Welcome back to the third discussion on In the Woods by Tana French! Any and all are welcome to comment this is focused on chapter 12 through the end of chapter 19 but anything through the beginning is fair game. There most likely will be spoilers.
This last section has made me really not like Detective Ryan. He is all creepy and psycho and completely stupid when it comes to his relationship with Cassie. Not to mention I am STILL pissed about him not telling who he is and how he shouldn't be on this case. (Yes, I take these things seriously.) I did find it kind of cute that Sam really was so innocent to his uncle's underhanded dealings. I mean that phone call was shocking, but really? Politicians do sleazy things all the time, it's the profession. And I am a LITTLE perturbed that there was no follow up with Damien about the track suit guy after Rosalind had Jessica say she saw him too, because umm hellooo odd? But that is just one of the many reasons Ryan shouldn't be on the case and why he should SHARE everything with Cassie.
Lines that struck me
pg. 539 " If she had hurt me, I could have forgiven her without even having to think about it; but I couldn't forgive her for being hurt." (UGHHH JACKASS!)
pg. 573 "I'm not sure why this, out of all the possibilities, should be my most closely guarded secret. I think the truth is this: I have always wondered whether this was was the reason I was left behind, that day in the wood. Because I was fat; because I couldn't run fast enough; because, newly heavy and awkward, my balance shattered, I was afraid to jump off the castle wall. Sometimes I think about the sly, flickering line that separates being spared from being rejected." (And there he goes making me feel slightly bad for his poor 12 year old self!)
Info from the Author
Q. Having lost the companionship of his two vanished friends Jamie and Peter, Rob Ryan grows up to form another triumvirate with Cassie and Sam. Do you see Rob as sometimes striving more to repeat the past than to salvage and redeem it?
I think we all have unfinished patterns in our lives, patterns that we can't move beyond until we find a way to complete them. The pattern that was branded onto Rob's mind when he was twelve—the two loved and lost friends—is one of these: he comes back to it almost involuntarily. Once he's there, he can't or won't do anything to change the pattern—he's only dimly aware that changing it is even an option—and so he almost deliberately wrecks the triumvirate with Cassie and Sam, because that's the only thing he knows how to do with it. For him, the past and the present coexist: his past defines his present completely.
Q. What are some of your other thoughts about the psychological makeup of Rob Ryan? And what sources did you draw upon—psychiatric research, your experience as an actor, etc.—to bring his character into focus?
My wonderful editor, Kendra Harpster, once told me that Rob is the kind of guy whom you know you shouldn't get involved with; you know he's trouble; you know he's too badly damaged for a healthy relationship—but you want to get involved anyway. I think we've all known guys like that.
No psychiatric research—at least not for Rob, although I did a lot of research on psychopathology in order to make the killer as real as possible. Rob is messed up in a fairly individual way; I'm not sure it has an official diagnosis! For Rob, my main resource was probably my experience as an actor. For a long time now, it's been my job to create a three-dimensional character out of words on a page, and (touch wood) send the audience home feeling as if that character is a real person whom they actually know. A lot of people have told me that they feel that way about the characters in In the Woods, and it's the best compliment anyone can give me. When someone says that, I know I've done my job.
Discussion Questions from Penguin
1. Imagine that you are Ryan's therapist. With what aspects of his personality would you most want to help him come to terms? Do you think there would be any way to lead him out of ìt he woods?
2. The loss or absence of stable families is a recurring motif in In the Woods. How do French's characters, particularly Ryan, attempt to compensate for this absence?
Our next and last discussion on In the Woods will be next Friday, March 25th and cover Chapter 20 through the end of the book. Thanks for participating again! If you have anything you would like to share, please feel free to comment and talk back and forth between each other!
Also, the poll is up for April. Make a selection by March 22nd!