A book I could hardly wait to go into, I could hardly wait for it to end and let me escape its gloomy, desperation soaked atmosphere. Hardly any ray of sunshine here, as the title of the book itself says it all.
The book is more about psychology than any of its predecessors, as it takes you step by step into the world of madness. So much that you will end up doubting yourself – I was somehow expecting for something to actually finally show up on that camera in the end. Wow!… How would that have been?
A neat example of a saying it took me years to understand: „The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” – you will see what I mean.
I retained only a few fragments in the end; I have found myself agreeing 100% with the author’s minding on these subjects:
„… the media… they live of the animal inside us, they bait their front pages with second-hand blood for the hyenas to snuffle up…”
„… what you get out of life is mostly what you’ve planted. Not always, no, but mostly. If you think you’re a success, you will be a success; if you think you deserve nothing but crap, you’ll get nothing but crap. Your inner reality shapes your outer one, everyday of your life.”
This one’s a long one, but I couldn’t agree more, so:
„I remember this country back when I was growing up. We went to church, we ate family suppers around the table, and it would never even have crossed a kid’s mind to tell an adult to fuck off. […] Sometime since than, we started turning feral. Wild got into the air like a virus, and it’s spreading. Watch the packs of kids roaming inner-city estates, mindless and brakeless like baboons, looking for something or someone to wreck. Watch the businessmen shoving past pregnant women for a seat on the train, using their 4x4s to force smaller cars out of their way, purple-faced and outraged when the world dares to contradict them. Watch the teenagers throw screaming stamping tantrums when, for once, they can’t have it the second they want it. Everything that stops us being animals is eroding, washing away like sand, going and gone.” Rings a bit of a bell somewhere – Muriel Barbery’s „Elegance of the Hedgehog„? (Give it a search on my blog – the camellias versus primates thing…?)
And one more thing: in case you were getting used to Frank Mackey, chill – there is no Frank around this time, not by name anyhow. But you will be spending full time with Mickey „Scorcher” Kennedy, whom you would have met in „Faithfull Place„. Haven’t been there? Well…
As opposed to the romantic atmosphere of the Whitethorn House in „The Likeness„, Faithful Place no. 16 is gloomy and threatening. The only bright spots come form Frank’s relationship with his daughter Holly, whom you will fall in love with, and the exchange of ironies within either Frank’s childhood friends and, at times, his family members. The witty phrases are always here, possibly even more so than in the first two books. Just have a taste of it: „Let me pour you a nice cold refreshing glass of reality.”/ „I hate to burst your bubble here, but your telepathy skills aren’t at their finest today.”/ „… he wasn’t the brightest little pixie in the forest to start with.” A book that is also dedicated to Dublin as it used to be, to those neighborhoods where everyone used to know everybody and everybody’s business. „The smell of fish and chips came in at the windows, along with smart-arse comments from a blackbird on a rooftop and the voices of women swapping the day’s gossip while they brought in the washing from the back gardens. I knew every voice and every door-slam… If I had listened hard I could have picked out every single person woven into that summer-evening air, and told you every story.”
So now… all the way towards „The Secret Place” – I wonder who will this one be about, as the writer seems to be trying to make justice to each one of her characters, putting them in turn under the spotlight – not a one star only series like Hercule Poirots’ or Sherlock’s – here every supporting character in a book turns up to be the main character in the next one. Like a tribute paid to (almost) the entire range of murder detectives in Dublin.