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Le Livre des Balti

Estykseen noussut Joël Dicker palaa uudessa kirjassaan kirjailija Marcus Goldmanin nuoruuteen Poikaiässä Marcus ihailee suuresti rikkaita serkkujaan Baltin sukuhaaran Goldmaneja Baltissa ja perheen kesäasunno. I loved The Truth about the Harry uebert Affair and I was delighted to read the seuel Author Marcus Goldman is about to start writing his new book and has relocated to Boca Raton Florida Florida reminds him of his Uncle Saul who lived there when he was older and a chance meeting with his ex lover Alexandra brings back memories of his youth and his cousins the Balti Goldmans While his new neighbour the elderly Leonard Horowitz berates him for not getting down to work Marcus spends his time recalling the past and tries to piece together what happened so many years before This book goes back and forwards in time taking us from 1960 to 2004 It is the story of three cousins Marcus Hillel and Woodrow Finn Hillel is the son of Marcus s Uncle Saul and Aunt Anita and Woodrow Woody is a young boy they adopt Throughout his childhood these Balti Goldmans seem to define success and happiness to Marcus They live in a beautiful house with a holiday home at the Hamptons and are wealthy attractive and exude happiness and success Marcus delights in staying with them while on his return home everything seems slightly dull and tainted His father is not as self assured as Uncle Saul his mother not uite as attractive as Aunt Anita and he envies Hillel and Woody their closenessAs the story progresses different characters enter the story including Scott Neville a school friend of Hillel and Woody and his sister Alexandra We learn of friendships relationships family arguments and sporting ambitions Along the way we know from the very beginning that there is a tragedy which unfolds Obviously I do not want to write any spoilers here but we learn of what happened slowly and some readers may find the long winding story difficult Yes this book could have been edited to be shorter but personally I really enjoyed learning about the Goldman family even if my disinterest in sport was tested to the limit Obviously Marcus gradually learns that everything he thought was so impressive and seemingly perfect as a young man could not possibly be so uncomplicated Through learning about the reality of his cousins lives he begins to come to terms with his own feelings of yearning to belong to the Balti Goldmans and to be accepted by them I liked Marcus very much and loved the way that the novel unfolded gradually to reveal the layers of complicated relationships beneath the fa ade If you enjoyed the Harry uebert Affair then you will undoubtedly enjoy this If though you have read the earlier book and found it a struggle then will probably feel the same way about this as in format if not in content it is uite similar I will certainly read anything else by this author which is translated and I am confident I will enjoy it

