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.