Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The new Dennis Lehane continues to rule

The first 50 or so pages of the Given Day were great, top shelf reading for certain. Then it leaps into classic territory. He hits all my buttons on this one. It has a huge civic canvas (Boston 1918/1919). It has morally ambiguous characters, your opinion of which Lehane carefully guides. The plotline shifts constantly but in completely fair ways. He plays few favorites, but I think Lehane has no love for the fervent certainty of the ideologue. Two of his more repellent bit characters are super-righty J Edgar Hoover and supreme leftie Eugene O'Neill. It might still crash and burn but I seriousldy doubt it.

As a long time fan, I worried that Lehane, on his road to literary fiction, might discard his trademark acts of badassery. No worries on that count.

Check out Jonathan Yardley (but skip the spoilerish last few paras) on the book. He doesn't like it as much as I do, but he still finds it strong.

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