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The Likeness: A Novel Hardcover – July 17, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
As in her first novel, In the Woods, Tana French has created another sensuous, lyrical, haunting, suspenseful story. Although it is considered a mystery, it is much much more than that. It is a story of identity in all its literal and metaphorical forms. It is a social commentary (but never sententious) and it is also about fear and flight and love.
Cassie Maddox and Sam O'Neill are detectives from In the Woods. Although Operation Vestal (from In the Woods) is mentioned several times, these books can be read in any sequence without ruining it for the reader. The setting is again Dublin, Ireland.
Cassie is the star attraction of this story as she goes undercover to live with four liberal arts doctoral candidates whose housemate, Lexie Madison, is found dead from a stabbing in an abandoned cottage. Lexie Madison looks exactly like Cassie, and the name is her last undercover alias, which adds to the mystery. The housemates will be told that she survived the stabbing.
It isn't necessary to give too many plot details. What is more important is the response from reading. This is a generous, gorgeous, thoughtful, poetic story. The tone is almost elegiac at times, especially during her descriptive paragraphs, and the author's use of the extended metaphor is prolific and often profound. At the end of the novel, I looked up hawthorn (the tree, flower, bush) on Wikipedia and had a chill run up and down my spine. Her descriptions, turns of phrase, elegant passages and graceful unfolding keep me fastened and fascinated. What I love about Tana French is that her novels are both character-driven AND plot-driven. She does not sacrifice one for the other. With most mysteries, I only read them once.Read more ›
French is a fabulous writer. I'm hoping that her third novel will be a charm.
The first time I picked up Raymond Chandler, I knew I was in the hands of something profound and mysterious. I haven't had that feeling again for many years, till In The Woods, and even more powerfully, The Likeness.
Here's an Australian sheep rancher, talking about his daughter:
"But when she was nine, her mother had hemmorhaged, ...and bled out before a doctor could get there. 'Gracie was too young to hear that,' he said. '...I knew as soon as I told her. The look in her eyes: she was too young to hear it. It cracked her straight across.'"
"It cracked her straight across". That's the power of metaphor in the hands of a master. It conveys in a way that touches the heart what exactly happened, in the same way that Shakespeare would use metaphor and words.
It's a privilege to read Tana French, it really is. I feel only pity for the person who wrote of the unbelievable plot, I do. This book isn't about a plot, just as Chandler wasn't about plot, just as we don't read Shakespeare for the plot. Anyone can do plot; but to give feeling and life, undoubted life, to characters on paper, that is to marvel at.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At the end of my review of Tana French's Into the Woods I said I would be looking into her second mystery, The Likeness. I have. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Wally Wood
It went on and on and on, and I started skipping the pages as there was nothing going on there and they only reinforced my disbelief in the whole situation. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Web_mistress
I loved this book just as much or at least differently than I did the first in the series. Tana French has a way with word coupled with an unwavering ability to tell stories that... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Paz
Once you read Tana French, you won't easily pick up a mystery again. Her prose is like poetry, but she sucks you right in to the thriller storyline. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Chris C
I really love this series. The story is good, main characters are excellent, BUT at some point in the story - things start to become very predictable. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Felicia
I liked this book, in the beginning it was a slow build up but I did have to take a day off working to marathon read at about 230 pages. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Teresa Kelly
The premise is a little improbable but they mystery is great. I love the Irish setting of this police procedural series.Published 21 days ago by Tere Hager
The plot takes unexpected turns. The characters are fully developedPublished 28 days ago by Jill Marty