What I’ve been reading, № 5
Maeve Brennan is, without a doubt, a stunning writer. But The Visitor is, also without a doubt, one of the most depressing things I’ve ever read. Don’t read in winter, at night, after a breakup, before a family reunion, or, possibly, even when alone.
Seriously, it’s a beautifully written, heart-wrenching family story and well worth reading.
… which is even more depressing than The Visitor. This one was described to me as “the new Joyce” and “life-changing.” This book was amazing, no doubt. The stream-of-consciousness narrative was hard to read – this is not a beach-read, but really transformative. The book is full of insights about family, faith, and gender and delivers an emotional gut-punch. Read it, but have something light on hand for afterward.
Which is why I turned to this. It’s a detective novel, but exceptionally well written. The story is really compelling and the characters fully realized and believable. It’s written in the first person, which I usually find distracting, but I think French does a fantastic job of not making it heavy-handed. Partly this comes from the sense of humor underlying the story and the way in which French plays with detective tropes and stereotypes. It’s a hard-boiled novel in the classic tradition, but also pokes fun of that tradition. It’s a page-turner. Go read it.
This is the follow-up to In the Woods and I read it because I needed more of In the Woods, but had finished it. All the above applies here, but with the focus on a new character and a really innovative case. It’s amazing and totally unexpected. Needless to say, you’ll be seeing more of Tana French in this space. Not right away, though. I need to ration them.