Shutter Island

Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane Shutter Island was written as though begging to become a screenplay; it reads almost like a novelization. It is very visual in its setting, character movements (the constant hand gestures & facial twitches are dizzying) & dream sequences. "Film me!" it cries out, "FILM ME!"

It is not, however, a terrible book. It is an interesting & quick read, yet it follows suit with so many other recent screenplays that it soon becomes predictable.

Two things could have made this book: better writing & a better use of the paranoia of the 1950s. The writing is really quite bad, as though each sentence was tossed off & never looked at again. Some sections read better than others so that indeed some parts were given more attention, but then the overall text is uneven. The dialogue is at times quite bad though mostly standard fare. As for the use of communist paranoia, it is simply tossed out there when convenient, teaching us nothing of what the decade was like.

Despite these comments I was at times drawn into the narrative. I thought that Cawley was well delineated, & the balance between evil doctor & sympathetic friend was well done, making him more dimensional & adding to the mystery of the plot & the question of whose side is he really on. The warden too was well drawn. It is not a bad book overall, but not one I would recommend. I'm curious about the upcoming Scorsese movie; maybe I'll rent it some time.