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Pine de Francine Toon
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Pine (2020 original; edició 2020)

de Francine Toon (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
21012101,607 (3.52)1
Autors:Francine Toon (Autor)
Informació:Doubleday (2020), Edition: 1st, 288 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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Pine de Francine Toon (2020)

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For about three-quarters of this novel, it contended with what I consider one of the greatest novels written, [b:The Testament of Gideon Mack|850256|The Testament of Gideon Mack|James Robertson||835768]. I was enthralled, jumpy, and altogether creeped out. The book is beautifully written without getting bogged down with "literary" language; you can see the poetry that the author writes in the recreation of the northern Highlands. The central characters are brilliantly realized, the main character especially, and the connection between her and the title of the novel is such a delight when it is revealed.

This is a book of grief, primarily, that toys with how grief touches everything in a person's life, including their perception of reality. My only complaint, and what kept it from being equal to Gideon Mack, is the resolution/exposition via dialog at the end. I think it belied the author's skill and could have been more skillfully revealed. A minor fault, but one that nevertheless made me what about what could have been with an otherwise brilliant, haunting novel. ( )
  allan.nail | Jul 11, 2021 |
“Witches are empowered women”

This was a crime/mystery/thriller, with a hint of folklore and gothic style hauntings chucked in for good measure. Set in the deep Scottish wilderness you certainly got an idea of what it is like to live in a remote setting where nature is in charge. Toon’s description of living in a small community, where everyone knows your business and can’t resist the gossip was also spot-on. Yet, as descriptive as this was, the pace was very slow, with the action only really starting some 200+ pages in. The mystery and its outcome were then rather quickly wrapped up in well under 50 pages.

Despite the rave reviews I just couldn’t connect with the plot or the characters enough to really enjoy this book. The little hints of folklore and gothic details were interesting, but it needed something more. Overall a fine read but not the gripping thriller I was hoping for. ( )
  moosenoose | Jun 10, 2021 |
A chilling, supernatural, gothic murder mystery. A good read, slightly marred by me guessing what happened (what and who) quite early on in the book.

10-year-old Lauren and her father, Niall, live on the outskirts of a small highland village, surrounded by wild pine forest. Hanging over both of them is the mystery of the disappearance of Lauren's mother when Lauren was just a baby.

Suspicion hangs over Niall, who struggles his sanity, with alcohol and with earning enough money to put food on the table. Lauren is bulled at school but has a close friend, Billy, who lives nearby and a friendly older babysitter too. Stranger sightings are happening in the village - a pale-clad woman appears to a couple of villagers, to Lauren and to Niall. Lauren looks for help in her tarot cards. When a teenage girl goes missing suspicions start flying in several directions. Who can Lauren trust?

An interesting and compelling read. It's hard to put my finger on why I didn't love it - more character development might have helped me engage but also it seemed obvious to me what had happened in the past. I loved Francine Toon's portrayal of small, isolated village claustrophobia however and I can recommend it to anyone who enjoys a touch of the gothic and supernatural. ( )
  ArdizzoneFan | Mar 10, 2021 |
Francine Toon’s eerie and unsettling debut novel Pine is set in a small and remote Highland town, where the nearest supermarket is 23 miles away, and the planned opening of an Aldi has been a topic for discussion for months. It is a community where everybody knows everybody else. So, it’s quite ironic that there’s a mystery at the heart of this story. Just under ten years before the events described in the novel, a young woman named Christine disappeared without a trace. Her partner Niall and their baby Lauren are still struggling to come to terms with this. The villagers gossip about Niall’s possible involvement in this disappearance, their suspicions fuelled by his alcohol problem and evident anger management issues. Lauren, who doesn’t remember her mother, is bullied at school, branded as the daughter of a “witch”. Christine might well have recognised herself as one – before her disappearance, she was into alternative remedies, crystal healing and fortune telling. In secret, Lauren is teaching herself spells and tarot reading from one of her mother’s books - her way of coping with a harsh and dangerous world.

The novel opens on a Halloween night. On their way home in their truck after an evening out “guising”, Lauren and her father come across a strange, white-gowned woman stumbling onto the road. They take her home with them, but the following morning she’s gone, and Lauren notices that Niall seems to have no recollection of the event. Other ghostly and unexplained events take place. Could they be harbingers of an impending tragedy? The disappearance of teenager Ann-Marie unearths memories of a mystery which has never gone away and Lauren – and the whole village – fear the worst.

Francine Toon was raised in the Highlands, and she ably uses a setting familiar to her to create a dark, uncanny atmosphere. The novel’s title refers both to Christine’s name for her daughter (Oren, the Gaelic word for “pine”) and to the forest which surrounds the village. As in traditional fairy tales, the “trees, coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men” evoke dread but also a sense of something timeless and otherworldly. This idea is also visually conveyed in the brilliant, minimalist cover.

The references to folklore, the Highland setting and the supernatural elements reminded me of another debut novel which I had greatly enjoyed – Kerry Andrew’s Swansong. However, there are also some clear differences between the approach of the two authors. Whereas Andrew’s story is steeped in folklore, Toon’s is darker, its Wiccan elements pushing it more towards horror. It also owes much to the contemporary thriller, which has turned the “missing person” trope into a veritable sub-genre.

The result is a gripping, genre-bending book which provides plenty of thrills, supernatural and otherwise. Indeed, in the excitement of the story it’s easy to miss its subtle, realist aspects – particularly the challenges of living in a small, remote community especially if you are a young teenager raring to see the world. This novel should also be read for this. ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Mar 5, 2021 |
PINE by Francine Toon is the winner of the McIlvanney Prize - Bloody Scotland’s Scottish Crime Debut of the year 2020. That is quite a distinctive honor and PINE is quite a distinctive book.

PINE has been described as “Carefully calibrated to make every single hair on the back of your neck stand up on end.” and a “horror-tinged novel.”
My own thoughts and descriptions (in no particular order or rationale) include - ‘backwoods’ folklore; a thriller; a gothic style thriller; fantasy, including witches, selkies and kelpies; uneasiness; a past unspeakable tragedy; mental instability; edgy; a dampness & mold & rot smell (and feeling) permeates; desolation; parental neglect; dread; hopelessness; otherwordly; drunken stupors; palatable loneliness; poverty; school bullying; hallucinations.

An excellent read. An excellent debut novel. Not high on my list as a Scottish tourist brochure, though! ***** ( )
  diana.hauser | Dec 28, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Francine Toonautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
McCarron, CathleenNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Little girl, little girl, don't lie to me,
Tell me, where'd you stay last night?
I stayed in the pines where the sun never shines
And I shivered when the cold winds blew.

'In The Pines', traditional American folk song
You ask me to believe in magic.

'Every River', Runrig
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For Yassine
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They are driving out for guising when they see her.
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Mitjana: (3.52)
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