Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In the Woods by Tana French

I'm a little bit embarrassed that I just now read this 10-year-old novel, but I've taken In the Woods out of the library about half a dozen times now and I could never make it passed the pretentiousness of the first paragraph. But I listened to the Overdue episode on it and Andrew and Craig rarely steer me wrong about books and they liked it, so there I was at the beginning of winter break, once more checking this book out. And there I was, still struck by the pompous, overblown, showy prose.  This critique is saying something, considering I'm in the middle of reading a Stephen King series (more on that later, I promise). 
On one hand, once I got through page 77 (seriously, I know the page number because it wasn't until page 77 that I didn't have a Post-it* on every other page), the ridiculousness of the writing somehow melted away and the book was a real page turner. Maybe I got used to the off-putting language, maybe the author used every annoying trick up her sleeve already, or maybe the editor only looked at page 75 and on, but after page 75 the book turned into a delightful little mystery. Sure, our main character was thick-headed, sexist, ageist, and kind of dumb. Sure, there was a major plot line that was absolutely unresolved at the end. Sure, there are some problems in the book.  But I enjoyed it and whiled away a few happy hours with my book and my cat on the couch.  But damn there were some up front costs.

British/Irishisms I had to look up: Marie bisuits, Mr. Whippy, Biro, Portakabins, narky, hurley stick, and bowsie.  Actual interesting things I looked up: Marie (Mary) Celeste and the playwright Ionesco.  There you have it.

*When I'm reading books, I jot down notes on Post-its for things I need to look up. Most of the time these things are words, but sometimes they're places, people, or events that it's sort of assumed the reader will know that I don't know.  I'm making more of an effort to tell you what I've looked up, but here's an example of what In the Woods looked like to give you an idea of what my library books end up looking like.

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