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Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
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Shutter Island (2003)

by Dennis Lehane

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,9052641,111 (3.9)368
U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner, Chuck Aule, come to Shutter Island's Ashcliffe Hospital in search of an escaped mental patient, but uncover true wickedness as Ashcliffe's mysterious patient treatments propel them to the brink of insanity.
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    dmenon90: Both tell the story of the mentally-ill from a different perspective. Relationships and beliefs of the mentally ill are keenly explored and the role of psychiatric treatment is at the forefront of both.
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    Memory's Ghost: The Nature Of Memory And The Strange Tale Of Mr. M by Philip J. Hilts (Gregorio_Roth)
    Gregorio_Roth: Because the book is a true tale about what is memory and how it affects the person.
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    The Manufactured Identity by Heath Sommer (marcejewels)
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    ACannon92: Similar themes dealing with insanity
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    Gregorio_Roth: Dennis Lehane stated in an interview that the book is in part a homage to Bronte's work.
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English (251)  French (5)  Swedish (4)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (263)
Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)
This book was published in 2003, and I finally got around to listening to it. I've not seen the movie, and I think if I had seen it before I read the book, the book would have lost some of its luster. It has the noir fiction feel, and it's set in the 50s, and fits into that period quite well.

A federal marshal, the protagonist of the story, comes to an island with another federal marshal. The island is an isolated and secretive institution for the criminally insane. And there is something hinky going on there. The marshals have to investigate, but not reveal our protagonist's more personal reason for the visit. A hurricane makes everything more difficult.

I was not expecting the ending I got, and the book was all the better for that. Perhaps readers more astute than I will have guessed what happened, but I didn't.

The plot was strong, and I loved the noir pulp fiction flavor. If you like a bit of retro writing with your psychological thrillers, I think you'll enjoy this one. ( )
  TooBusyReading | Jun 30, 2019 |
I have to say, I was a little underwhelmed and I think it’s because of the hype. When I picked this up to read, many people told me how much they loved this book and what a great psychological thriller it was, so I had (perhaps unreasonably) high expectations.

I knew there had to be a big twist coming and while I did not guess all of the details, the twist itself didn’t really come as a huge shock. Rather, the whole thing was a bit of a let down. Sometimes, it really is better to go into something completely blind, with no expectations at all. Maybe I’ll feel differently in the morning, when I’ve had time to ruminate about what I’ve read, but as of right now, I feel rather “meh” about it. ( )
  DGRachel | Apr 2, 2019 |
Loved it. It's preposterous. Ridiculous even. But what a fun read. ( )
  authenticjoy | Mar 29, 2019 |
Wow wow wow and once again: Wow! I've got no other words to describe it! A thrilling and straightforward book with an unexpected ending! A thought-provoking novel. For all lovers of psychology. It is highly recommended! There are shocking parts in the book but it's worth everything, and it's part of the experience! ( )
  mazalbracha | Mar 21, 2019 |
Shutter Island presents itself as a thriller novel with a kind of noir vibe to the story-telling. Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of the psychiatry and psychosurgery, the novel takes place in a remote location with two men relying on one another in an extreme situation. Though they are given due courtesy as U.S Marshals, it is clear from the outset that they are intruders upon the island and the environment of the hospital.

During the course of the novel, we are given glimpses into Teddy Daniels’ character in a manner that should allow the reader to infer that the story is just as much a love story as it is a crime novel. Teddy Daniels has been devastated by the death of his wife and spends just as much time remembering her in various ways as he does trying to solve the riddle of the missing patient.

The novel does a wonderful job of presenting you with a character who is driven, but flawed. Each moment he is not focusing on the task at hand, Teddy’s thoughts are always drawn back to Dolores and his fervent wish that her loss would just fade from him, become less sharp and immediate. But also, we are given the sense that diminishing her is the last thing he would want.

Chuck’s narrative is non-existent due to the third person limited viewpoint, but he is often in contrast to Teddy in the sense that he is charming, well liked, and easy going. He plays more of a side-kick role to Teddy as the lead in the book more than anything. This isn’t to say the character isn’t well thought out, he is. It is just that he exists only as the rock against which Teddy can break himself upon during their dialogue.

