The Given Day
by Dennis Lehane
Give Dennis Lehane credit for ambition, said Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post. Seven years after Mystic River established the suspense author as one of the “most interesting and accomplished American novelists” working in any genre, he’s swung for the fences with this “flawed but heartfelt” epic about 1919, a tumultuous year in U.S. history that culminated with a violent Boston police strike. The Given Day “suffers badly” from overplotting, said Richard Eder in The Boston Globe. Though Lehane has invented two compelling main characters—an ambivalent prince of Boston’s Irish police force and a black ex-ballplayer who becomes a target of Irish bigotry—he often overwhelms their quietly compelling stories with noisy set pieces about the year’s headline-making melees and disasters. Yet “the searing precision” with which the novel conjures the racial and class battles of the day is also “one of its great strengths,” said Janet Maslin in The New York Times. “A deeply felt novel of political cowardice and corruption,” The Given Day “brings history alive” by grounding our turbulent present “in the lessons of the past.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Could better U.S.-Cuban relations thwart baseball's human smuggling problem?
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- George W. Bush 'ran the country like a cable network,' and other political insights from Chris Rock
Subscribe to the Week