In the Woods

By Tana French
Binding:Paperback
Publisher:Penguin (Non-Classics), (5/27/2008)
Language:English



Average Rating:
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3.33 out of 5 (3 Clubie's ratings)


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In Tana French's powerful debut thriller, three children leave their small Dublin neighborhood to play in the surrounding woods. Hours later, their mother's calls go unanswered. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours. 

Twenty years later, Detective Rob Ryan - the found boy, who has kept his past a secret - and his partner Cassie Maddox investigate the murder of a twelve-year-old girl in the same woods. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him, and that of his own shadowy past.
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Read and Feed's thoughts on "In the Woods"
updated on:7/29/2009



Very Unleashable



LisaL's thoughts on "In the Woods"
updated on:5/15/2009

All found the ending very disappointing

Mildly Unleashable



Ibe May's thoughts on "In the Woods"
updated on:4/26/2009

great story, iffy end

Very Unleashable


"In the Woods"
By Tana French

Average Rating:
Unleash it
3.33 out of 5 (3 Clubie's ratings)


The Gentleman
The Gentleman
By Forrest Leo

 
 
 General reading guide discussion questions to be used with ANY book your book club or reading group might be discussing.
 
 

  • What do the woods represent symbolically in Tana French's novel? Does their significance change as the story progresses?

  • 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?

  • Does the Irish setting of In the Woods contribute significantly to the telling of the story, or do you find French's novel to be about humanity on a more universal level?

  • 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?

  • Cassie Maddox, Ryan's partner, is perhaps the most consistently appealing character in the novel. What are her most attractive qualities? What are the weaker points of her personality? Does Ryan ever fully appreciate her?

  • After sleeping together, Ryan and Cassie cease to be friends. Why do you think the experience of physical intimacy is so damaging to their relationship? Are there other reasons why their friendship falls apart?

  • 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?

  • 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 ìthe woods?î

  • How convincing is French's explanation of the motivating forces that lead to Katy's murder—forces that come close to a definition of pure evil? Are such events and motivations ever truly explicable?

  • The plan to build the new motorway, trampling as it does on a past that some regard as sacred, is an outrage to the archaeologists who are trying to preserve an ancient legacy. How does this conflict fit thematically with Ryan's own contradictory desires to unearth and to pave over his past?

  • Do you have your own theories about the mysteries that remain unsolved at the end of In the Woods? What are they?

  • What were your thoughts and emotions upon finishing In the Woods? If this book affected you differently from other mysteries you have read, why do you think this was true?


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    Editorial Reviews

    From Publishers Weekly
    Irish author French expertly walks the line between police procedural and psychological thriller in her debut. When Katy Devlin, a 12-year-old girl from Knocknaree, a Dublin suburb, is found murdered at a local archeological dig, Det. Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, must probe deep into the victim's troubled family history. There are chilling similarities between the Devlin murder and the disappearance 20 years before of two children from the same neighborhood who were Ryan's best friends. Only Maddox knows Ryan was involved in the 1984 case. The plot climaxes with a taut interrogation by Maddox of a potential suspect, and the reader is floored by the eventual identity and motives of the killer. A distracting political subplot involves a pending motorway in Knocknaree, but Ryan and Maddox are empathetic and flawed heroes, whose partnership and friendship elevate the narrative beyond a gory tale of murdered children and repressed childhood trauma. (May)
    Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

    From Booklist
    *Starred Review* Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, land the first big murder case of their police careers: a 12-year-old girl has been murdered in the woods adjacent to a Dublin suburb. Twenty years before, two children disappeared in the same woods, and Ryan was found clinging to a tree trunk, his sneakers filled with blood, unable to tell police anything about what happened to his friends. Ryan, although scarred by his experience, employs all his skills in the search for the killer and in hopes that the investigation will also reveal what happened to his childhood friends. In the Woods is a superior novel about cops, murder, memory, relationships, and modern Ireland. The characters of Ryan and Maddox, as well as a handful of others, are vividly developed in this intelligent and beautifully written first novel, and author French relentlessly builds the psychological pressure on Ryan as the investigation lurches onward under the glare of the tabloid media. Equally striking is the picture of contemporary Ireland, booming economically and fixated on the shabbiest aspects of American popular culture. An outstanding debut and a series to watch for procedural fans. Thomas Gaughan
    Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

    Review
    From the first chapter on, In the Woods lures the reader into sinister terrain. This is classic, cinematic suspense. I read it with sweaty palms and a racing heart. Tana French has the natural storytelling gift of a young du Maurier. The taut pacing evokes Hitchcock. Keep the lights on and pour yourself two shots of scotch. -- Lisa Dierbeck, author of ONE PILL MAKES YOU SMALLER

    Tana French's In the Woods is tangled, dark, and impossible to put down. With a story like a freight train and characters so vivid that I found myself wondering what they were doing while I wasn't reading it, it's one of the best books I've read this year. In fact, it's so good that I wish I'd written it - it's absolutely brilliant. -- Kelly Braffet, author of LAST SEEN LEAVING and JOSIE AND JACK

    With her utterly beautiful and brilliantly evocative prose, Tana French invites us into a murky netherworld so seductive and engrossing that we can't turn away, even when we try. Ms. French is an extraordinary writer and IN THE WOODS is a stellar debut. -- Lisa Unger, author of the New York Times bestseller BEAUTIFUL LIES and SLIVER OF TRUTH --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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    Tana French is the bestselling author of In the Woods, which won the Edgar, Barry, Macavity, and Anthony awards, and of The Likeness. She grew up in Ireland, Italy, Malawi, and the United States, and trained as an actor at Trinity College, Dublin. She lives in Dublin with her husband and daughter.




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