Chapter 1 Summary
According to Frank Mackey, the narrator and protagonist of Tana French's novel Faithful Place, "only a few moments matter" in one's whole life. For Frank, that moment occurs when he is a nineteen-year-old kid looking for a way out of his depressing, turbulent home in an Irish working-class neighborhood. He and his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, determine that their escape is to meet in the middle of the night at an abandoned house in their neighborhood and to take a ferry to England. But as Frank waits outside the building late one night for over two hours, he begins to get nervous and wanders inside only to find a note from Rosie. Frank interprets the note as Rosie changing her mind, so he leaves the house angrily.
Years later, Frank has made something of himself by working for Dublin's undercover squad and almost completely separating himself from his family. One Friday in December, Frank begins a normal weekend by dropping by his ex-wife Olivia's house to pick up their daughter Holly for a weekend visit. The former couple is the opposite of one another. Frank is rough around the edges and outspoken; Olivia is demur, proper, and now completely intolerant of Frank's attempts to rile her. As Frank waits for Holly to gather her stuffed animals and other belongings, he teases Olivia about her date with a stuffy friend named Dermot.
After he has packed Holly into her car seat and headed toward his apartment near the quay, Frank promises the girl that he will take her to fly her kite, but when he arrives home, his voice mail is flashing with numerous messages, and Frank knows that the messages must be from family as no one else calls him at home. He tries to preoccupy Holly by handing her his laptop and asking her to go play for a while in her room. As Frank checks his messages, he discovers that they are all from his youngest sister Jackie—really the only family member he still speaks to—and she sounds frantic. Frank calls Jackie...
(The entire section is 558 words.)