French has managed to do something quite rare with her narrator. She has got under the skin of an arrogant but appealing man as he’s forced to check his privilege... The novel is not without its flaws. While Toby and Hugo are deftly drawn, the cousins don’t have the same vitality. I was also left with a few continuity questions: Toby doesn’t get much sympathy for his brain injury. But French offers a masterclass in unreliability; the final 30 pages are unbearably dark and twisty. The Wych Elm succeeds as both an absorbing entertainment and an audacious interrogation of privilege.
...extraordinary new novel... Here’s a things-go-bad story Thomas Hardy could have written in his prime... her work — never dull to begin with — has gained a certain lively freshness... the book is lifted by French’s nervy, almost obsessive prose. To read a French novel... is to enter an O.C.D. world where madness seems very close... Is the novel perfect? Nope... The prose, as fine as it is, as dense as it is, as obsessive as it is, remains in service to the story. This is good work by a good writer. For the reader, what luck.