If you haven't read Tana French's In the Woods and The Likeness: A Novel, then now is definitely the time to start acquainting yourself with this great author. With every new novel (and this is her third one) Tana French is showing signs of a creative growth that are nothing short of remarkable. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of her Faithful Place: A Novel and I'm happy to report that this novel will not disappoint either French's fans or her new readers who are only now discovering her work.
Tana French is one of those really gifted female writers who seems self-conscious of her literary talent. As a result, she hides her capacity to write good novels behindsthe mask of a detective novel writer. Sure enough, there is always a murder in her novels, and the main chracter is some sort of a plice officer. However, people who come to her novels in search of a straightforward murder mystery often leave disappointed. French's gift lies in writing about life, about the daily trials of being human. So if you want a murder mystery that will keep you guessing ntil the last page who the killer is, French is not your writer.
Tana French's writing is beautiful. She has a way of describing modern-day Ireland that will leave you completely enamored of this fascinating country. In my opinion, nobody creates more powerful descriptions of today's Dublin than this writer. French's sentences are always beautifully constructed, the characters are incredibly well-crafted, and the plot lines are engrossing.
The best thing about Tana French for me is her capacity to create a very unique first-person perspective in every one of her novels. Each book is narrated in a voice that is very unique and absolutely unforgettable. Faithful Place: A Novel is very different in terms of its first-person narrator from French's previous two novels. Her fans are used to this author creating very endearing, complex characters whom you cannot fail to admire. In this new novel, however, we encounter a very different kind of character. Francis Mackey is not an extremely attractive character, to say the least. He is self-involved, selfish, and often very mean. He tortures his ex-wife to punish her for moving on after their divorce, he is mean to his aging mother, and he thinks nothing of hurting his little daughter's feelings just to run off and investigate an old girlfriend's disappearance, he is a pretty lousy father, and a horrible brother to his siblings. He thinks nothing of intimidating and ssaulting witnesses, even when the witness in question is an overworked mother of three. He has been obsessed with his former girlfriend Rosie for twenty years and has never been able to get over her apparent desertion. In short, Frank is a character one is hard pressed to like.
It's is a mark of a very good writer, however, to be able to make one's readers care about the main character who is as difficult to admire as Frank Mackey. Tana French achieves that and more. The book is an absolute pleasure to read. As much as you might want to get to the solution of the mystery of Rosie's disappearance and Frank's painful relationship with his family, you will still want to linger over each beautifully written sentence.