By Tana French
PBR Book Review:This is a character driven novel that pulls the reader into the middle of a very dysfunctional Irish family. French’s descriptions of the everyday banter and interactions between these family members are powerful and easily succeed at immersing the reader in their lives and neighborhood. Frank’s father is abusive and an alcoholic, his mother is tough rather than warm and tends toward being verbally abusive. French does a good job of demonstrating the suffocating feeling of what it’s like for Frank to walk back into this mix after escaping it for 20 years. She uses dialog and realistic situations to show the family friction created by this move. It‘s interesting to compare Frank with his brother, who never left home. She also poses some tough questions on child, parent, and sibling responsibility and loyalty. There is a body and a crime but, the mystery is not what draws you into this book; the who-done-it peaks your interest, but this thread tends to meander without much suspense or tension. My main criticism is although Tana French excels at creating dialog and using it to move the plot and create wonderful intimacy with her characters; for me it was excessive at times causing the story to drag.
*Author Website: http://www.tanafrench.com/pagesus/books.htm
*Other Books by Same Author: “The Likeness”, “In The Woods”
1. How does religion appear to have influenced the families who live in Faithful Place? Why do you think Frank Mackey has rejected religion?
2. Why do you think that teenagers like Frank and Rosie-the ones who try to get away-appear to be the exception rather than the rule in the Mackeys' neighborhood?
3. Are Olivia and Jackie right or wrong to have taken Holly to visit Frank's family without his knowledge or consent? Why?
4. What meanings, ironic or otherwise, can be derived from the title Faithful Place? How do those meanings resonate through the novel?
5. Frank tells us early in the novel that he would die for his kid (p. 3). Yet there are lesser things he chooses not to do, such as being civil to her mother and shielding her from having to testify in a murder trial. How well does Frank understand his feelings toward Holly? What are his blind spots where their relationship is concerned?
6. Why does Frank become so upset over Holly's infatuation with pseudo-celebrity Celia Bailey (pp. 151-154)? Is his reaction pure, over-the-top exaggeration, or does he have a point?
7. Tana French makes extensive use of flashbacks to develop Rosie as a character and to flesh out Frank's motivations. How would the novel be different if it were narrated in a strictly chronological fashion?
8. Shay insists that he and Frank are morally no different, and Frank is outraged by the suggestion. Is Shay right?
9. Frank would appear to have every right to blame his family for much of the chaos in his life. To what extent, however, do you think his finger pointing is an evasion of responsibilities that he would be wiser to accept?
10. What feelings do the characters in the novel have regarding the decade of the eighties? How does growing up in the eighties seem to have affected Frank, his siblings, and his friends?
11. Does the Irish setting of Faithful Place contribute significantly to the telling of the story, or do you find that French's novel to be about humanity on a more universal level?
12. How does Frank's emotional involvement in the cases of Rosie's and Kevin's deaths affect his ability to function as a detective? Is it always a hindrance to him, or are there ways in which it improves and deepens his insights?
13. Imagine that you are trying to persuade Holly to testify against Shay. What arguments or other tactics would you use? Do you think they would succeed?
14. Does Frank Mackey change over the course of the novel? What, if anything, does he learn?
15. Near the end of Faithful Place, Frank and Olivia seem to have begun to move tentatively toward a reconciliation. What do you think is the likelihood of their succeeding, and why?
The hotly anticipated third novel of the Dublin murder squad from the New York Times bestselling author
Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was nineteen, growing up poor in Dublin's inner city, and living crammed into a small flat with his family on Faithful Place. But he had his sights set on a lot more. He and Rosie Daly were all ready to run away to London together, get married, get good jobs, break away from factory work and poverty and their old lives.
But on the winter night when they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn't show. Frank took it for granted that she'd dumped him-probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional family. He never went home again.
Neither did Rosie. Everyone thought she had gone to England on her own and was over there living a shiny new life. Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie's suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank is going home whether he likes it or not.
Getting sucked in is a lot easier than getting out again. Frank finds himself straight back in the dark tangle of relationships he left behind. The cops working the case want him out of the way, in case loyalty to his family and community makes him a liability. Faithful Place wants him out because he's a detective now, and the Place has never liked cops. Frank just wants to find out what happened to Rosie Daly-and he's willing to do whatever it takes, to himself or anyone else, to get the job done.