November 8th, 2014

autumn hibiya

Tana French, In the Woods

It's been years, or maybe decades, since I've become as lost in a book as I was in In The Woods. Tokyo, maybe, when I'd be in the English landscape of PD James or Dick Francis, and look up to find myself in Ueno or on the Odakyuu. But that was a cultural thing: the disjunct between the language and emotions on the page and the completely different ones around me was too complete for them to coexist. This was... just being someone else somewhere else for as long as I was reading. Only very persuasive first person voices do that to me-- not even Aaronovitch manages it, but then everything Peter says must be noted by Me-as-Reader because it's likely to come back to bite me. French's voice just sweeps you along.

It helped not knowing what kind of book I was reading. (This is why one should avoid blurbs, but then how can one tell if one wants to read the book in the first place? A problem.) Is it a mystery or psychological thriller or a horror story or a fantasy, or just a mainstream novel with elements of the foregoing? Will not say myself; one's reaction varies depending on what genre you think you're dealing with. The thing I thought was going to disappoint me did disappoint me, except I think that's possibly me being dense. And otherwise-- a fun if antsy ('this cannot possibly end well') two days in another country. Should be happy to repeat the experience again some time.