbinding stand-alone from a literary writer who turns the crime genre inside out, The Wych Elm asks what we become, and what we're capable of, if we no longer know who we are.

©2018 Tana French (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

excellent

This is a pleasure, beautifully written, expertly plotted and narrated with great skill. I can't praise it highly enough.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Long, dull and poorly narrated.

This book needs editing. A lot of editing. So much detail, so little story. I’ve never been a huge fan of the author and this long winded, dull tome has only served to cement my feelings. The plot never gets going and although the character descriptions are penned perfectly, I just didn’t care about the people they described.

As for the narrator, I thought initially that he was being ironic doing a ‘girly’ voice for the lead’s girlfriend. But no, that’s just how he sees women clearly. Absolutely cringe inducing.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Tremendous book with a gripping storyline

Having relished in the Dublin Murder Squad series, I was intrigued to listen to a Tana French story from the other perspective.
Excellent characters, with some quite shocking twists which keep you fully engaged to the final lines.
What a brilliant author Tana French is - when is the next book out? I highly recommend this and all her books.
Tim D

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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it's very long

some good bits but overall just too long. Narrator 'put on' women's voices which was pretty grating, but was fine other than that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Can't get past the narration

Maybe one day I'll buy the physical book and read as I just couldn't get into the audiobook with the narration. Putting on a silly voice to read out texts got irritating very quickly. Unfortunately a DNF from me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Wolf
  • Cobh, Ireland
  • 23-04-19

A long long intro - but my word, it’s so worth it!

I so admired some of Tana French’s books for both style and story that I was getting impatient with the well written but long winded introduction to the ‘real storyline’’ of the Wych Elm. Afraid that ‘style’ won over story I still kept listening.
And then, when the events started taking shape and family and friends as well as detectives started interacting, the book and its story and characters started to grip me, cast the usual Tana French Spell. Life and what illusions we have of it becomes fragile, widens into an infinite space of possibilities, fears and hopes and dreams (though mostly shattered). The characters in the book all reflect in some way ourselves and Tana French understands like every real artist that the reader must be woken up to question (their own) life and what makes it so valuable and unique. The author has this gift to weave great stories and spellbinding characterisation into dense and heart-shaking fiction. This book will leave me ‘soul-shattered’ and grateful for that, for a long time. I am glad I got through the slow start!
If you liked ‘The likeness’, meet its big brother: The Wych Elm.

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Think carefully before investing your time and money

Over written, over long. Have just DNFd about two thirds of the way through. I no longer feel empathy for any of the characters and I don’t care if I never find out how this ends. I’ve read and enjoyed Tana French police procedurals before but this is a different beast and be warned before you dive in. I actually liked the narration. To be honest if it hadn’t been as good I wouldn’t have listened as far. The comparisons some have made with Barbara Vine’s psychological stories and the Secret History are, to my mind, way off. I could go on but I won’t....I’m off to find a book worth the time and money to listen to or read- which this isn’t.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Over-long and dreadful narration

This book is already long, and the narrator's irritating habit of drawing out sentences makes it even longer. I stuck with it only to reach the conclusion. I'm sure Tana French can write, but the narrator does her no favours. Self-indulgent, over-dramatic. I didn't care one jot for a single character

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Tour de force

Another incredibly well written piece from Tana French. Different from the Dublin Murder Squad, but equally compelling. I had no idea where this was going to play out right to the last half hour. The uncertain view from the protagonist’s head carries you with him in his swings between hope, anxiety and confusion, not to mention in doubt about who to trust. Narrator excellent.

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Brilliant listen

I loved this story, enriched by an amazing narrator. Can’t wait to hear more from her