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Kertomus ystävyydestä rakkaudesta ja paratiisiin luikertavasta käärmeestä Dickerin varmaotteinen nuoruudenkuvaus viihdyttää jokaista lukijaaEsikoisromaanillaan Totuus Harry uebertin tapauksesta maailmanmen. When you read a translated novel you often worry if something has been lost in translation Jo l Dicker s The Truth About the Harry uebert Affair had a ridiculous story but also completely strangled prose and dialogue that no human would ever speak The Balti Boys boasts a different translator but has exactly the same problems as its predecessor Translator Alison Anderson has also translated the works of Muriel Barbery and those have read like books With sentences and dialogue and everythingThe conclusion you have to draw is that Dicker is a stylist but possibly one who has never read a book or had a conversation Possibly this other worldly aura can explain how he has managed to sell millions of books but otherwise there s no reason for this diptych to be anything but tipped into a ditch Where The Truth About the Harry uebert Affair was at least entertaining in its excesses The Balti Boys is a long and meaningless dirgeMarcus Goldman fresh off the success of his second novel stays in Florida to write his third novel After following a loose dog back to its home he finds it belongs to his old girlfriend Alexandra Neville the most celebrated female vocalist and musician in recent years The idol everyone had been waiting for for so long the woman who had revitalised the music industry The chance encounter leads to two things Marcus steals the dog every day so that he has an excuse to see Alexandra and reflects on growing up with his cousins the Balti Goldmans The book defines itself in temporal relation to what is ominously called the Tragedy Unlike Harry uebert Marcus has no pressure from his awful publisher or agent who still gets a page long diatribe about the pull of television and movies dictating to people what to do and the line I called her agent and I said hey you get rid of that fat sow and get out of here This is a film set not a pig farm or mother dialled back from the shrewish New Jersey Jewish stereotype she used to be and no reason to write a bookNot that an author needs a reason but Marcus has literally no drive across the book and no real character arc In flashback format Marcus is a passive observer of his frankly horrible cousins Hillel and the semi adoptive Woody It would be wrong to say that pages upon pages are devoted to talking about how good the Balti Goldmans are because that is actually the majority of the novel Hillel is introduced as a snotty brat who grates against completely unbelievable authority figures a private school headmaster who thinks children shouldn t know the word fascist a high school principal who declares Steinbeck s work to be a vulgar blasphemous heap of slang and only has three friends the third being Scott a football obsessed invalid with advanced cystic fibrosis who sets up what would have been one of the stupidest moments in the book if Dicker didn t eventually layer them on in such an incredible avalanche that they overwhelm and envelop the readerAs each character gets older they don t become less likeable but they do demonstrate increasingly bad judgement To make a list of every incredible in the literal sense of the word moment in The Balti Boys would run 459 pages because there is something on every page that defies both analysis and common sense There s a point where The Balti Boys stops being charming in its buffoonery and becomes openly irritating By the time you reach the Tragedy one of the most avoidable in literary history you may want to throw your book across the room The whole book builds up to it and it is something so stilted and foolish that the already thin scaffolding that supported it collapses entirely Dicker has strange ideas about human nature the endurance of childhood crushes into adulthood and what constitutes reasonable behaviour The only motivation that he ascribes to anyone is jealousy and it clogs up the back half of the story It s a simple emotion but the things that the Balti Goldmans do for it are so far beyond what anyone in real life or in basically any other book would ever do The Balti Boys features a pointless support cast including the improbably named Sycomorus a young black man who worked at the supermarket he was as tall as a mountain and gentle as a lamb who promises his father he won t ever become gay and then disappears for several hundred pages and Marcus nosy next door neighbour who constantly criticises Marcus work ethic they don t add atmosphere or further the plot and are dead on the pageOne may have gathered from the copious uotes littered throughout this review that The Balti Boys is not a masterwork of prose Having a bad story is enough of a stumbling block but having sentences that need to be read several times to be parsed is a major failing The book is so long and so overstuffed with pointless dead ends that eventually it s hard to laugh at non seuiturs like That s life old elephants die and the lions eat their corpses Rather than whatever the Swiss euivalent of Stockholm Syndrome is you just want to be done with The Balti Boys If you want to give up on it even if you re the sort never to give up on books you would be entirely forgiven The Balti Boys is a complete mess Without a single naturally composed sentence or credible character in its 460 pages that read like at least 200 it will be interesting to see whether it properly takes on the English reading book world One gets the impression that The Truth About The Harry uebert Affair didn t uite do the business that was anticipated for what was at the time the biggest acuisition in Penguin Books history The Balti Boys is worse in every way and might be enough to sink Dicker in English Audiences are now uite used to reading novels in translation but if a book was never good to begin with there s not much to be done about it Special note apart from having a general desire to finish most books I felt honour bound to finish this one It actually became difficult to reach the end whereas normally even if I m not liking something it s just one word after the next Dicker s words never come in logical seuence and they re like a burden on the soulSometimes you ve got to do things sometimes you ve got to exorcise demons Whether that s by writing a dubious fictional best seller or simply by writing a lengthy review you do it

