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Adult Book Club April

Tuesday, 3 April 2007


Today the Book club will be reviewing 'In The Woods' by Tana French and we'll be choosing the options for April's book club.

Maria Dickenson, Book Club Chair
Maria Dickenson has always been a keen book lover. She started out in the world of books as a librarian, but is now working for Easons where she is a buyer in head office. She is a committee member of the Bookseller's Association and the Society of Publishers in Ireland, and is a member of a bookclub herself.  Her favourite reads include Audrey Niffenegger's 'The Time Traveller's Wife', Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' and Alice Sebold's 'The Lovely Bones'.

Reviewers: Members of Carlow Library Bookclub
Lucia Hughes
Has been a member of the book club for a year and a half. Her hobbies include gardening, traveling and reading. She is a member of a Toastmaster club where she learns how to give speeches and presentations. 
Mary McDermott
Has 2 two older children. Loves traveling, antiques and reading. Reading is a passion of hers - she was encouraged to read at boarding school. Her favourite writer is Virginia Wolf but she likes Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes too.
Ken Stanley
Aged 70 Ken is an ex maths teacher. Now retired Ken enjoys reading fiction and character driven stories. He enjoys gardening and spending time with his grandchildren.
Isabelle Carwright
Isabelle used to lecture in English Literature years ago. She is passionate about reading and literature and has been a member of the book club from the start.

Book being reviewed today on the show:
"In the Woods" by Tana French (Hodder and Stoughton ltd ISBN: 978-0340924747)
One summer day, three children go out to play in the woods behind their homes.  Only one is to return. After a long search, the young boy is found alone, with no memory of what has occurred, and his shoes full of blood.

Twenty years later that boy has grown up, changed his identity and become a detective in Dublin. Only his DI partner Cassie - a tough but sensitive cop with whom Rob has great rapport - knows his story. So when Rob is assigned a case set in those very same woods, he has no choice but to take it.

The body of a young girl, Katye, is found on the site, where there is now an archaeological dig.  Rob and Cassie, have many avenues of investigation.  The victim's father was a fierce opponent to a major road being built nearby, and had received calls threatening his family.  They also discover that the same man has a history of assault.  There are several leads among the men at the dig, and Cassie's flirtatious and manipulative elder sister Rosalind clearly knows more than she's letting on.  Rob is aware of her nature, but attracted to her at the same time, and becomes a little too close to her.  In one moment, he hints to her his real identity.

As the story unfolds, Rob tries to confront his own story. He spends a night alone in the woods, and while it brings back partial memories, he is no closer to solving his own case or the new one. He and Cassie become closer as they share their personal stories, and end up one night in bed together. Rob cannot handle the closeness and their relationship breaks down.

A moment's inspiration on Rob's part leads to the discovery of the murder scene - he locates a missing trowel from the dig that has been used as part of the assault. Only three men have keys to the shed where it is found and soon Rob has his suspect: a weak and simple young man who breaks down easily under questioning. He has been manipulated by Rosalind into committing the murder. Her jealousy of her sister's popularity and her dancing success leads her to convince the young man - her boyfriend, Damian - that Katy is encouraging her father to abuse the girls. 

Under questioning, Rosalind is recorded as revealing Rob's true identity. Finally, in an emotionally fraught exchange where Rosalinds a devastated Cassie about her broken relationship with Rob, she admits to having encouraged Damian to murder her sister. However, it turns out that she has lied about her age and since she is a minor and has been interviewed unaccompanied, all evidence is inadmissible. She gives evidence against Damian, who is sentenced, and she goes free.

The end of the novel is contemplative rather than revelatory. Rob is disciplined for having hidden his identity, and Cassie, who has struck up a relationship with another detective, leaves for another unit. Rob returns to Knocknaree but finds that his memory of what happened that day is once again gone from his mind.

About the author: Tana French
Tana grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin. She works in theatre, film and voiceover and is a member of PurpleHeart Theatre Company. This is her first publication.

Reviews of the book:
Lucia Hughes:
It wasn't for the book club she wouldn't have kept reading it! She was bored and sickened in part by the story. She thought it was too long 'she could have made two books out of it'. Overall she thought it was too wordy, predictable with too many coincidences also the story's credibility was questionable in many areas.
Mary McDermott:
Mary is the only member of the group to really enjoy the book. She 'loved it'. The story was well written, the characters very well described and very believable. If she had to give one negative comment it would be that the cover and description on the back was quite negative and would have put her off buying it in the first place.
Ken Stanley:
Was initially enthusiastic about book and thought it was sharply written. He thought the editing of the book was awful and thinks the book could have been cut by 100 pages. Didn't think some of the links in the plot added up but thought characters were described very clearly. Overall he thought 'shows promise but could do better'.
Isabelle Cartwright:
Enjoyed it and will defend it. Thought it was novel and refreshing that a young Irish female writer would write a book like this. She thought the boundaries of credibility were questionable in lots of areas of the book especially in relation to the character Rob Ryan. She thought it was too long and publishers didn't do her any favours.

Books For May's bookclub
Book A : Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult €14.99
Book B :  Dropping The Habit - Dante Marion €12.99
Book C :  Bodysurfing - Anita Shreve €12.99

Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult
Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens -- until a student enters the local high school with an arsenal of guns and starts shooting, changing the lives of everyone inside and out. The daughter of the judge sitting on the case is the state's best witness -- but she can't remember what happened in front of her own eyes. Or can she?
Jodi Picoult writes very compelling issue based fiction.

Dropping the Habit -  Dante Marion
This remarkable autobiography gives an incredible insight into the challenges of life inside a convent. Marion Dante was promised to God as a 'sin offering' by her mother at birth, and joined the Salesian order at just fourteen, but suffered doubts and was unhappy in her role.  She was forty seven before she broke free of the religious life, but another struggle lay ahead of her: having spent all her life closeted behind convent walls, how would she cope with the freedom of the outside world? 

Bodysurfing - Anita Shreve
At the age of twenty-nine, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to find her footing again, she has answered an advertisement to tutor the teenage daughter of a well-to-do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage. But when the Edwards' two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in a destructive web of old tensions and bitter divisions. As the brothers vie for her affections, the fragile existence Sydney has rebuilt is threatened. With the subtle wit, lyrical language, and brilliant insight into real emotion that has led her to be called 'a supremely elegant anatomist of the human heart' (The Times), Shreve weaves a story about risk, family, and the supreme courage that it takes to love.

Price of books: Book prices may vary from shop to shop.

"In the Woods" by Tana French (Hodder and Stoughton ltd ISBN: 978-0340924747)
Borders Price €13.99

Book Club Vote
Lines close Wednesday at 2pm

The Books are
Book A :
Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult
Book B : Dropping the Habit -  Dante Marion
Book C :  Bodysurfing - Anita Shreve

To vote call 1512 71 70 71 and follow the instructions, calls cost 25c or
Text BOOK A, BOOK B or BOOK C to 53555
Texts cost 25cent.