Ireland’s “broken” homes in the novels of Tana French
Beata PiątekJagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland
Beata Piątek is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of English Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Her main research interests are memory and trauma in contemporary British, Irish and American fiction, the influence of film on fiction, and ecocriticism.
This paper argues that Tana French effectively uses the figure of house and home in order to comment critically on the state of the nation in her Irish crime novels. The analysis focuses on three selected novels: The Likeness (2008), Broken Harbor (2012) and The Searcher (2020). It demonstrates that in The Likeness, French uses the historical and literary tradition of the Big House to comment on the economic and class tensions during the period of the economic boom known as the Celtic Tiger. In Broken Harbor, she employs the gothic mode of writing in her portrayal of the consequences of the credit crunch. And finally, in The Searcher, she debunks the myth of rural Ireland as a pastoral retreat and safe haven. The paper applies Susan Fraiman’s notions of “shelter writing” and “alternative homemakers” (2017) in order to show how French uses domestic space and domestic rituals in order to problematize gender stereotypes and undermine conservative expectations about the nuclear family.
Keywords:Irish crime fiction, Tana French, house and home, Celtic Tiger, domestic rituals, shelter writing
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