Friday, March 4, 2011

In the Woods - Discussion #1

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Welcome to our March Group Read! Today is our first discussion on In the Woods by Tana French. Since we are discussing the book, be prepared for spoilers! Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate, even if you read this ages ago. We love to talk and exchange ideas. This discussion goes over the beginning of the book through the end of Chapter 6. Oh, and I have the large print edition so my page numbers may differ from yours!

Watch the Book Trailer

My thoughts
I am really liking it, but every now and then the narrator either loses me in random thought or I am not always so sure that I like the narrator's tone. I don't really know how to explain it but it sometimes seems off, and I am not sure if it is because of the woman writing the man role or a cultural thing or the main character is that weird. There have been some parts where I have laughed out loud and share a line or two with my husband and others were I am engrossed and don't want to get up. I love this genre of book though, I am a mystery/crime reader and watcher junkie!

Line I Liked
pg. 39 - "If it hadn't been for Cassie, I think I might have ended up turning into that detective on Law & Order, the one who has ulcers and thinks everything is a government conspiracy."

Something that Irks/Bothers Me
I am finding it very hard to believe that NO ONE knows he is the little boy from the previous case in the Knocknaree Wood, also the fact that he gets Cassie to cover up for him. Their jobs both could be affected if it comes out and even if he 'thinks' he isn't contaminating the case he is. I think it needed to come out to make this a little more believable but then again I am a fan of believable fiction ha.

An excerpt from an interview with Tana French (relating to my it bothers me part)
Q. To tell the story of In the Woods, you have transgendered your voice; you speak to us through the male persona of Rob Ryan. Why did you opt for a male narrator, and did you encounter any particular challenges in adopting a masculine perspective?
Almost as soon as I thought of the basic premise of the book, the character of Rob Ryan came into my head: intelligent, sarcastic, secretive, proud, too badly damaged to be honest either with himself or with his readers—and male. It was never a conscious choice; that's just how he popped up.
I didn't run into any particular difficulties to do with writing from a male perspective. I've always had a lot of good male friends, which may have helped. What was much more difficult was writing from the perspective of someone as deeply messed up as Rob Ryan. His friends' disappearance and his loss of memory have sent cracks straight across his mind: he's unable to trust anything either around him or within him. At the point when the book begins, he's more or less functional ñ good at his job, sustaining at least one close friendship, basically happy—but as the case draws him back towards his past, those cracks widen and his mind starts to disintegrate. Trying to see the events of the book from that increasingly skewed perspective was an immense challenge.

Questions from Penguin
(Obviously, some of the questions I picked can only be answered through where we have read, but I think they are still relevant)

1. How does Ryan's experience In the Woods at the age of twelve 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?
2. Ryan states that he both craves truth and tells lies. How reliable to you find him as a narrator? In what ways does the theme of truth and misrepresentation lie at the heart of In the Woods?

Have a question you want to ask? Line you want to share? Thoughts? Love it? Hate? Share and discuss in the comments! Next week we will discuss Chap 7 through the end of Chapter 11. If you want to share your info to put in the main post, email it to me by Thursday evening. If you want to do a guest post/something extra with the book, have at it!