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Seriously, Read a Book!

Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...

Currently reading

The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking
Mike Rohde
The Antidote
Oliver Burkeman
The Kind Worth Killing
Peter Swanson
Data Points: Visualization That Means Something
Nathan Yau
James Buchanan
Jean H. Baker, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Mystic River

Mystic River - Dennis Lehane

Clocking in five of his books over the past few weeks, I've begun to feel like I'm living in a sort of Dennis Lehane-land — an ineluctably dark place that is made all the more so by its striking resemblance to our own. 


While Sophocles and Aeschylus rarely* used blue-collar neighborhoods of Boston as the backdrop of their works, in Mystic River Lehane has created something that bears a marked resemblance to a classic tragedy. I don't remember the precise meanings of terms like stasima or mimesis, so I won't be offering a disquisition on any of these structural elements. However, the fates and furies that pursue Lehane's characters are relentless and (I suppose this is what makes things so tragic) inescapable. 


The likes of Justice or any of the other cardinal virtues are cast off, confined to the fantasy worlds in which they prevail, as Lehane brings you deeper and deeper into a reality where innocents are often most likely to be hurt, and winners rarely exist in the end. 


All of that being said, Mystic River now ranks among my favorite books. It's not a feel good story, but one that has the power to move you deeply and leave you shaken. And, in a world such as ours, everyone needs a good shake from time to time. 



* As I haven't read them exhaustively, I can't say for sure that there isn't something akin to Sisyphus Takes Southie out there.