- Fizzy Thoughts: In the Woods

In the Woods

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In the Woods
Tana French
2008
429 pages

I did not like this book. (However, lots of people have liked it, and if you plan on reading this, you should really ignore this post. Really...go away.)

I started off liking it. I like the descriptive language. I liked the mystery of what happened to the narrator as a child. I liked the interaction between the narrator (Rob Ryan) and his partner Cassie (partner as in police detective partner, not partner as in relationship).

In brief, this is a mystery. Rob and Cassie are investigating the murder of a 12 year old girl. The murder occurs in the woods (gee, what a surprise) outside of Dublin, Ireland. This happens to be the same woods where two of Rob's friends disappeared when he was 12. So not only do we have a modern day murder investigation, there is also the mystery of what really happened that day Rob went into the woods with his friends. Because Rob doesn't remember what happened and no one ever figured it out.

After about 100 pages, I realized the story wasn't really going anywhere. So I started skipping over sections, and before I knew it, I was at the end. And it was still a mystery. So I thought maybe I had missed something, and I went back and skimmed some more. Then I went to Amazon and read some of the reviews, and discovered that I was not alone in wondering what the hell happened to Rob as a child.

See, I like resolution in my books. This book did not have resolution. Oh sure, the modern day mystery was solved (although I've got issues with that, too). But the whole thing about what happened in Rob's childhood, which has received so much hype, and is an issue throughout the book, is never resolved. You think it will be. It tries to happen. There are lots of possibilities, including some ancient sacrificial woo-woo stuff and mysterious sounds and what-the-hell-was-that-creature sightings. But in the end? We're left with bubkes. Squat. Nada.

And I'm not happy about that.

8 comment(s):

Tara said...

I thought for sure the childhood mystery was going to be solved, and it was moving in that direction. I was disappointed as well.

Rachael said...

Resolution is good. I tend to dislike books that don't wrap things up. Even if it's a trite, suspiciously convenient wrapped up.

Ti said...

I will be looking for a resolution as well. Maybe the resolution was implied?? I'll let you know what I think after I finish it.

I recently finished Special Topics in Calamity Physics which also turned out to be a mystery, and was also unresolved (for the most part) but the complexity of the format made me appreciate it more.

If you ever read it, don't skim.

Dar said...

lol-I just finished reading another review of someone that loved it but the way you describe it makes me want to shy away from it. I like things resolved pretty much in a sensible way when I'm done reading.

anne said...

Phew, thanks for sparing me a frustrating read! Building up some traumatic childhood experience and then not explaining it? I vote this book off the island...

softdrink said...

Tara, I'm glad I'm not alone!

Rachael, sometimes, there is something to be said for trite.

Ti, I loved Special Topics. I definitely didn't skim that one. In fact, I rarely skim. Usually, I'll just give up. But I was looking for resolution!

Dar, I've seen more positive than negative reviews of this one.

Anne, lol! The book is definitely getting booted off my island. As soon as I get to the post office...

literatehousewife said...

That just isn't right to do that. It almost makes the childhood storyline sound like nothing more than a plot device.

J.S. Peyton said...

I haven't read this one yet, but I have it on my shelf. I was going to read your post on it until you told me to go away. :) Ah well. I guess I'll come back in a month or two after I've read it to probably tell you how much I agree.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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