Shutter Island by Dennis LeHane

“You know,” Cawley said, toeing the grass at his feet, head down, “I’ve built something valuable here. But valuable things also have a way of being misunderstood in their own time. Everyone wants a quick fix. We’re tired of being afraid, tired of being sad, tired of feeling overwhelmed, tired of feeling tired. We want the old days back, and we don’t even remember them, and we want to push into the future, paradoxically, at top speed. Patience and forbearance become the first casualties of progress. This is not news. Not news at all. It’s always been so.” Cawley raised his head. “So as many powerful friends as I have, I have just as many powerful enemies. People who would wrest what I’ve build from my control. I can’t allow that without a fight. You understand?”
Shutter Island is an absolutely riveting book, one I was not able to put down since I checked it out with The Savage Detectives two nights ago. It’s the story of Teddy Daniels, U. S. Marshall, who comes to Shutter Island in search of a missing woman, Rachel Solando. Ashecliffe Hospital is on Shutter Island, a psychiatric hospital, or penitentiary, for the criminally insane. And it is there that he finds people and events and codes which lead us all to a mind-bending conclusion.
At first I thought this novel was like One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, where the doctors win over their patients by giving unnecessary lobotomies. But each connection I had to another book proved utterly false. There was no way I could predict the truth about Shutter Island that Dennis LeHane slowly revealed. What an amazing novel.

“The novel is brilliantly conceived and executed. . . . Its shocking outcome kept me awake deep into the night, as I began to grasp what the author had done to my innocent mind.” ~Washington Post Book World

28 thoughts on “Shutter Island by Dennis LeHane”

  1. Oh, no! Having this book spoiled by seeing/knowing of the movie first would be awful! The book was not only an outstanding plot, though, it was exceptionally well written.


  2. Mystica, isn't it a wonderful surprise when the library has the books one wants?! I hope you like it once you open it up; I thought it was un-putdownable. If that's a word.


  3. I've been wanting to read this since I saw the movie trailer (I haven't seen the movie), but for some reason, I never think to check it out. Glad to hear you liked it so much–maybe I'll remember to look for it now!


  4. Simplerpastimes, I wanted to see the movie too, but I was too chicken! Scary movies really scare me. Really. This book was just the ticket for a thrilling ride without the nightmares. (Yet.)


  5. Parrish, if there's one thing I loathe (and actually, there are many) it's a book that's been written after the film. Ew! This was a novel before the film was made, and I can see why movie poeple (whoever they are) would choose to produce it. It's so exciting! It's so unexpected! It's so mind-bending. Loved it.


  6. I've seen the movie, which is very well done I must say. The ingenuity of the plot is intact I presume, since the ending of the movie is quite a surprise. I haven't read the book, but have bought it and given it as a gift to a friend who's crazy about the movie. (no pun intended.)


  7. Terri, I do love books I can't put down (next to the ones which make me think, and/or offer solutions to society). The problem is finding one which is a true shocker!


  8. Kay, my son saw the film and when we discussed it over dinner tonight he said it seemed to follow the movie fairly closely. The thing to watch for, according to him, were the effects. Visual stuff always grabs me extraordinarily fiercely, so I wonder if I'll eve watch the film.


  9. Diane, I hope you were able to see the film after reading the book. I wouldn't want the surprise to be spoiled in either case, and I'm wondering which you preferred.


  10. Ally, it's my secret hunch that almost all good movies follow the novel that came first. I mean, look, they're even producing Les Miserables now. I want to ask Hollywood, “Did you run out of good scripts?” But, I guess I'm just a book snob that way. I enjoy film, but I love literature.


  11. I absolutely loved Shutter Island. The movie, on the other hand, was such a disappointment. Lehane really knows how to string you along, and his beautifully crafted story wasn't translated to the screen very well.


  12. I loved this book!! I love all of Lehane's mysteries, but this one knocked me off my chair. The movie was quite good, too.

    BTW, I had several of your posts marked to comment on, but too much time has passed. Let me just say that I loved your Christmas Past post. Your son cracks me up (“Look at Miss Ten and Two…She'll be reading on her island tomorrow.”). And he has grown up, hasn't he? Remember when you were so worried about him graduating from high school? I'm happy you two are so close.



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