Greg's Reviews > In the Woods

In the Woods by Tana French
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really liked it
bookshelves: girls-girls-girls, mystery

I've just finished reading through some reviews on for this book. It had been awhile since I read Karen's review of the book, and I had forgotten what she said about it, but I was surprised that this book inspired rage in her. Especially because she forced this book on to me, really. She pretty much shoved this book into my hands when we were at the library telling me to read this.

I might be a bit more forgiving about some of the weaker elements of the book. Normally a book like this I would read in a couple of days, instead I dragged out the reading of it for close to a week. Every time I go visit my parents I'm overly optimistic about how much I'll be able to read in my days off. I imagine lots of leisurely reading time, instead every time I find myself slogging through one book, all of the extra books I stupidly bring with me never leaving my bag and some new books from used bookstores piling up and adding to my ever growing reading deficit. This visit home was no different. I brought three books with me, and barely got through the book I had already started.

My biggest problem with the book was the pacing. Karen quotes Tom as saying something like, It was good until it wasn't. I think that this is the same problem that I had with the book, but I thought of it more as a pacing problem. The book I thought was excellent, but I thought that it was a bit slower going than a 'genre' book should read. For the sort of book I felt like the book should have been a quicker read. But I'm not sure if this was because I was reading so slow in sporadic bits, or maybe if I'm just a snob who thinks that a book shelved in the mystery aisle has to read a certain way. After reading other reviews though I think that the pacing problem is the book's and not my less than optimal amounts of time that I would be able to sit down and read at a time. The book starts off strong. Then as the case starts to stall and the detectives are running out of ideas the book starts to slow down too. Then as the frustration about the case increases things start to break down in the book, certain expectations the reader might have are dashed. The first person narrative begins to get claustrophobic, and certain things that were really great in the first half of the book start to crumble. It doesn't help that the crime is 'solved' about three quarters of the way through the book, and that the last hundred pages is a wrapping up of loose ends, or that the last thirty pages, or so, is an emotionally painful post-script of 'how my life is fucked because of this case' (in case if the previous two hundred pages of devastation weren't enough) capped off with the emotional kick to the balls of Rob's final phone call to Cassie.. The pacing feels a little off, or maybe it is just messing with expectations, I think when reading crime / mystery novels one expects the novel's pace to pick up as the climax is nearing, and instead things here slow down, the break, the engine running the story seizes.

I know that the next book in the series is told from Cassie's point of view, which I'm looking forward to. I thought she was great, but from what I've seen the next novel is a different case in the future, and I have a feeling that it's not going to be featuring Rob. I'd be very curious to see the story of this case told from her point of view or at least get a picture of Rob from her perspective. Part of what I think was so frustrating about this novel is the character of Rob. He promises the reader that he is a liar from the start. I didn't think he was a badly written character, but I think that he was given a damaged enough past that a lot of what he does and says can only really be appreciated by seeing his actions through another perspective. There are a few moments in the book where this happens and each time it happens the way I saw the narrator was altered.

Tana French's strength to me is in her characters. The crime and story are good, but it is the characters of Rob and Cassie that made this more than just another book about a dead kid found in the woods. I'm looking forward to seeing her other books, I hear they just keep getting better with each new one.
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Reading Progress

August 5, 2012 – Started Reading
August 5, 2012 – Shelved
August 10, 2012 – Shelved as: girls-girls-girls
August 10, 2012 – Shelved as: mystery
August 10, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 51-81 of 81 (81 new)

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message 51: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason karen wrote: "oh, that's the other thread. comments about 9/11 are out of place here."

Interestingly, I did the exact same thing with my mention of "that fateful day" even before I saw your post. Honest.

message 52: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason We shall speak of it no further on this thread. Back to Greg and his dream crushing.

karen i don't even have a driver's license. or a cellphone.

i just got a watch last christmas, though. i am moving up in the world.

message 54: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason wow, you don't have a cell phone. people make fun of me for having an old-style non-smart one. i should point them to you! do you not find you need one, ever? maybe i should get rid of mine. it is more of an annoyance than an assistance.

karen when i went to anaheim, i got one of those pay-for-it-for-now-and-then-toss-it-aside phones, for emergencies. i found i enjoyed texting, but i mostly just used it to get in touch with caris, to make meet-up plans. i also made some tearful calls to the men in my life: greg, connor, and sean. i also spoke to david. i don't even have long-distance at home. and i hate talking on the phone, in general. i figure, if i am not with you, you don't need to know where i am, or reach me.and who would call me? also i have overheard too many annoying cellphone conversations on the subway and walking through the streets, and at work; i just don't want to be one of those people. most people seem to think that a cellphone only works if you yell into it. and in a bookstore, that is very annoying. and these people don't seem to understand that they can be heard! i have heard people yell credit card information into their phones, discussed personal medical information of their patients... it is just bizarre behavior to me. i want no part of it.

message 56: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason haha, you got a burner!! you are a drug dealer!

yeah, i'm not a big fan of talking on the phone, either. but i probably couldn't give it up just for the texting, which is super convenient. especially when you have kids and you're shuttling them to their karate and acrobatics, it's nice to be able to text cristina "whatchu makin 4 din dins" without actually having to speak words. Kidding. But the texting is useful.

