Shutter Island

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For the film based on the book, see Shutter Island (film).
Shutter Island
Shutter Island book cover.jpg
First edition
Author Dennis Lehane
Country United States
Language English language
Genre Gothic, Psychological Horror, Crime
Publisher William Morrow
Publication date
April 15, 2003
Media type Print (Mass)
Pages 380
ISBN 0-688-16317-3
OCLC 51969184
813/.54 21
LC Class PS3562.E426 S55 2003

Shutter Island is a best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane, published by Harper Collins in April 2003. A film adaptation was released in February 2010. Lehane has said he sought to write a novel that would be an homage to Gothic settings, B movies, and pulp. He described the novel as a hybrid of the works of the Brontë sisters and the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. His intent was to write the main characters in a position where they would lack 20th century resources such as radio communications. He also structured the book to be more taut than his previous book, Mystic River.[1]

Lehane was inspired by the hospital and grounds on Long Island in Boston Harbor for the model of the hospital and island. Lehane had visited it in the Blizzard of 1978 as a child with his uncle and family.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

In 1954, widower U.S. Marshal Edward "Teddy" Daniels and his new partner Chuck Aule go to Shutter Island on a ferry boat to the home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane to investigate the disappearance of a patient, Rachel Solando, who has escaped the hospital and apparently the desolate island despite having been kept in a locked cell under constant supervision.

Visiting Rachel's room, Teddy and Chuck discover a code that Teddy believes points to a 67th patient, when there are allegedly only 66. Teddy also reveals to Chuck that he is there to avenge the death of his wife Dolores, who was murdered two years prior by one of the inmates, Andrew Laeddis. The novel is interspersed with graphic descriptions of World War II and Dachau which Teddy helped to liberate. After a hurricane hits the island, Teddy and Chuck investigate Ward C, where Teddy believes government experiments with psychotropic drugs are being conducted. One inmate tells Teddy that Chuck is not to be trusted.

As Teddy and Chuck return to the main hospital area, they are separated. Teddy discovers an ex-psychiatrist, who says she is the real Rachel Solando, hiding in sea caves. She explains that he has no friends on the island and is himself a prisoner. She warns him to be careful that food, medication, even cigarettes he has taken have been laced with psychotropic drugs. Upon returning to the hospital, Teddy cannot find Chuck and is told he had no partner. He escapes and makes his way to the lighthouse to rescue Chuck where he believes the experiments take place. He reaches the top of the lighthouse and finds only hospital administrator Dr. Cawley seated at a desk. Cawley tells Teddy that he is in fact Andrew Laeddis (an anagram of Edward Daniels) and that he has been a patient at Shutter Island for two years for murdering his wife, Dolores Chanal (an anagram of Rachel Solando), after she murdered their three children, Edward, Daniel, and Rachel.

Andrew/Teddy refuses to believe this and takes extreme measures to disprove it, grabbing what he thinks is his gun and tries to shoot Dr. Cawley; but his firearm is merely a toy water pistol. The man he thinks is Chuck then enters, revealing that he is actually Andrew's psychiatrist, Dr. Lester Sheehan. He is told that Dr. Cawley and Chuck/Sheehan have devised this treatment to allow him to live out his elaborate fantasy, in order to confront the truth, or else undergo a radical lobotomy treatment. Teddy/Andrew finally realizes that he killed his wife and his service as a US Marshal was a long time ago. This breakthrough seems promising for his recovery.

The next morning Andrew/Teddy wakes up, leaves the dorm and sits outside on the hospital steps. Chuck/Dr. Sheehan sits next to him. Andrew/Teddy says to Chuck/Sheehan, "I don't know, Chuck. You think they're onto us?" Chuck/Sheehan replies: "Nah. We're too smart for that." Chuck/Sheehan signals to Dr. Cawley and the guards that he believes the treatment was unsuccessful. Dr. Cawley and the orderlies approach Andrew/Teddy as he says "Yeah, we are aren't we?"

The ending of the novel is unclear as to which "reality" is true. It is unclear whether he has truly regressed, or if he wishes to "die" (at the very least, lose his ability for conscious thought, through lobotomy) in order to avoid living with the knowledge that his wife murdered their children and he is her murderer.

Adaptations[edit]

Film[edit]

Main article: Shutter Island (film)

The novel has been adapted into a film by director Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Teddy Daniels, Mark Ruffalo as Chuck Aule, Ben Kingsley as Dr. Cawley, and Max von Sydow as Dr. Naehring.

The film was originally scheduled to be released by Paramount Pictures on October 2, 2009, in the United States and Canada.[3] Paramount later announced it was going to push back the release date to February 19, 2010;[4] reports attribute the pushback to Paramount's not having "the financing in 2009 to spend the $50 to $60 million necessary to market a big awards pic like this," DiCaprio's unavailability to promote the film internationally, and Paramount's hope that the economy might rebound enough by February 2010 that a film geared toward adult audiences would be more viable financially.[5]

The film opened #1 at the box office with $41 million, according to studio estimates. The movie gave Scorsese his best box office opening yet.

The film remained #1 in its second weekend with $22.2 million. Eventually, the film grossed $128,012,934 in North America and $166,790,080 in foreign markets, for a total of $294,803,014, becoming Scorsese's highest-grossing film worldwide until The Wolf of Wall Street.

Audiobook[edit]

The HarperCollins audiobook version of the novel is read by David Strathairn.

The Audible Audio Edition version of the novel is read by Tom Stechschulte.

Graphic novel[edit]

The story has also been reworked into a graphic novel published by William Morrow, with art by Christian de Metter (ISBN 0-06-196857-9).[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dave Weich. "Dennis Lehane meets the Bronte Sisters". Powell's Books. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  2. ^ Symkus, Ed, "Real local flavor on display in 'Shutter Island'", The Patriot Ledger, Feb. 19, 2010
  3. ^ McClintock, Pamela (February 13, 2008). "'Star Trek' pushed back to 2009". Variety. Retrieved February 13, 2008. 
  4. ^ Comingsoon.net
  5. ^ Finke, Nikki (August 21, 2009). "SHOCKER! Paramount Moves Scorsese's 'Shutter Island' To February 19, 2010". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved Oct 29, 2009. 
  6. ^ Boucher, Geoff (January 1, 2010). "'Shutter Island' is a different nightmare in graphic novel form". Hero Complex (Los Angeles Times). Retrieved January 3, 2010. 

External links[edit]