Tana French

The writer of deep psychological mysteries on books that transcend genres.

Elin Hilderbrand With Faithful Place, her new novel, Tana French again immerses us in the world of the Dublin Murder Squad, adding heart, mind, and flesh to the bones of the mystery genre. Responding to Guest Books, she writes: “My favourite books change from month to month depending on what I’ve been rereading, but these three are always somewhere in the top ten. Sometimes you still see people going on the tired old idea that books are an either/or proposition—either you can read a ‘genre’ book and have a cracking, perfectly structured plot, or you can read ‘literary fiction’ and have beautiful writing and great characterisation and thematic depth, but you can’t have it all. My favourite books are the ones that prove that’s rubbish.”

Books by Tana French

The Butcher Boy

By Patrick McCabe

” ‘When I was a young lad twenty or thirty or forty years ago I lived in a small town where they were all after me on account of what I done of Mrs Nugent…’ The events unfold through the increasingly distorted viewpoint of Francie Brady: his world and his mind slowly disintegrate and his private mythology takes over, with terrible consequences. The book is towering, gruesome, heartbreaking and extremely funny — and it’s a revelation in how a writer can grab you by the collar and haul you straight into the narrator’s world.”

The Secret History

By Donna Tartt

“Donna Tartt’s The Secret History smashes straight through the supposed borderline between mystery and literature. In a Vermont college, Richard Papen finds himself drawn into an elite group of classics students, but gradually he realises that the quality of intensity and ruthlessness that initially attracted him goes much deeper than he thought… This was the book that really brought it home to me that genre conventions don’t have to set any limits: you can have a mesmerising mystery, three-dimensional characters, layers on layers of thematic depth, and writing so beautiful you want to inhale it, all between the same covers.”

The Once and Future King

By T.H. White

“For me, this is the version of the King Arthur legend that makes all the others disappear. I was ten when I read it; this is the book that gave me my first inkling of how complex, how powerful and how mysterious adult life and love can be, and my first inkling of how beautifully and breathtakingly words can capture all that complexity. The arc of the book gives the story the momentum of Greek tragedy, and the writing is poetry.”