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  • The Witch Elm

  • A Novel
  • Written by: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Paul Nugent
  • Length: 22 hrs and 7 mins
  • 3.7 out of 5 stars (167 ratings)

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The Witch Elm cover art

The Witch Elm

Written by: Tana French
Narrated by: Paul Nugent
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Publisher's Summary

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 stand-alone 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.

©2018 Tana French (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Witch Elm

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well I loved it.

I know we live in an instant gratification society and all but people saying that this book was too "slow paced" are missing the point.

The writing is wonderful and the story is beautiful, haunting and unforgettable. I loved the twisty ending but I also enjoyed the world building leading up to it.

If you are expecting one of those punchy, twist-driven modern chart-topping psychological thrillers, this may not be your thing but if you love being taken for a ride by an author who knows how to build atmosphere and characters that will stay with you, give this book a try.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Usually love Tana French....

But it was just too long! I usually love her contemplative prose, her character's reflection and development. There was just too, too much of all that.
Will await her next Dublin Murder Squad book.

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5 people found this helpful

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

Great Listen

My husband and I listened to this on a recent road trip and we both loved it. We’ve read all of Tana French’s books and this one didn’t disappoint. She’s very descriptive, which I think is the reason some have commented that it could have been shorter, but I love that about her books. It makes the characters and the story seem so real - we didn’t want it to end.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Slow, slow, slow

I couldn't finish it, it was soooooooo slow. You could easily take out half the chapters to get to the point, which after listening for 4 days I never did get to.

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3 people found this helpful

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

Slow build but another excellent French book

I can understand the criticism of some for this book. In many ways it is very different from the DMS series of before. However I still couldn't stop listening. The characters are as enthralling as ever. The build up is certainly slow but very well brought together. I'd listened to books 1/3 of the length of this and been bored long before the end.

I found it thoroughly enjoyable and a great listen

Kudos to Paul Nugent too.Whoever choose the narrators for Tana's books does an amazing job

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2 people found this helpful

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

not sure

While this is an interesting suspense novel I am not sure if I liked it or even got the point.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

French is a beautiful writer.

Toby is a frustrating protagonist, but this story has depth and beauty to it. Nugent's narration is a pleasure.

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1 person found this helpful

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

Good story but waaaay too long

The core of the story was good. But it was way longer than needed to be. There was so much descriptive text that the story got lost. The main character is exceedingly self absorbed and unlikable and it makes you get excited for the end.

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1 person found this helpful

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

Belongs in the bargain bin

Childish, contrived nonsense. I can't believe this is a best seller.
Stereotypical characters with childish thoughts, lives and relationships. Facile dialogue cliche ridden absolute rubbish.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not her best one

I read all of the Tana French novels and loved them all... But couldn't get into this one. Too long and repetitious... and the old house in the countryside reminded me too much of the Likeness...

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1 person found this helpful