Faithful Place (Paperback)

By Tana French

Penguin Books, 9780143119494, 400pp.

Publication Date: June 28, 2011

Summer '11 Reading Group List

“Faithful Place by Tana French is just plain good storytelling. Frank, an undercover cop, is dragged back into his complicated and violent personal past by a shocking discovery, and as a result finds himself at the center of a riveting tale about family and how even loving relationships can turn destructive. The importance of Dublin as a setting - both in the present and recent past - can't be overlooked as French makes the city a living, breathing character lurking in the back ground of this compelling tale.”
— Charlotte Tuinman, M is for Mystery, San Mateo, CA
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July 2010 Indie Next List

“Faithful Place by Tana French is just plain good storytelling. Frank, an undercover cop, is dragged back into his complicated and violent personal past by a shocking discovery, and as a result finds himself at the center of a riveting tale about family and how even loving relationships can turn destructive. The importance of Dublin as a setting - both in the present and recent past - can't be overlooked as French makes the city a living, breathing character lurking in the back ground of this compelling tale.”
— Charlotte Tuinman, M is for Mystery, San Mateo, CA
View the List
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Description

From Tana French, "the most interesting, most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years" (The Washington Post), the bestseller called "the most stunning of her books"(The New York Times) and a finalist for the Edgar Award. Don't miss her newest, The Trespasser, now available.

Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was a nineteen-year-old kid with a dream of escaping hisi family's cramped flat on Faithful Place and running away to London with his girl, Rosie Daly. But on the night they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn't show. Frank took it for granted that she'd dumped him-probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional family. He never went home again. Neither did Rosie. Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie's suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank, now a detective in the Dublin Undercover squad, is going home whether he likes it or not.

Getting sucked in is a lot easier than getting out again. Frank finds himself straight back in the dark tangle of relationships he left behind. The cops working the case want him out of the way, in case loyalty to his family and community makes him a liability. Faithful Place wants him out because he's a detective now, and the Place has never liked cops. Frank just wants to find out what happened to Rosie Daly-and he's willing to do whatever it takes, to himself or anyone else, to get the job done.


About the Author

Tana French is also the author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place and The Trespasser. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. How does religion appear to have influenced the families who live in Faithful Place? Why do you think Frank Mackey has rejected religion?
  2. Why do you think that teenagers like Frank and Rosie-the ones who try to get away-appear to be the exception rather than the rule in the Mackeys' neighborhood?
  3. Are Olivia and Jackie right or wrong to have taken Holly to visit Frank's family without his knowledge or consent? Why?
  4. What meanings, ironic or otherwise, can be derived from the title Faithful Place? How do those meanings resonate through the novel?
  5. Frank tells us early in the novel that he would die for his kid (p. 3). Yet there are lesser things he chooses not to do, such as being civil to her mother and shielding her from having to testify in a murder trial. How well does Frank understand his feelings toward Holly? What are his blind spots where their relationship is concerned?
  6. Why does Frank become so upset over Holly's infatuation with pseudo-celebrity Celia Bailey (pp. 151-154)? Is his reaction pure, over-the-top exaggeration, or does he have a point?
  7. Tana French makes extensive use of flashbacks to develop Rosie as a character and to flesh out Frank's motivations. How would the novel be different if it were narrated in a strictly chronological fashion?
  8. Shay insists that he and Frank are morally no different, and Frank is outraged by the suggestion. Is Shay right? 
  9. Frank would appear to have every right to blame his family for much of the chaos in his life. To what extent, however, do you think his finger pointing is an evasion of responsibilities that he would be wiser to accept?
  10. What feelings do the characters in the novel have regarding the decade of the eighties? How does growing up in the eighties seem to have affected Frank, his siblings, and his friends?
  11. Does the Irish setting of Faithful Place contribute significantly to the telling of the story, or do you find that French's novel to be about humanity on a more universal level?
  12. How does Frank's emotional involvement in the cases of Rosie's and Kevin's deaths affect his ability to function as a detective? Is it always a hindrance to him, or are there ways in which it improves and deepens his insights?
  13. Imagine that you are trying to persuade Holly to testify against Shay. What arguments or other tactics would you use? Do you think they would succeed?
  14. Does Frank Mackey change over the course of the novel? What, if anything, does he learn?
  15. Near the end of Faithful Place, Frank and Olivia seem to have begun to move tentatively toward a reconciliation. What do you think is the likelihood of their succeeding, and why?
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