For those that have already seen the film adaption, I would recommend picking up the book anyway, as the insight into Teddy’s character seen through the immediate eyes of his loss is worth experiencing despite full knowledge of the plot. ( )
  Lahkesis | Mar 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)
Moving out from the working-class Boston neighborhoods where his hard-boiled private eyes and blue-collar cops normally conduct their realistic business, Dennis Lehane takes a leap into unknown genre territory in SHUTTER ISLAND (Morrow, $25.95). But whichever genre he's aiming for in this misguided effort -- psychological suspense, cold war thriller or Grand Guignol melodrama -- he misses it by a nautical mile.
 
The primary force of this book comes from Teddy's grief and his anguished memories of World War II, when he helped liberate inmates at Dachau. ... But its hidden power has a different source: Mr. Lehane's insight into his book's most disturbed figures. Suffice it to say that this is a deft, suspenseful thriller that unfolds with increasing urgency until it delivers a visceral shock in its final moments. When it comes to keeping readers exactly where he wants them, Mr. Lehane offers a bravura demonstration of how it's done.
added by eromsted | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Apr 17, 2003)
 
Verano de 1954. El agente federal Teddy Daniels llega a Shutter Island, isla en la que está ubicado el hospital Ashecliffe, un centro penitenciario para enfermos mentales. Junto con su compañero, Chuck Aule, se propone encontrar a una paciente desaparecida, una asesina llamada Rachel Solando, a medida que un huracán azota la isla. No obstante, nada es lo que parece en el hospital Ashecliffe. Y Teddy Daniels tampoco.¿Ha ido hasta allí para encontrar a una paciente desaparecida? ¿O le han enviado para investigar los rumores acerca de los radicales métodos psiquiátricos que se utilizan en esa institución? Unos métodos que posiblemente incluyan la experimentación con drogas, pruebas quirúrgicas terribles, contraataques mortales en la guerra encubierta en contra de los lavados de cerebro soviéticos...
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia
 
Lehane takes a departure form his regular series and takes us to Shutter Island. This is a book that stretched both the author and the reader.

Lehane called his book, homage to gothic, but also homage to B Movies and Pulp!" Teddy is on Shutter Island to find a missing mental patient. As you travel with Teddy the story becomes more and more about Teddy than about the missing mental patient. The job of the reader is to decide what is real and what is make-believe as you travel with the main character Teddy. You hear the whispering echoes of the past as you find more and more clues. All illusions of control and all surefooted terrain ware away as you get deeper and deeper into the twists of the story.

The context of the book has been written once, and then written completely anew, and then twisted once again the third go around of writing this twisted tale. The story line however stays constant and helps one misunderstand the novel. You will read yourself to a knotted rope, for the author has left enough chords to twist around your neck and hang yourself by. Breathing becomes something you need to remind yourself to do as you get caught up in the current of Shutter Island.

The story looks at mental health treatments of the past compared to what methods are used today. Lehane asks his readers, "What is the fine line between treatment and sterilization of the mind?

Enjoy the twisted mind of Dennis Lehane in his book Shutter Island, A definite cluck cluck cluck.
 
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Epigraph
. . . must we dream our dreams and have them, too?

--Elizabeth Bishop,
"Questions of Travel"
Dedication
For Chris Gleason and Mike Eigen. Who listened. And heard. And sometimes carried.
First words
FROM THE JOURNALS OF DR. LESTER SHEEHAN

May 3, 1993

I haven't laid eyes on the island in several years.
Quotations
Teddy said, "Who's "she"? Where did "she" come from, Chuck?" - "There's always a she, isn't there?"
Waking, after all, was an almost natal state. You surfaced without a history, then spent the blinks and yawns reassembling your past, shuffling the shards into chronological order before fortifying yourself for the present.
"How many psychiatrists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?" - "I don't know. How many?" - "Eight." - "Why?" - "Oh, stop overanalyzing it."
Charm was the luxury of those who still believed in the essential rightness of thing. In purity and picket fences.
He struck Teddy as the kind of guy who needed watching, too secure in his own fulfillment of his parents' wildest dreams.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
One of the editions has the ISBN and cover for Mystic River, not Shutter Island.
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The story takes place in 1954 on Shutter Island, home to a psychiatric hospital called Ashecliffe. U.S. Deputy Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule investigate the disappearance of a patient, Rachel Solando, who had committed multiple murders. The deputy marshals search the island for the patient as a hurricane bears down on them, and they find that the hospital has practiced sinister measures during its existence.
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