“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

No Port In A Storm

Tana French’s BROKEN HARBOUR (Hachette Ireland) is one of my contenders for the best Irish novel of the year. Set in 2009, it’s a police procedural that gets under the skin of the post-Celtic Tiger years, investigating the extent to which the Irish economic meltdown had a brutalising effect on Irish society. I had an interview with Tana published in the Evening Herald yesterday, which opened up a lot like this:
Tana French is talking about killing again.
  “I really don’t believe in this borderline that exists between genre fiction and literature,” she says. “It shouldn’t be an either-or situation. Just because you kill somebody off, that shouldn’t mean it’s perceived as a particular kind of book.”
  The book in question is BROKEN HARBOUR, French’s fourth novel. Employing the framework of a police procedural crime novel, the book is a thought-provoking social commentary which explores the damaged mind of a psychologically complex anti-hero as a metaphor for a broken country.
  Set in the wake of the economic crash, BROKEN HARBOUR has a lot to live up to. French’s debut, IN THE WOODS (2007), won every available American crime writing prize - the Edgar, the Barry, the Anthony, the Macavity. She has been twice shortlisted for the LA Times Crime / Mystery Novel of the Year, for IN THE WOODS and FAITHFUL PLACE (2010). The latter was also nominated for the Impac Award earlier this year. French’s novels are perennial New York Times best-sellers, and tend to receive the kind of glowing reviews more associated with the John Banvilles and Julian Barnes of this world.
  In short, Tana French is one of modern Ireland’s great novelists. BROKEN HARBOUR isn’t just a wonderful mystery novel, it’s also the era-defining post-Celtic Tiger novel the Irish literati have been crying out for.
  “That wasn’t deliberate,” says Tana. “I wasn’t going for a state-of-the-nation kind of book. It’s just, when this is permeating the air around you, it seeps into everything.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

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