The Given Day

At last, dear readers, I’m ready to bring you another review of yet another huge novel: The Given Day by Dennis Lehane.

Lehane  – he of thriller fame? Yes, the very one. The master of cool noir has now written a literary novel based on the Boston police strike back in 1919.

The Spanish flu, immigration, segregation of blacks and whites, corruption, violence – and love – all appear in this sweeping novel (over 700 pages).

The two protagonists are Luther, on the run after killing a mafia boss, and Danny, son of one of Boston’s most powerful police captains. The threads of their lives become intertwined in Boston, where they survive tough times and become friends, overcoming the racial barriers still in force at that time.

And how clever of you to notice that the horse in my photo is a reference to the mafia (think Godfather)!

The real main character though is the historical setting of Boston and the police strike of 1919. At times, the history takes over the story and makes the human characters pale into insignificance.

I enjoyed the story – and although it flagged a bit here and there – there was a thrilling finale followed by an all-too neat tying up of loose ends.

My final verdict? Rich, intricate storytelling with a hint of fury.

17 responses

  1. lilalia

    How wonderful, I’m just in the process of reading the book. Glad to know there will be some attempt to make the threads meet.


    January 24, 2010 at 09:14

  2. Phew! 700pp. That’s meaty!


    January 24, 2010 at 09:55

    • Not as meaty as Shantaram, which is over 900 pages!


      January 24, 2010 at 10:18

  3. You should put the horse head on a pillow. Sounds interesting but a bit like The Devil in the White City, which was deadly boring. . .


    January 24, 2010 at 11:16

  4. kelli

    any book that can keep you engaged for 700 pages is a must-read….thanks for sharing!


    January 24, 2010 at 15:20

  5. Sounds fascinating!


    January 24, 2010 at 17:04

  6. Oh that *was* clever of me to catch on to the horse reference ;>). I’ve gotten a bit leery about committing to these huge blockbuster books; if I don’t love them I get angry at myself for having committed so much time. But the historical setting of this sounds interesting and I know LeHane is a good writer.


    January 24, 2010 at 20:41

  7. I enjoyed Mystic River by this author.

    Love the horse’s head!


    January 24, 2010 at 21:40

    • Try Shutter Island too – a real high-octane thriller!


      January 25, 2010 at 06:23

  8. Clive

    Sounds compelling.

    The horse’s head is great!!


    January 25, 2010 at 00:39

  9. Great photo 🙂

    I just got a gift card to Barnes and Noble. Thanks for the tip!

    Have a great week.



    January 25, 2010 at 01:24

  10. Hehehe, nice touch with the horses head!! 700 pages is a big commitment…fine if the book is good…heart sinking when it’s not!! Glad you enjoyed…I shall add this to my books to be bought when I finish Uni list 🙂

    C x


    January 25, 2010 at 12:30

  11. Loved your photo. Shades of a wonderful movie. I always enjoy your book reviews because we have such similar taste in novels. I’m off to find it now.


    January 25, 2010 at 15:11

  12. Of course, my eyes went straight to the stick horse.


    January 25, 2010 at 20:14

  13. Must look out for that book.

    Nuts in May


    January 25, 2010 at 22:22

  14. Thanks for the review. I don’t know much about the police strike back then, but I should give the book a browse my next visit to a retailer.


    January 26, 2010 at 04:16

  15. nice. always looking for a good read. wil check it out.


    January 26, 2010 at 16:41

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