Quotes from In the Woods

Tana French ·  429 pages

Rating: (223.7K votes)


“I had learned early to assume something dark and lethal hidden at the heart of anything I loved. When I couldn't find it, I responded, bewildered and wary, in the only way I knew how: by planting it there myself.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“I am not good at noticing when I'm happy, except in retrospect.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this -- two things: I crave truth. And I lie. ”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“The girls I dream of are the gentle ones, wistful by high windows or singing sweet old songs at a piano, long hair drifting, tender as apple blossom. But a girl who goes into battle beside you and keeps your back is a different thing, a thing to make you shiver. Think of the first time you slept with someone, or the first time you fell in love: that blinding explosion that left you cracking to the fingertips with electricity, initiated and transformed. I tell you that was nothing, nothing at all, beside the power of putting your lives, simply and daily, into each other's hands.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“I read a lot. I always have, but in those two years I gorged myself on books with a voluptuous, almost erotic gluttony. I would go to the local library and take out as many as I could, and then lock myself in the bedsit and read solidly for a week. I went for old books, the older the better--Tolstoy, Poe, Jacobean tragedies, a dusty translation of Laclos--so that when I finally resurfaced, blinking and dazzled, it took me days to stop thinking in their cool, polished, crystalline rhythms.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods



“Maybe she, like me, would have loved the tiny details and inconveniences even more dearly than the wonders, because they are the things that prove you belong.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“She informed me, matter-of-factly, that she was old enough to know the difference between intriguing and fucked up. "You should go for younger women," she advised me. "They can't always tell.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“We think about mortality so little, these days, except to flail hysterically at it with trendy forms of exercise and high-fiber cereals and nicotine patches.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“Human beings, as I know better than most, can get used to anything. Over time, even the unthinkable gradually wears a little niche for itself in your mind and becomes just something that happened.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“For a moment, I felt as if the universe had turned upside down and we were falling softly into an enormous black bowl of stars, and I knew, beyond any doubt, that everything was going to be alright.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods



“I am, of course, romanticizing; a chronic tendency of mine.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“Everyone else we knew growing up is the same: image of their parents, no matter how loud they told themselves they'd be different”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“I am not good at noticing when I'm happy, except in retrospect. My gift, or fatal flaw, is for nostalgia. I have sometimes been accused of demanding perfection, of rejecting heart's desires as soon as I get close enough that the mysterious impressionistic gloss disperses into plain solid dots, but the truth is less simplistic than that. I know very well that perfection is made up of frayed, off-struck mundanities. I suppose you could say my real weakness is a kind of long-sightedness: usually it is only at a distance, and much too late, that I can see the pattern.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“If she had hurt me, I could have forgiven her without even having to think about it; but I couldn't forgive her for being hurt.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods



“Sometimes I think about the sly, flickering line that separates being spared from being rejected. Sometimes I think of the ancient gods who demanded that their sacrifices be fearless and without blemish, and I wonder whether, whoever or whatever took Peter and Jamie away, it decided I wasn't good enough.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“How can I ever make you understand Cassie and me? I would have to take you there, walk you down every path of our secret shared geography. The truism says it’s against all odds for a straight man and woman to be real friends, platonic friends; we rolled thirteen, threw down five aces and ran away giggling. She was the summertime cousin out of storybooks, the one you taught to swim at some midge-humming lake and pestered with tadpoles down her swimsuit, with whom you practiced first kisses on a heather hillside and laughed about it years later over a clandestine joint in your granny’s cluttered attic. She painted my fingernails gold and dared me to leave them that way for work…We climbed out her window and down the fire escape and lay on the roof of the extension below, drinking improvised cocktails and singing Tom Waits and watching the stars spin dizzily around us.
No.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“There was a time when I believed I was the redeemed one, the boy borne safely home on the ebb of whatever freak tide carried Peter and Jamie away. Not any more. In ways too dark and crucial to be called metaphorical, I never left that wood.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“Out of absolutely nowhere I felt a sudden, sweet shot of joy, piercing and distilled as the jolt I imagine heroin users get when the fix hits the vein. It was my partner bracing herself on her hands as she slid fluidly off the desk, it was the neat practiced movement of flipping my notebook shut one-handed, it was my superintendent wriggling into his suit jacket and covertly checking his shoulders for dandruff, it was the garishly lit office with a stack of marker-labeled case files sagging in the corner and evening rubbing up against the window. It was the realization, all over again, that this was real and it was my life. Maybe Katy Devlin, if she had made it that far, would have felt this way about blisters on her toes, the pungent smell of sweat and floor wax in the dance studios, the early-morning breakfast bells raced down echoing corridors. Maybe she, like me, would have loved the tiny details and the inconveniences even more dearly than the wonders, because they are the things that prove you belong.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“My memories of them had rubbed thin with overuse, worn to frail color transparencies flickering on the walls of my mind”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods



“I can't explain the alchemy that transmuted one evening into the equivalent of years held lightly in common. The only way I can put it is that we recognized, too surely even for surprise, that we shared the same currency.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“There has always been something enigmatic about Cassie. This is one of the things I like in her, and I like it all the more for being, paradoxically, a quality that isn't readily apparent, elusiveness brought to so high a level it becomes almost invisible. She gives the impression of being startlingly, almost childishly open--which is true, as far as it goes: what you see is in fact what you get. But what you don't get, what you barely glimpse: this is the side of Cassie that fascinated me always. Even after all this time I knew there were rooms inside her that she had never let me guess at, let alone enter. There were questions she wouldn't answer, topics she would discuss only in the abstract; try to pin her down and she would skim away laughing, as nimbly as a figure skater.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with truth is fundamental but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies and concealment and every variation on deception.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“…Obviously, I have always wished I could remember what happened in that wood. The very few people who know about the whole Knocknaree thing invariably suggest, sooner or later, that I should try hypnotic regression, but for some reason I find the idea distasteful. I’m deeply suspicious of anything with a whiff of the New Age about it—not because of the practices themselves, which as far as I can tell from a safe distance may well have a lot to them, but because of the people who get involved who always seem to be the kind who corner you at parties to explain how they discovered that they are survivors and deserve to be happy. I worry that I might come out of hypnosis with that sugar-high glaze of self-satisfied enlightenment, like a seventeen-year-old who’s just discovered Kerouak, and start proselytizing strangers in pubs…”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“I told people I was taking a gap year, but the truth was that I wanted to do nothing, absolutely nothing, for as long as possible, maybe for the rest of my life.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods



“I know this is one of the unthinkable taboos of our society, but I had discovered in myself a talent for a wonderful, unrepentant laziness, the kind most people never know after childhood. I had a prism from an old chandelier hanging in my window, and I could spend entire afternoons lying on my bed and watching it flick tiny chips of rainbow around the room. I read a lot. I always have, but in those two years I gorged myself on books with a voluptuous, almost erotic gluttony. I would go to the local library and take out as many as I could, and then lock myself in the bedsit and read solidly for a week. I went for old books, the older the better-- Tolstoy, Poe, Jacobean tragedies, a dusty translation of Laclos--so that when I finally resurfaced, blinking and dazzled, it took me days to stop thinking in their cool, polished, crystalline rhythms.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


“Self-immolation's a nice gesture, but it doesn't usually achieve very much.”
― Tana French, quote from In the Woods


About the author

Tana French
Born place: in Ireland
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