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  • Small Mercies

  • A Novel
  • Written by: Dennis Lehane
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Small Mercies

Written by: Dennis Lehane
Narrated by: Robin Miles
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Publisher's Summary

Instant New York Times Bestseller

Small Mercies is thought provoking, engaging, enraging, and can’t-put-it-down entertainment.”—Stephen King

The acclaimed New York Times bestselling writer returns with a masterpiece to rival Mystic River—an all-consuming tale of revenge, family love, festering hate, and insidious power, set against one of the most tumultuous episodes in Boston’s history.

In the summer of 1974 a heatwave blankets Boston and Mary Pat Fennessy is trying to stay one step ahead of the bill collectors. Mary Pat has lived her entire life in the housing projects of “Southie,” the Irish American enclave that stubbornly adheres to old tradition and stands proudly apart.

One night Mary Pat’s teenage daughter Jules stays out late and doesn’t come home. That same evening, a young Black man is found dead, struck by a subway train under mysterious circumstances.

The two events seem unconnected. But Mary Pat, propelled by a desperate search for her missing daughter, begins turning over stones best left untouched—asking questions that bother Marty Butler, chieftain of the Irish mob, and the men who work for him, men who don’t take kindly to any threat to their business.

Set against the hot, tumultuous months when the city’s desegregation of its public schools exploded in violence, Small Mercies is a superb thriller, a brutal depiction of criminality and power, and an unflinching portrait of the dark heart of American racism. It is a mesmerizing and wrenching work that only Dennis Lehane could write.

©2023 Dennis Lehane (P)2023 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Small Mercies

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best book I’ve listened to in a long time!

Great narration! This book was very engaging…very funny & and great listen. It’s been awhile since I’ve really found something I enjoyed but this did it

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I expected more

3.75 stars rounded up to 4.

This was my first book by this author, even though I do own older titles, especially “Mystic River” (one of my favourite movies), and I was hooked from the beginning.
But I do have mixed feelings about this work. I was expecting to love it. Everyone told me I would.
The setting is Boston, summer of 1974.
I think that the racial slurs and the use of the “f” word may be a turn off for some readers.
There are some scenes involving physical violence.
I liked the slow development.
The main character, Mary Pat, is an ass kicker, bulldozer white woman (and very unrealistic, at least for me).
Engaging as it was, hence my ratings, I didn’t think that this was an extraordinary and unforgettable story.

I do recommend the audiobook, which I listened as I read the ebook edition.

E-book (Kobo): 281 pages (default), 87k words (out of which 319 are the “f” word and 19 the “n” word - so it doesn’t look so bad taking into consideration the total num number of words that this book has).

Audiobook narrated/performed by Robin Miles: 10.4 hours (normal speed)

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Surpassing Tender Tragedy

This is a powerful book and although set in 1974 speaks to us today of the way people are conditioned to hate and to fear other groups of people. As a teenager from the Northern bush of Canada, I visited Boston for a week in the summer of 1974. As my hosts showed me around, I was forever imprinted with the strangeness of the city's segregation. Driving along the streets in Roxbury, and seeing only African Americans was juxtaposed in a five minute drive to a bakery in Southey where every person there, staff and customers (I do not lie) had pale white skin, blue eyes and red hair. Small mercies has helped me to understand that world a little. Mary Pat is a strong woman who, when faced with tragedy, is willing to face not only her own failings but the failings of the society around her. Her spirit will live with me always.
Don't take my word, read it, read it, read it.
The narrator is amazing, accents and tones and emotional cadence!

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3 people found this helpful