53 pages 1 hour read

Tana French

In the Woods

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2007

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Epigraph-Chapter 3Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Epigraph Summary

In the Woods begins with a short quotation from the play, A Bright Room Called Day. The speaker claims to have seen a black dog and associates it with a scene from Faust in which the devil transforms himself into a black dog to ensnare the living. The speaker then shrugs off the encounter, saying that she must have seen a random black poodle. Finally, she speculates that perhaps the dog really was Satan but she wasn’t worth tempting.

Prologue Summary

The story begins in a 1980s suburb of Dublin, Ireland. Three children are frolicking through their summer vacation; “their bodies have the perfect economy of latency; they are streamlined and unselfconscious, pared to light flying machines” (2).

They climb the stone wall that separates their suburban homes from the woods beyond. The woods are their playground, “their territory, and they rule it wild and lordly as young animals” (3).

The boys know every inch of the woods. You could “put them down blindfolded in any dell or clearing and they could find their way out without putting a foot wrong” (3). However, something is about to happen that will change their lives forever. This is not a coming of age story.