Sunday, July 17, 2011

Faithful Place

Frank Mackey is a Dublin police officer.  He has done his best to distance himself from his dysfunctional family and the memories of growing up poor in a cramped flat on the little street called Faithful Place. 

Mackey escaped from Faithful Place twenty years ago.  He and his girlfriend Rosie were to meet late one winter night and escape to England where they could get married, get good jobs and have a better life.  When she didn't turned up, Frank just never went back to Faithful Place.  An ambiguous note he found at their meeting place kindled his belief that Rosie abandoned him and made her way to England herself.

Mackey built a life as a policeman and married a beautiful woman from a much higher social class but he never got over the pain of Rosie's loss, dooming his marriage to failure.

Now, twenty years later, he gets a call that Rosie's body has been found, and he is sucked back to Faithful Place and into the heart of his family.  Family dynamics haven't changed much over the years and this story is as much about delving into those past relationships within the Mackey family and among the families on the street as it is about solving the mystery of Rosie's death.  Poor Frank Mackey is caught in the middle, trusted neither by the street, nor by the police as he doggedly pursues although not officially assigned to the case.

Faithful Place is a walloping good story and Tana French's writing is strong.  She evokes a real sense of place in Dublin and the bitter picture of a family full of bitterness and resentment.  I am definitely going to be reading more French.

Interestingly, French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi.  But she seems to set all her writing in Ireland.

1 comment:

Espana said...

The good news is that I couldn't put this book down; it's a real page-turner. The bad news: I'll probably have to wait another year, at least, for her next book. Count me a fan for life.

I won't restate the story here; others have done that. I'll comment on the actual writing: The crisp style and brilliant dialogue capture the family relationships and pitfalls thereof in an amazingly accurate and pointed way. The Irish facility with expressive language and humor makes the dialogue absolutely sparkle. The police/crime aspect of the book is secondary to the character novel. Terrific job, Ms French - can't wait for your next one!