The Given Day

  • by Dennis Lehane
  • Narrated by Michael Boatman
  • 23 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, New York Times best-selling author Dennis Lehane's long-awaited eighth novel unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the crossroads between past and future. 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.

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What the Critics Say

"[An] engrossing epic....A vision of redemption and a triumph of the human spirit." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

As Good As It Gets

With a truly hideous daily LA commute, I get to listen to a lot of audiobooks, from a lot of genres. I've come to realize that a good audiobook is hard to find -- it requires both great writing and strong, diverse interpretive reading from a voice that can mimic (not mock) different voices. I've heard some otherwise well-written books devolve into hackneyed hideousness with bad readings (Peter Weller doing William Gibson comes to mind), and, of course, not even a good reader can save a bad book (ie, stay away from "Errors and Omissions"). That said, this version of Dennis Lehane's new novel is, quite simply, the best I've heard. I've liked Lehane's books in the past, but hadn't been blown away, and I've enjoyed the two movies I've seen from his work (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone), but I was not at all prepared for the powerhouse punch this audiobook delivers. The writing is taught, sweet, seemingly true to the historical period and emotionally honest. The plot development is riveting without being ludicrous. The interweaving of fictional characters with historical figures, though hardly new (reminded me somewhat of Doctorow's "Ragtime"), is deftly handled. Add to that the narrator's phenomenal ability to vest the different characters with consistent and believable voices, as he easily and smoothly jumps from Southie Bostonian to Southern African-American to immigrant Italian(a testament to this truly gifted reader is the listener's inability to discern the reader's own ethnicity), and no accent he does seems forced or mocked. The combination of great writing and reading makes this audiobook my unqualified favorite of my listening career. I cannot recommend it highly enough. This is as good as it gets.
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- D. Jay Ritt

An audio to live in!

I started out reading this book for our book club at work, and realized I wouldn't get it finished in time for our meeting, so I downloaded the audio to speed the process. I read the book in bed at night and then found my place on the audio each morning in order to listen on the way to and from work and during lunch. The narrator nails the characters' accents perfectly, from Irish to southern African American to Russian to Bostonian. Dennis Lehane presents an intimate, emotional view of a most fascinating era of American history; a view that I certainly never saw in any history class - with details from every side of the story. This one should be required reading for high school English, social studies and American history alike. Chock full of interesting details that will lead you to desire more information about history, politics, business, religion, human rights, human nature,the formation of unions, and about your own beliefs.
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- Gypsy Wife "Gypsy Wife"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-30-2008
  • Publisher: HarperAudio