Filled with a cast of unforgettable characters more richly drawn than any Lehane has ever created, The Given Day tells the story of two families: one black, one white, swept up in a maelstrom of revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants and ward bosses, Brahmins and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and power.
Beat cop Danny Coughlin, the son of one of the city's most beloved and powerful police captains, joins a burgeoning union movement and the hunt for violent radicals. Luther Laurence, on the run after a deadly confrontation with a crime boss in Tulsa, works for the Coughlin family and tries desperately to find his way home to his pregnant wife.
Here, too, are some of the most influential figures of the era: Babe Ruth; Eugene O'Neill; leftist activist Jack Reed; NAACP founder W. E. B. DuBois; Mitchell Palmer, Woodrow Wilson's ruthless Red-chasing attorney general; cunning Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge; and an ambitious young Department of Justice lawyer named John Hoover.
Coursing through some of the pivotal events of the time, including the Spanish Influenza pandemic and culminating in the Boston Police Strike of 1919, The Given Day explores the crippling violence and irrepressible exuberance of a country at war with, and in the thrall of, itself. As Danny, Luther, and those around them struggle to define themselves in increasingly turbulent times, they gradually find family in one another and, together, ride a rising storm of hardship, deprivation, and hope that will change all their lives.
©2008 Dennis Lehane; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
"[An] engrossing epic....A vision of redemption and a triumph of the human spirit." (Publishers Weekly)
This is just one of those great epics that you hate to see end. The greatest part for me, though was the amazing job done by narrator, Michael Boatman. The Russian, French, Italian accents, the foreign language sections and the variety of Irish brogues were luscious! The only distraction was stopping to wonder how one person could bring the speech patterns, pronunciations and inflections of such a wide range of characters to life. I've had the pleasure of listening to many fine book narrations, but by far this was the best. Kudos Mr. Boatman
This book reminds me of Ragtime, Glory and the Dream, the Jungle and maybe some of Studs Terkel's stuff. Dehane adroitly captures what it must have been like to live in 1919 - the end of WW I, the Great Flu, the beginnings of Unions, immigration, racism, generalized corruption, floods, fires AND molasses!
He captures all that, straightens it out and weaves it back into an unforgettable story.
On top of that, Michael Boatman gives a first rate performance as narrator.
A man's got to do what a man's got to do..
This was my third Dennis Lehane novel and I have to say - the man can write a story. “The given day” is the beginning of a trilogy (regrettably I’ve read the second episode before this one) that has the ambition to complement a rather classic plot of gangsters/mafia/political corruption with a socio-economic picture of post World-War I Boston. The characters are well drawn and the writing is crisp and evocative even when Lehane deviates the attention from the main story and start describing the hard life of immigrants and ethnic minorities, rampant racism, pro and ante union factions, anarchists and urban terrorists. The lives of the two main characters (Danny and Luther) –so distant one from the other by race and background - interject and cross each other at times, but remain distant, as society has given them a different role. This is a story about coming to the crossroads, and making choices that define who you are.
The only criticism to this book is that toward the end (say two/third into the story) Lehane starts rambling and the momentum of the plot seems to fade away; the books sounds at times overwritten and the impression of sharp elegance that one had got thorough most of the book is a bit tainted.
Overall a great reading !
I really enjoy books with interesting plot lines and an historical element. This book has both. You go back in time to 1917 (I think). All the little details are there - the daily habits of the people, the sights, sounds and smells. Plus race relations, politics, labor history, and baseball. I recommend.
Yes, it is very well written and rich in characters and events. I might mention that this is the first of three novels centered around the Coughlins, the second being Live the Night and the third, World Gone By; this is not apparent from the introductions to these works. I had already listened to two later works because I was not aware of The Given Day; I ended up listening to these again when I finished The Given Day.
It is richly evocative of the period around and after World War I. In particular, it renders vividly race relations of the time.
Michael Boatman, whom I discovered here, is just about the finest reader I know. A great performance.
Yes, more than one. The one that comes to mind is Babe Ruth unexpectedly seeing Luther in the audience and being so conscience stricken than he cannot play well for the rest of the season.
The opening chapter is an anthology piece that is worth the price of the book.
I recommend this audiobook with enthusiasm.
Being from Boston I thought I would enjoy all the historical settings and stories. Very depressing and only a little bit interesting.
GET rid of the Loud Organ Music at chapter beginnings. It blocks out the 2-3 opening sentences. Very annoying.
GET rid of Organ Music playing over the narration.
Anger at the Organ Music.
I hope I never get this knid of narration with music again.
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