Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tana French: The Intriguing Irish-woman

Ok, it's been far too long since I blogged and I haven't even actually launched the damn blog yet.  Already failing.

I knew when I started writing this that I wanted to talk about Tana French's books so I figure why not today.  A few years ago I was strolling through the airport, flying from Nashville to Minneapolis, when I realized I had nothing to read.  I ended up buying her first book, In the Woods, and it's memorable both because it's a good book and also because some annoying guy chatted me up at the airport that day for hours before asking me out (who does that at an airport?!) and I didn't even get around to reading it for quite some time.  Once I did, I knew I had found a new favorite author. The book is a murder-type mystery but packs a punch.  An unsolved crime from the main character's childhood serves as a psycological backbone for the story.  An it's a doosy.  When he was playing in the woods as a young child, something happened.  No one really knows what and he can't remember.  But he came home alone with blood in his shoes and his friends have never been seen again.  I won't give away the ending, but I was disappointed.  Until I read it again and realized it's better this way.  Anywho...

Since then, she's released a second book, The Likeness, which I would probably put on my top five or six favorite books list.  Both books delve into characters who you fall in love with, in part because of their utter imperfection.  Her books are linked together through the characters but each book features someone new - someone you were introduced to in the last book but who you didn't really get to know yet.  It's a wonderful idea and leaves you wanting more.  This book is also murder mystery-esque but features a woman who's previous undercover character is found murdered.  Or something like that.  Suffice it to say that it's a great read.  And way at the end of the book there's a little gem of wisdom that goes something along the lines of, "you can't love someone who's not ready to be loved."  Nothing to do with the book (really) but come on.  Brilliantly simple.

Her third book comes out soon and is already on request from the library.  Can't wait.

The thing about Tana French is that she's goofy looking.  She's Irish - which is very evident if you've ever been to Ireland and seen the Irish people - and she looks like she writes the weird books that she does.  I want to be her friend.  I want to sit down at the pub, pull up a stool, and chat about her books over a pint of Guinness.  Maybe someday I will.  Doubt it but whatever.  Don't judge.

I guess this is where I'm supposed to give my review and say how this relates to whatever else is going on in my life.  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  Ok, here goes.  I love them both and I couldn't put them down.  The end.  Don't get caught up in the overtly Irishness of the writing - both books are police procedure driven with a little intrique, romance, and real life drama thrown into the mix but carry what I call a cloudy day effect.  They remind me of the windy, rainy, sleety, cold days I spent in Ireland last year.  There's something about them that makes me want to stand on a street corner under and awning, smoking a cigarette while I wait for the rain to let up.  They aren't easy reads exactly, but I don't always want things to come easily.  Some days the greyness is exactly what I need.  And Ms. French delivers.  Neither story ends up the way I really want them to.  Neither story gives me everything I'm looking for and in some areas gives me way too much.  But that's fricking life.

God, I'm a rambler.  This blogging idea isn't going to go anywhere, is it?  Maybe... doubt it... but maybe.

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