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466 pages, Hardcover
First published July 17, 2008
I’ll never be free of her. I wear her face; as I get older it’ll stay her changing mirror, the one glimpse of all the ages she never had. I lived her life, for a few strange bright weeks; her blood went into making me what I am, the same way it went to make the bluebells and the hawthorn treeSome books hurt. They squeeze your chest, they make your eyes sting with unshed tears. It's a rare author who is able to evoke that kind of emotion in their readers, and I can only say that reading Tana French always brings a stab of exquisite pain to my heart.
Some people are undercovers all the way to the bone; the job has taken them whole.This book is about Cassie. Yes, we get a few brief mentions of Rob, but he is not the focus. This is a good thing, because it shows that Cassie is strong, she is able to move on, and this, after all, is her story.
I was never afraid of getting killed and I was never afraid of losing my nerve. My kind of courage holds up best under fire; it’s different dangers, more refined and insidious ones, that shake me. But the other things: I worried about those. Frank told me once—and I don’t know whether he’s right or not, and I didn’t tell Sam this either—that all the best undercovers have a dark thread woven into them, somewhere.
It was as if none of the jagged edges had ever existed; it was close and warm and shining as that first week again, only better, a hundred times better, because this time I wasn’t on the alert and fighting to get my bearings and stay in place. This time I knew them all by heart, their rhythms, their quirks, their inflections, I knew how to fit in with every one; this time I belonged.This is a story about love. About the love of friendship and family, arguably more important than romantic love itself. Anyone who has never felt like they belonged will know this feeling, that there's nothing like the feeling of finding your place among others, and that's what Cassie finds here.
"Maybe there aren't any such things as good friends or bad friends - maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you're hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they're always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for too, if that's what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart."
"I used to think I sewed us together at the edges with my own hands, pulled the stitches tight and I could unpick them any time I wanted. Now I think it always ran deeper than that and farther, underground; out of sight and way beyond my control."This book is not about Rob; he is only here in Cassie's memories. It is about Cassie Maddox, the kickass Detective who in an attempt to pull herself together is on the verge of her own downward spiral, who in the attempt of recapturing of what she once had and creating something that she never had almost loses herself and everything that matters to her. Yes, just like In The Woods, The Likeness is less of a crime whodunit (honestly, there's no reason why you would not figure out the killer's identity halfway through the book) and much more of a psychological f*ckery story, the attempt to explore people's inner desires and inner darkness - and the consequences of that.
"I wanted to tell her that being loved is a talent too, that it takes as much guts and as much work as loving; that some people, for whatever reason, never learn the knack."If you have a problem with an unbelievable premise, this book will frustrate you to no end. Luckily for me, I can easily accept the unbelievable setup (after all, one of my favorite writers is China Miéville - 'nuff said). Cassie Maddox needs to go Undercover - to impersonate a dead woman who, by a strange coincidence, happens to be Cassie's almost perfect mirror image, the titular Likeness. And she needs to do that in front of dead woman's friends - her surrogate family. Not to mention that the dead woman in question has herself been impersonating Cassie's long-forgotten undercover identity from the past. Still with me? Still willing to see what happens next? Then this book should be just fine for you.
"Our entire society is based on discontent. People wanting more and more and more. Being constantly dissatisfied with their homes, their bodies, their décor, their clothes, everything – taking it for granted that that’s the whole point of life. Never to be satisfied. If you are perfectly happy with what you got, especially if what you got isn’t even all the spectacular then you’re dangerous. You’re breaking all the rules. You’re undermining the sacred economy. You’re challenging every assumption that society is built on."
"Regardless of the advertising campaigns may tell us, we can't have it all. Sacrifice is not an option, or an anachronism; it's a fact of life. We all cut off our own limbs to burn on some altar. The crucial thing is to choose an altar that's worth it and a limb you can accept losing. To go consenting to the sacrifice."Cassie Maddox is a lovely character. Hurt and broken, ready to latch onto something that has a promise of life and hope for her - and yet fiercely strong, independent and very capable. This is a woman who is shown to value true friendship and know love that is not exclusively romantic (unlike so many female protagonists in modern literature). She is a person who I'd be honored to be friends with, who I'd love to spend my evenings with, sipping wine and swapping stories (I'd skip on chain-smoking, however - just reading about the never-ending unfiltered cigarettes smoking makes me want to cough and get a chest x-ray to look for lung cancer).
"This much is mine, though: everything I did[...] Someone else may have dealt the hand, but I picked it up off the table, I played every card, and I had my reasons."
"I would've decided exactly the same way if you'd been standing right here," I said. "I'm a big girl, Sam. I don't need protecting."
"I wanted to tell her that being loved is a talent too, that it takes as much guts and as much work as loving; that some people, for whatever reason, never learn the knack."I loved this book even though it has stolen quite a few hours of sleep from me. I loved everything about it, even the sadness it made me feel at the end. I will miss it, and it will stay with me for quite a long time. 5 stars.
❝ I was starting to wonder if I’d been underestimating, not the killer, but the victim.❞
"We had worked together seamlessly, she and I. I had drawn her to this house, this life, every bit as neatly and surely as she had drawn me."