First published:- 2012
Read in:- June, 2014
There are certain things I pride myself on - the ability to read through a tremendous racket without losing my thread of concentration, the audacity to share my blasphemous distaste for pizzas with pizza worshippers who then proceed to shoot me death glares, and more pertinently, the way I don't balk at rating a piece of mainstream literature 5 stars if it has shown the grit to discard gimmickry and preserve that golden human touch.
How ingeniously Tana French subverts the formulaic plotting of a 'psychological thriller', poking and prodding at the darkness we prefer to bury under the gloss of make-believe contentment until it becomes a threat of gargantuan proportions. How masterfully she paints this picture of a family marooned at the thin divide between normalcy and utter chaos, dangling precariously from the edge of oblivion. How mercilessly she concocts such a heart-wrenching tragedy where the lines between culpability and innocence are blurred to the point that both merge into a single entity, where the victims are just as unwittingly drawn to the dark side as the perpetrators and the ones entrusted with the task of rectifying the wrongs done.
Sometimes the ugliness of visible reality is nothing but the tip of the iceberg and the truth is like a lightning bolt from the blue, capable of shattering the glass mansion of denial we prefer to live in. The truth runs much deeper, past the shallow defenses offered by skin and flesh, inexorably slicing through our bones.
"In that moment I thought of Broken Harbor: of my summer haven, awash with the curves of water and the loops of seabirds and the long falls of silver-gold light through sweet air; of muck and craters and raw-edged walls where human beings had beat their retreat. For the first time in my life, I saw the place for what it was: lethal, shaped and honed for destruction..."
'Broken Harbour' is about the proverbial monsters of our own creation lurking in the shadows biding their time to harm what we cherish the most, the slow disintegration of that 'good life' we have put together bit by bit and how sometimes cause does not precede effect. And it is a sad acknowledgement of the fact that a horrendous fate may lie in ambush for the sinless and unsuspecting.
For the ones who steer clear of 'murder mystery novels' for their stereotypical compartmentalization of crime and detective work, I dare you to read this particular Tana French creation and remain unaffected.