Monday, February 24, 2014

Dennis Lehane's "The Given Day"


Crime writer Dennis Lehane's ambitious 2008 novel The Given Day may not be for every book club due to its length (it's over 700 pages long) but it certainly is worthwhile whether you read it for a club or just for your own pleasure.  It takes place in Boston which is the setting for other Lehane novels including the acclaimed Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone.  It features Danny Coughlin, an Irish police officer who gets involved with the 1919 police strike.  Babe Ruth and other historical figures weave seamlessly throughout the book.  It's the story of two families, one white and the other black, as they struggle to find a place in a quickly changing world after World War I.  Lehane "unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the crossroads between past and future".  

The Given Day makes an excellent addition to your reading list if your interest has been piqued about the early 20th century.  While the lords and servants of Downton Abbey are coming to terms with the new century, the people of Boston and other big cities in America were also struggling to make their way during the time between the two great wars.

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