Spring, even in Southern California, provides exhilaration, variety and a great excuse to curl up with a cup of tea and read. Here’s a literary suggestion to complement a wet, cold weekend that follows a warm, mock-orange-scented week: Tana French’s three-novel cycle of crime and (not much) redemption.
With French’s luminous writing, you are in skilled hands – you’ll almost sigh with happiness taking in the first paragraphs that shift and shimmer, evoking nature and the weather, exploring depths of psychic and political pain, and providing a noir-poetic portrait of modern Dublin.
These are three interlocking but stand-alone first-person stories, each with a different cop narrator who all synthesize a lyrical, depressive Irish temperament with classic hard-boiled detective sensibilities. The newest hardback, Faithful Place, can be read independently of the other two. I voraciously consumed them in order of publication, and though I thought nothing could top In the Woods, The Likeness is my favorite by a nose (though I had to ignore a few plot holes along the way). Faithful Place, full of irresistible, ripe Dublin profanity and dysfunction, makes a close second.
In all three books, there are hints of the coming implosion of the Celtic Tiger, which happened after the last novel was written. I can’t wait to see what the next installment will bring, as French explores the Irish psyche through her unique lens of crime and punishment.
In the Woods, The Likeness and Faithful Place, by Tana French.