July 26, 2017

‘Faithful Place’ by Tana French

Jennifer Petty Mann grew up in New York City, moved to London, England, then back to Boston, and is now happily ensconced on the EightMile river in Lyme with three little ones.  A former teacher, window dresser for Saks, and designer, she is taking her love of books to the proverbial “street.” 

I really am getting behind here!  I have a few books you’d love, but as I just closed this one I’ll get to it first.  Good book.  Dark and clever.  Both in equal parts really, which makes for a good mystery detective, personal thriller, angst-ridden-type book.

You really can’t go home again, or really shouldn’t, as undercover detective Frank Mackey discovers. Well, first he discovers the suitcase and subsequently the  body of his long lost love.  Then he discovers that running off all those years ago was an excellent idea.

The night that he and his Rosie were to elope, she doesn’t show.  Assuming that he has been stood up, he says screw it and leaves anyway.

He becomes a police officer.  Marries, divorces and generally stays as far from Faithful Place in Dublin as he can.

His alcohol-fueled family has many, many issues and as they are seemingly unresolvable (or un-fixable), he saves himself at great cost to the other less self-reliant members of the family. Or was the cost due regardless?

It raises a good question.  Are you duty bound to attempt to save your family if it can not or will not attempt to save itself? Does familial duty (even if its guaranteed demise is self-destructive and inevitable) trump personal obligation? Saving oneself at the cost of others is unacceptable, but is it wasteful and defeatest to throw away your own potential to help people who don’t want your help?  Indeed, resent you for offering?

Frank gets deeper and deeper into a mess that is more psychological and sociological than mysterious.  I had a fair guess who dunnnit fairly early on … (Yes, I know, pat, pat on my back.)  The book goes beyond what you are expecting.

What I found most interesting is Tana French writing as Frank Mackey.  A la Memoirs of A Geisha, it is impressive for an author to pull off the other sex’s point of view.  She writes quite well as a man.  (Being a girl – one wonders how I would know this … good point, but ignore it.)

Faithful Place is interesting on many levels and, although a tad bleak, it has quite positive energy about it.  Love can close or open doors and Frank chooses to keep them open.

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