Looking after the children with Dennis Lehane

the book:

Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane

published 1998   chapter 31


As I neared Broussard’s driveway, a tall, slim woman with long brown hair holding a child by the hand stepped out at the bottom from around a corner of thick pine. She bent with the child as he picked up the newspaper at the base of the drive and handed it to her. I was too close to stop, and she looked up and covered her eyes against the sun, smiled uncertainly at me…

She was a striking woman. Her wide mouth cut unevenly across her face, rose a bit on the left side, and there was something sensual in the skew, the hint of a grin that had discarded all illusions. A cursory glance at her mouth and cheekbones, the sunrise glow of her skin, and I could have easily mistook her for a former model, some financier’s trophy wife. Then I looked in her eyes. The hard, naked intelligence there unsettled me. This was not a woman who’d allow herself to be put on a man’s arm for show. In fact, I was certain this woman didn’t allow herself to be put anywhere. ..

She turned up the sloping driveway, bouncing the boy on her hip, caressing his face, her slim body moving like a dancer’s in her red-and-black lumber-jack shirt and blue jeans. ‘Good luck with nature,’ she called over her shoulder. ‘Thanks.’ She turned a bend in the driveway and I lost sight of her and the child behind the same thicket that obscured most of the house from the road.

observations: Dennis Lehane’s cold hard view of the world and his very clever intricate plots make him an unmissable writer. Nick Hornby says Lehane is a writer to make you walk into lamp-posts, because you can’t put the books down. This one was made into a very successful film in 2007, and the ending of both would leave readers and viewers arguing all night – not for any of the usual reasons (it is not ambiguous or unclear) but because the lead character takes a moral stance, and half the audience will disagree with his decision.

The character above scarcely appears in the book, and plays a minor role, and yet…

The plot concerns the abduction of a small child, and makes for wrenching reading, while the picture of lowlife Boston seems very well done. See also tomorrow’s entry.

Links up with: Lost girls are a theme of
this book, and this one.

The wholesome picture is from the
State Library of Queensland.


  1. Moira - Oh, I got very much caught up in this story! It is gripping, if wrenching (I like your choice of word). I also was impressed with Lehane's treatment of issues such as social class without preaching (well, at least I didn't feel preached at). Excellent post, and I am looking forward to your post tomorrow.

  2. I've not read this book Moira but the photo is fantastic. I'm not sure of the period but my mother (in the 1950s) had a very similar look. Very glamorous.

  3. What was the name of the film?


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