I'm glad you talked to David! He is so delightful.

karen i know, i love david. he should live here.

i am totally a drug dealer! apparently, people who sell these things to you do not call them "burners" and look all affronted when you ask for one. thanks, wire, for making me look foolish.

message 58: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason yess! The Wire is exactly what I was thinking, too. Hahaha are you a Stanfield or a Barksdale girl?

I would love for Kowalski to move here so I could hang out with him, but something tells me he masochistically enjoys living in an area where he stands out with such contrast. I think he would fit in too well out here to be entirely happy.

karen um... barksdale, dude. is it even a choice? a tighly-run business organization or a bunch of young upstarts making a mess of things? please.

but i am and will always be an omar girl. i love nearly everything about that show, but omar is the best thing to happen to television ever. indeed.

message 60: by Jason (last edited Aug 11, 2012 08:33AM) (new) - added it

Jason ooh, i missed this comment. except in the end stanfield's organization bumped out the barksdale crew. they played it smarter by going to the greek directly, trying to cut out prop joe. i think that's what i remember happening, but it was a long time ago. and again, my memory...

i fucking LOOOVE omar. have you ever seen this?

the wire
(click to expand...and Omar won, btw)

message 61: by Jason (last edited Aug 11, 2012 08:30AM) (new) - added it

Jason I can't believe we've never talked about this before. It is my favorite show of all time. I believe Mad Men is now in my #2 spot.

karen your number two is incorrect, but it is a popular choice.

sure, the new regime "won" in the end, but marlo became EXACTLY what he did not want to become. and he lacks the class of the barksdale regime, which was much smarter with stringer bell in charge.

message 63: by Jason (last edited Aug 11, 2012 08:39AM) (new) - added it

Jason stringer is awesome. (view spoiler)

what is your #2?

karen are we only talking dramas here?

message 65: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason no, all time TV, i guess. although for me, i think even my top 10 are all dramas.

message 66: by karen (last edited Aug 11, 2012 08:47AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

karen oh, well, then i think the wire has to fall to arrested development. as much as i love the wire, and think it was one of the most intelligent shows ever, arrested development managed to be hyper-intelligent and also spectacularly goofy, but it's apples and oranges, so it is hard to even think of them with the same brain. but i only have one brain, so.

message 67: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason i guess you're right. apparently i have separated drama from comedy because arrested development is one of my favorite television shows of all-time. But it's not in my top 10 because I guess I was just thinking of dramas. So you saw my 10 dramas? I don't have as many comedies, but here's what the list would be.

1. Arrested Development
2. Extras
3. The Office (UK)
4. The Family Guy
5. 30 Rock, but I've only actually seen Season 1. The others I've seen everything.

I would probably also really enjoy shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia but I just don't have time for as much TV as I'd like to have time for, I guess.

karen wait, where is your top ten?? i confuse

karen good gravy, i am not stalking you! how could i have known that, sshheesshh.

okay - sweating through the end of work right now

message 71: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Also, let me ask you about Proust for a second. Do you have any input on recommended translations? I'm starting in January.

message 72: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason haha karen, i linked to that in message 61. i didn't actually expect you to know of that conversation otherwise. :)

karen ohhh i never clicked that. what a bitch i am.

are you asking me about proust, or greg? who isn't even on his own thread...

message 74: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason I'm asking you because I know you read it and would probably be able to give me good advice w/r/t translation. I don't trust Greg. He might recommend some horrible translation just to fuck with me.

message 75: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg I would recommend the old translation, it is the one I used and I was happy with it. The Lydia Davis one is supposed to be great but I have heard some mixed things about the translations for some of the later books and some of them aren't available yet in America, and for consistency and not having to order books from overseas I would recommend the ones that I read. Or am I trying to fuck with you?

message 76: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason You probably are, but it's the answer I want to hear. Mostly because the old translation is in the public domain and I can get it for free from Feedbooks for my Ki—er, e-reader.

message 77: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg I read the old ones, not even the ones that had been updated or edited a bit by the other guy. Sorry I'm too lazy to look up the names.

message 78: by Jason (last edited Aug 11, 2012 08:09PM) (new) - added it

Jason No, I totally know what you're saying because I already did the research. You are talking of Moncrieff which is "the old guy" (and also the one who's listed in all the public domain versions). The "other guy" who revised Moncrieff was Enright, which is the Modern Library version. I think if you were happy with Moncrieff, you've just saved me about $60.

You could translate that as I owe you a drink, buddy.

karen i read the moncrieff ones and i was very satisfied with them.

message 80: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Good, it is done.

message 81: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Thank you both, by the way!

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