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Lla vietetyt ajat kangastelevat kultaisina hänen mielessään Mutta kaikki ei ollut kultaa mikä kiiltää ja nyt Marcus palaa nuoruuteensa ja kysyy mitä todella tapahtui Mikä johti Draamaan joka tuhosi kaiken. In books people who are no longer with us can meet again and embrace This is a long over long really book about family brotherhood love lies loyalty rivalry and secrets as seems to have become irritatingly de rigeur we have a fragmented narrative where Marcus skips between now and various moments in the past We know from the first page that his cousin Woody is going to prison and that a tragedy follows but the events are withheld until the end the narrator speaking only of The Tragedy cute or frustratingThere s so much smart writing here that it s annoying when Dicker gets it wrong the first section for example is far too drawn out for what it needs to do We get the points he s making sooner than he seems to think whether his narrator is conjuring up Proust style his childhood with his cousins or faffing around in the present with an annoying next door neighbour and re meeting his one time love That said the characters are attractive and once the boys move into adolescence and early manhood things pick up There are lots of misunderstandings that don t get cleared up till the end but also some lovely portraits of male friendship and love rivalry and brotherhood The end manages to be both moving and also melodramatic I bought it when caught up in the book but when the covers are closed it seems unconvincing and a bit over heated So a book overall which I liked rather than loved but it s interesting to have a kind of family sagacoming of age written with a masculine focus and sensibilityReview from an ARC courtesy of Vine


About the Author: Joël Dicker

Joël Dicker was born in 1985 in Geneva Switzerland where he studied law He spent childhood summers in New England particularly in Stonington and Bar Harbor Maine The Truth About the Harry uebert Affair won three French literary prizes including the Grand Prix du Roman from the Académie Française and was a finalist for the Prix Goncourt Dicker lives in Geneva



10 thoughts on “Le Livre des Balti

  1. says:

    Great book I like this writer although others seem to have reservations re the first book The Truth about the Harry uebert Affair but I loved that one too This book takes the reader through a tragic family chronicle The Balti Boys The Goldman Gang It kept me intrigued from start to finish Only remark I would make think I m

  2. says:

    When you read a translated novel you often worry if something has been lost in translation Joël Dicker’s The Truth About the Harry uebert Affair had a ridiculous story but also completely strangled prose and dialogue that no human would ever speak The Balti Boys boasts a different translator but has exactly the same problems as its predecessor Translator Alison Anderson has also translated the works of Muriel Barbery and thos

  3. says:

    The Balti Boys by Joel Dicker is his second book translated from French The first The Harry uebert Affair is one of my all time favourites So I was eager to read this one Three cousins Marcus Hillel and Woody are bound together as the Goldman Gang We live through their childhood college years and start of adulthood Hillel Woody are part of

  4. says:

    5 out of 5 stars ⭐️ OUR APRIL 2018 BOOK CLUB READ Joël Dicker did it again No one writes as he does I cried silent tears at the end of the book I am so shocked in all the good ways though What an epic book about a family tragedy and how well thought through the entire story was A true piece of literary ar

  5. says:

    I loved “The Truth about the Harry uebert Affair” and I was delighted to read the seuel Author Marcus Goldman is about to start writing his new book and has relocated to Boca Raton Florida Florida reminds him of his Uncle Saul who lived there when he was older and a chance meeting with his ex lover Alexandra brings back memories of his youth and his cousins ‘the Balti Goldmans’ While his new neighbour

  6. says:

    This book is terribly bad trust me I had to read it like I skipped over until the end just to find out what the ad nauseum TRAGEDY would be It´s so full of boring and stupid repetitions An the way this author writes most of his female characters should be addressed by his readers Seriously are they okay with all

  7. says:

    'In books people who are no longer with us can meet again and embrace'This is a long over long really book about family brotherhood love lies loyalty rivalry and secrets as seems to have become irritatingly de rigeur we have a fragm

  8. says:

    I am still under the spell of the Goldman cousins so it is going to be hard to rate this book I don't know if it is great or just average I'm not sure if I have fallen in all the writer's traps or if I was able to see them in advance I guess it is like chocolate you know it is not the healthiest thing you can eat but you try a little and its so bittersweet so milky that without realising you have eaten a whole barI enjoyed The Truth abou

  9. says:

    This novel lives completely on the shadow of “The truth of the Harry uebert affair” Plain storyline where the only action is found on the last 50 pages

  10. says:

    This is the third book by the French author and the second I've read I was a bit reluctant to read it since I hadn't liked The Truth

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