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Three-Ten To Yuma And Other Stories (2006)

Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories (2006)

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3.93 of 5 Votes: 5
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0061121649 (ISBN13: 9780061121647)

About book Three-Ten To Yuma And Other Stories (2006)

Seven tales of good men in tough situationsWe know all about Elmore Leonard these days, the master of the underworld dialogue and plots like corkscrews. It was a surprise to hear he made his name writing tales of the 19th century western frontier but no surprise at all to find that this early work was very well written and an enjoyable read.I say that but I still don't consider myself a westerns man, the closest I get to that would be drooling over the cinematic achievement of There Will Be Blood, and loving the Altman revisionist western McCabe and Mrs Miller.I wouldn't go so far as to say that these stories were formulaic but once I got a feel for them I knew the general outline of what would come. That's a bit of a drawback, but then a lot of people love to read predictable stories because they're comfortable. It seems odd to describe a collection of stories that feature the deaths of many an innocent and many an outlaw as comfortable but that's the way Leonard structured them.The situations are all different, but the men are the same. These are good men in a place that functions almost without law, where trust is at a premium and greed at an all time high. These are real people so minor acts of heroism are countered by genuine fear, cruelty is seen as a direct result of laziness and greed, strong men are only as strong as the woman they have to support them (a surprising point in a genre that gave us the stereotypical black hats vs white hats amongst others,) and to use the title of an E.L. Doctorow western these early stories of Leonard serve as a Welcome to Hard Times for the western novices amongst us.A word on the title story, having seen the James Mangold remake starring Batman and Gladiator this was not what I was expecting, it's subtle and poses questions about human behaviour, it blurs the lines between what is traditionally considered good and bad men. The movie is a bit of a joke in comparison. I am yet to see the original but I'm sure I will at some point if it's closer to the source material. I'm not sure if I'll read more of the western stories of Leonard but I enjoyed this one enough and will look forward to reading his novel Hombre (it means man, Paul Newman is Hombre! to quote the movie poster.)

Three-Ten to Yuma was recommended to me as a great audiobook. As westerns are not my usual genre, and I have never seen the movie, I was not certain what to expect. What I found was a suspenseful short story that packed a lot of drama into a very small amount of time. As a short story, there is no character development, no big insights into the characters’ thought processes. The entire story itself hinges on one main, rather simplistic, plot point: a sheriff is trying to get his detainee, an infamous outlaw, onto a train without getting killed by the outlaw’s friends or without the detainee escaping. The story itself starts out with no explanation, and the reader is left to fill in the details through clues in the dialogue. There is even the surprise addition of philosophical discussions on why one works and continues in the face of great odds. This discussion helps to build the tension, which increases subtly until it reaches the climactic moment by the train.Henry Rollins is a great choice for narrator of this gruff little story. He does not add nor detract from the unfolding drama. Better yet, his voice contains the perfect world weariness and cynicism to vocalize both the detainee and the sheriff. Short stories and westerns are not my thing, but Three-Ten to Yuma was a great way to break out into a different genre and different format. The story was engaging enough to keep my interest in spite of my dubiousness at the overall subject matter. I felt sympathy for both the sheriff and the detainee, who were both just trying to do their jobs. Three-Ten to Yuma is definitely a little story that packs a punch.

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My first Elmore Leonard, and while I had heard that his writing style was rather pointedly minimalist, I found it so sparse that a couple times I wasn't even sure what had just happened. But I seemed to enjoy the later stories more than those earlier in the book, which may indicate there was a bit of a 'learning curve' to reading his work. Once I got into the stories, it seemed like there was often a small twist at the end that made me think, "THAT was the point of this story?" Different than a lot of short stories I've read in that the twist was so distracting that I didn't wonder what happened to the characters at all; it was almost like the twist completely erased all that had gone before, so I didn’t have any unresolved tension. I don't like feeling manipulated by modern short stories, but I guess I do like the unresolved tension that leaves me thinking about them long after I've stopped reading. For that reason, some of these stories missed their mark for me.Still, I'd probably like to try a novel by Leonard.

I was surprised, and a little disappointed, by how short this was. I'd only seen the Bale/Crowe movie, and I guess I was expecting something of similar scope and scale. Not only does the book itself only cover the story from the hotel to the train (the last twenty or so minutes of the movie), but the characters themselves are different, in name as well as personality. Except for Charlie Prince. Charlie Prince transcends all such substitutions. It works for it's length, though, and packs in a surprising amount of tension and characterization.
—Robert Jones

These stories by Elmore Leonard are all unique and gripping. The fresh language and crisp despcriptions clearly depict the world that his characters are moving through without dating the period within which they were written. I picked up the book because I had seen the new movie with Russell Crowe of the title story and really loved it. I was intrigued and wanted to know where such wonderful characters had sprung from. The short story of "3:10 to Yuma" is different than the movie but you can see the seedlings from which grew the full length movie. And they feel true to eachother.The rest of the stories are equally engrossing and all contain the potential for having movies based on them. If you enjoy westerns you can't miss with this set of short stories.

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