Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane ****

1919: Boston, the hub of the universe, where paths crossed for MA governor Calvin Coolidge, DoJ lawyer John E Hoover, NAACP founder WEB DuBois, and Babe Ruth. With echoes of today, the news was about terrorists and civil rights, traditions and change, immigrants and Americans.

Against this dynamic backdrop, Dennis Lehane weaves a very human story of a family of Irish policemen and a black family from Oklahoma in The Given Day. While the echoes of current events add interest, it the the lives of a young black man and young white man and how they address the personal and societal injustice they experience that keep the pages turning. This is a narrative so well told that I could easily forgive when the 1919 police called from paramedics (a word invented in 1967) and when the hospitals delivered pain killers in IV drips well before their time.

This is a historical novel heavier on the novel, but with plenty of good historical musings.

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