Skip to main content

CR3 #41: When the Women Come Out to Dance by Elmore Leonard

If it weren't for Timothy Olyphant, I never would have picked up this book.

Let me clarify: I started watching Justified on FX because Timothy Olyphant is basically sex on a stick. It turned out the show is actually pretty awesome, and not JUST because of Olyphantastic, there. It's a well-written show with some truly fascinating characters, set in an unfamiliar but richly detailed world.

I noticed recently while watching a note saying the show was "Based on the short story 'Fire in the Hole' by Elmore Leonard." I figured that since I enjoy the show so much, I should give the source material a chance.

Lucky me!

This collection of short stories by Elmore Leonard is exactly what a short collection should be: each piece is a small, detailed, stand-alone world. The characters, though briefly sketched, definitely come alive. We find the first run-in between Marshall Raylan Givens and his childhood friend and current target Boyd Crowder (basically the pilot episode of Justified, with a slightly different ending). There's a run-in between Karen Sisco (played on the big screen by Jennifer Lopez in Out of Sight) and a new boyfriend. There are other stories, nearly all of which could easily be expanded into films or TV shows. Leonard's writing is interesting, funny, and to the point. Most of the stories are set in the west, either in the past or modern times.

I often have trouble with short stories, because they either are too short and I find them unfulfilling, or they are trying too hard to be "artistic" and miss out on being GOOD STORIES. Leonard has avoided both of those pitfalls--although I would have been happy to follow almost all of these characters beyond their stories, each story was put together in such a way that I didn't feel I was being shortchanged when the end came.

I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys well-written short stories, or to anyone who likes old-school stories of the American west.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CR3 # 17: Mount Misery by Samuel Shem

Mount Misery is the sequel to Samuel Shem's first book, House of God (review here). It follows Dr. Roy Basch as he leaves the House of God and moves to psychiatric hospital Mount Misery to begin his psychiatric residency. Unfortunately, it turns out that psychiatrists are just as crazy, confused, and often detrimental as medical doctors. As Dr. Basch cycles through the various sectors of the hospital (talk therapy, admissions, Freudian Analysis, drug therapy) he is horrified to discover that it seems everything he is being taught is not only wrong, but potentially dangerous. He begins to fall into terrible patterns of behavior, mirroring the problems his patients are having. Each area is worse than the last, with one doctor who thinks the best way to treat is to be aggressively hostile, one who cares only about insurance premiums and efficiency, one who treats with silence and "regression," and one who thinks the only viable treatment is to pump every patient full of exp…

CR3 #30: The First Wives Club by Olivia Goldsmith

I saw the movie of The First Wives Club before I read the book. It's a cute chick flick, in which scorned women take comedic revenge on their former spouses. They become better friends and everyone winds up happy in the end. I was somewhat surprised (though not much--the differences between film and literature are often wide) at how different the book was--I am used to changes in plot or small character changes (combining two characters into one, or perhaps changing to a more pleasant ending) but the major change here between novel and movie was the tone.

The story is basically the same; After a close friend's suicide, three middle-aged female friends get together and beginning reviewing their lives. They realize that much like their late friend, they have been screwed over by the men in their lives--the men used them to get to their high social and financial positions, then screwed them over both personally and financially. The three women decide to use their wits and their co…

CBR9 #6: Crystal Flowers: Poems and a Libretto by Florine Stettheimer

I love traveling alone, and one of the things I like to do on my trips is go to museums. I just dig learning things I didn't know, I guess. The problem--when it comes to cities I've visited before--is that I have often already seen the better-known museums. And when it comes to New York City, I've worked my way through MOMA, the Met, the Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim, and several of the other most well-known institutions. So this last time I visited, I decided to branch out and visit a couple I'd never heard of before.

One of the three museums I visited on my last trip was The Jewish Museum of New York City. Now before you ask, I'm not Jewish. But like I said, I enjoy learning things, and this museum just happened to be near the location of a theater where I was going to be seeing a show in the afternoon.

It was a Friday afternoon in August, and when I arrived, I was informed that due to renovations, only one exhibit would be open. I was disappointed, b…