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A Drink Before the War

Spooks, Spies, and Private Eyes


"White man blames people like me because they say quotas got me where I am. Half of 'em can't so much as read, but they think they deserve my job. Fucking pols sit in their leather chairs with their windows looking out on the Charles and make sure their stupid fuck white constituents think the reason they're angry is because I'm stealing food from their children's mouth. Black men-brothers-they say I ain't black anymore because I live on an all-white street in a pretty much all white neighborhood. Say I'm sneaking into the middle class. Sneaking. Like, because I'm black, I should go live in some shithole on Humboldt Avenue, with people who cash their welfare checks for crack money. Sneaking," he repeated. "Shit. Heteros hate homos, now homos are ready to 'bash back' whatever the fuck that means. Lesbians hate men, men hate women, blacks hate whites, whites hate blacks, and... everyone is looking for someone to blame. I mean, hell, why bother looking in the mirror at your own damn self when there's so many other people out there who you know you're better than."

...from Dennis Lehane's masterpiece   



The above is from Dennis Lehane's award winning first novel A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR and it gives you a glimpse of why this book has become must read material in so many circles. I have had the great pleasure of introducing you to a lot of works from a lot of writers, and only a handful of writers have so thoroughly impressed me with a first novel. Only a handful of books have been so brilliant, and so beautiful, and so literary.

Dennis Lehane takes us on a searing tour into the mean and separated streets of Boston; and in so doing takes us on a journey of ourselves. Takes us on a journey of our hates, and prejudices, and fears; and speaks with elegance and insight about those fears, and about the world on both sides of the door. and at the same time, Lehane manages to create a riveting mystery, that rages.

He creates a protagonist that is both righteous and writhing, and around him weaves a tale both monumental and moving. The first two pages alone are worth the price of admission, I found myself rereading these pages, spellbound... spellbound by how in few words mighty things were made. When the book was done, I found myself immediately going back to the beginning , to read again what I had read. Great books are like that, they are magical things, magical places that we want to endure. Highest Recommendation.