RARA-AVIS: Cutter and Bone

From: Craig Larson ( CLarson@nhcc.edu)
Date: 24 Aug 2005

Most of the time, I'm a lurker on this list, vicariously taking part in all the great discussions, writing down the titles of books or names of authors I need to look for, etc., but not really reading the kinds of mysteries that really define this list. Well, just recently, I finally read a noirish, hard-boiled, Rara-Avis kind of book, Newton Thornburg's _Cutter and Bone_, and what a book it was. It took me awhile to get into, the characters being rather unsympathetic and hard to relate to. But the mystery of just what Rich Bone might have witnessed the night his car broke down and he was forced to walk home gradually became very compelling. I thought the road trip to middle America and the threatening Midwest types was very well-handled--sort of reminded me of the milk-drinking killers hunting Lee Marvin through the wheat field in the movie _Prime Cut_. And the ending was a real punch in the stomach.

I know I saw the movie _Cutter's Way_ many years ago, but I had to move it to the top of my Netflix queue and compare it to the book. I have to say that, even though I know this film is well-regarded, it was a real disappointment after reading the book. So much of the story was changed, that the movie really bears little connection to the book and it was a really dissatisfying experience. The book was so much stronger, particularly that ending, that the film version pales by comparison. This was the first Thornburg I'd read, but I have several of his books in my TBR pile, so I'll have to give him another try.

Craig Larson Plymouth, MN

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