World Gone By
May 7, 2015
For any aspiring author – or indeed anybody who is fan of exemplary writing – who wants to see the intricacies of plot construction, development, description, dialogue and downright fantastic storytelling, then Dennis Lehane’s latest sojourn into America’s seedier past with World Gone By is pretty much unsurpassable.
Joe Coughlin is untouchable. Once one of America's most feared and prominent gangsters, he now moves effortlessly between the social elite, politicians, police and the mob. He has everything he could possibly want; money, power, a beautiful mistress, and anonymity.
But in a town that runs on corruption, vengeance and greed, success can't protect Joe from the dark truth of his past -- and ultimately, the wages of a lifetime of sin will finally be paid in full.
Following Joe’s exploits several years on from those featured in Live By Night – but by no means a sequel – World Gone By is a master class in deliciously delivered prose that captivates and enthrals from the off. This is largely due to the author’s ability to cut away all of the fat from his writing, so what is left is a lean, a lean, fearsome mesmeric monolith of a novel.
Coughlin is beautifully crafted so that he has now become something of a Jay Gatsby, such is the enigmatic mystique that Lehane has evolved through careful observation of the nuances of not only the real world but also that which he has created for his characters.
Added to this – and the novel’s credibility – is the rip-roaring, yet never overstated dialogue which makes the whole ensemble of brilliance zip along at a lightening pace, yet which marries perfectly with some exquisite descriptive writing that places the reader right in the thick of action which, at times, is an incredibly perilous place to be.
If there is one drawback, it is is some of the less usual “aspects” of the novel – such as the constantly referred to Small Boy – which some may find a little irksome, although these in no way detract from the fact that World Gone By is a near perfect fictional ride through a maelstrom of emotions, that will leave anybody who picks it up waiting with baited breath for Lehane’s next outing.