Friday, November 07, 2008

No. 35 - Shane

by Jack Schaefer

Started: November 7
Finished: November 9

Notes: If the title of this book means nothing to you, then you're obviously not a great, in-depth student of films about the Old West (not that there's anything wrong with you not being such a fan of the movie genre). This 1949 novel became a pretty famous Western movie in 1953 starring Alan Ladd and Jack Palance. The film is probably best known as sort of the first "quiet stranger comes to town and turns out to be a former gunman and now he has to set things right even though he would rather not have to get violent" Western. Yes, I know that's a long description, but it's also a Western genre nearly in itself. There's probably a shorter title to this subgenre, but if so, it's not one of which I'm aware ("Shane" is not a Spaghetti Western, nor is it really a modernist or post-modernist Western; it fits in well with the Western movies of the 1950s while also precursoring the coming realistic, often violent Westerns of the 1960s and early-to-mid 1970s). Anyway, I haven't read a Western novel in a long while, ran across this one (which is for a movie I like -- can you tell?), and decided to give it a try.

Mini review: Was a little slow the first 50 pages, but picked up nice. Also had a good story without it being just another shoot-em-up. In fact, I think there are only 2 or 3 shots fired in the whole novel, and that's toward the end. Glad I read this one. Gave me even more appreciation for the movie, because I was glad to see the film's creators pretty much stuck with the book.

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