Feeling the Cold Breeze on Faithful Place
Take a broken-hearted man with a tendency to drink, push him into a marriage with a woman he does not love, give him five children to support and a shortage of work, and you have a recipe for disaster that has the potential to damage many generations to come.
I must admit that I am not a huge fan of the detective genre, but I was thoroughly entertained by French's writing, the rich descriptions, the well-developed characters, and the fast-paced storyline that left me at both out of breath and begging for more.
By far, though, my favorite aspect of the book was French's knack for capturing the rhythmic dialogue of the Irish. I could hear their voices, their sighs, the pauses and the fire under their breath. Often dialogue in novels seems forced to me, made up, and completely unrealistic.
French, however, is spot on.
I also enjoyed the main character, Francis Mackey. An undercover cop who escaped the confines of Faithful Place but is pulled back in to solve the the murder of his long lost love, Rosie Daly, he is sarcastic and distant, yet warm and friendly. We all know people like him: the teddy bear hiding behind the tough language because he has been unnecessarily hardened by his upbringing.
But my favorite character by far was Francis's mother, a fat, bitter, Irish Catholic mother whose one-liners made me double over with laughter.
When she explains her frustration with Francis's brother eternal singledom, she says to him,
"You'll have to settle down sooner or later. You can't be happy forever."
So transported was I by the book and its cast of characters, that even though I read much of Faithful Place lying in the warm sun, I could feel the cold winds and the gray sky of Dublin hanging all around me.
I could feel the frustrations of the working class, the hope of the younger generation despite their doomed futures, and the complicated mess life can become when all of the cards seem to be stacked against you.
Even though I am usually completely put off by the pretty bow with which these types of novels are tied up in the end, I never felt that way while reading Faithful Place.
Which means that I look forward to catching up on the other Dublin murder squad stories as soon as possible.