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Cutter and Bone

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  421 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
A thriller, and a whacking good thriller, too—shows how much can be done by a writer who knows his business—the best novel of its kind in ten years!—New York Times

First published in 1976, Cutter and Bone is the story of the obsession of Cutter, a scarred and crippled Vietnam veteran and his attempt to convince his buddy, Bone, that the latter witnessed a murder committed b
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by Serpent's Tail (first published 1976)
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(showing 1-30)
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Bill  Kerwin
Jul 20, 2015 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This crime novel begins in Santa Barbara, in the mid '70's, but this is not the country of Ross Macdonald. Instead, it is the land of Macdonald's lost children, the ones detective Lew Archer pitied and helped but could never quite seem to understand. Those damaged young people have “grown up” now, full of self-destructive impulses and desperate visions: Richard Bone, the feckless gigolo, in flight from the American Dream Achieved (an ad executive position, a wife, two kids); his cynical friend A
Paul Bryant
Fate is a heck of a thing, like an answerless question. It all happened because it couldn't possibly not have happened, the proof of which is : it happened. Thriller writers are in love with fate. Things are meant to turn out in a particular way, their books seem to whisper, in order to demonstrate either moral principles (if written from the point of view of the Party of God) or to demonstrate that life is just messy like that, with wires hanging out, and no neat ends anywhere to be had not for ...more
Richard Vialet
Edit: Just found out that ALL of Newton Thornburg's work was finally released as inexpensive ebooks this year! Check em out on Kindle here for $3 each! He was an important writer and should be rediscovered. Can't wait to jump into more of his work as well.

There is a mystery at the center of this novel. But Cutter and Bone is less of a whodunit and more of a melancholy look at post-Vietnam disillusionment and weariness. The story follows two best friends who couldn't be any more different: Richar
i am stingy with my stars, i admit it. but i read this book twice in a row on first reading, and that means one of two things: i'm not sure how i feel, and i need another go, or i love the book so unabashedly that there is nothing for it but to read it again right away. in this case, cutter and bone kicked my ass, and i'm still sort of reeling.

i read this book a year ago, in june 2010. it's not in my possession anymore, and i gave back my borrowed copy reluctantly. i need to buy it and read it
Krok Zero
Nov 23, 2009 Krok Zero rated it it was amazing
Shelves: winter-10-to-11
I finished this two weeks ago and I can't get it out of my head. The blunt-force terror of the abrupt ending haunts me, the characters and their miseries and their desperation and their awful milieu imprinted on my brain. Newton Thornburg's Cutter and Bone is a bleak masterpiece and I can't recommend it more highly to those of you who are predisposed to love bleak masterpieces. Anyone who doesn't love heroic bleakness, just fuck off.

The cineastes among my GR circle may have seen the 1981 film Cu
Jordan West
Jun 27, 2015 Jordan West rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, read-in-2015
4.5; a masterpiece of despair, disillusionment, and mounting dread. It feels ironically appropriate that I finished it on the 4th of July.
Jan 10, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-novels
A rather good thriller come buddy novel come "road movie" come description of a descent into despair. Difficult to rate because in patches it was brilliant and in patches very much not; with a strong streak of nihilism running through the middle.
The novel centres on two friends and is set in the mid 1970s.Alex Cutter is a Vietnam veteran who is emotionally and physically scarred; missing part of two limbs and one eye; he is the driving force in the book sometimes malevolent, sometimes tender an
May 25, 2016 Aramys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pensaba yo que Thornburg se marcaba con esta novela un relato pulpero de carretera y manta y un par de gorrones forajidos…y no podía estar más equivocado. Cutter y Bone es un relato desgarrador de pérdida; de la pérdida de identidad, de la pérdida de futuro, de amor, de posibilidades; un relato de autodestrucción, de locura, de lo que la guerra de Vietnam escupió de vuelta a casa. Una novela con muchísimo calado, con un estilo fuerte y sólido.

Un retrato de finales de los sesenta alejado del opti
Steve mitchell

Ok since this is a mystery I will be careful, but this a great book, I can't believe I had never heard of it or the author Newton Thornburg.

Cutter and Bone is fantastic, it has everything a superb novel should be; great writing, great characters, great story, it has surprises, heart and empathy, it is believable and very entertaining. I will tell everyone to read this for quite awhile.

Alex Cutter is a cutup, I love this character!

When he crashes his car into a car that is blocking his driveway,
Oct 22, 2009 Johnny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerful book that needs to be rediscovered. The depth and originality of the characters is truly remarkable.

While often categorized as a crime novel (which it is), that is a far too simplistic classification for the book. Crime drives the story in a number of different ways, but that is true with plenty of "literature" that isn't grouped in the slums of genre work.

The moral questions and gray areas of life that give the crime novel its greatest thematic potential (and so often fall short in e
Jan 21, 2009 Gary rated it it was amazing
Possibly my favourite noir novel. This one manages to grab onto a weird brand of post-vietnam American malaise, which brings an extra dimension to the unfolding crime drama.
A Cubierta
May 25, 2016 A Cubierta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This story is very tragic, but not in a boohoo sort of way. Alex Cutter is a Vietnam vet who is badly damaged both physically and psychologically by his war and post-war experiences. Richard Bone is a former corporate exec who reached his "psychological menopause" ten years earlier than most businessmen do. He dropped out of that life and moved to Santa Barbara and became friends with Cutter. The story takes place around 1975, and shows a lot about the culture of Southern Cal and the nation in g ...more
Rory Costello
Jul 24, 2016 Rory Costello rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd heard a good deal about this book, which has a rep as a cult classic. It is deserved. Both of the title characters -- especially Cutter! -- are great creations. The supporting cast is full of other very enjoyable characters too. It's impressive the way the plot snakes back and forth and plays tricks with what the cast and you the reader believe is happening. Yet what I enjoyed most of all was the acid wit. Thornburg etched the whole story with wicked dialogue and description. It reminded me ...more
Jürgen Zeller
Aug 24, 2015 Jürgen Zeller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ich habe das Gefühl, dass zur Zeit viele in Vergessenheit geratene Schriftsteller eine Renaissance erleben und es werden Bücher neu ins Verlagsprogramm aufgenommen, die vor 10, 20 oder 30 Jahren aktuell waren. Beim stöbern bin ich auf dieses Buch mit dem reisserischen Cover gestossen und siehe da, ich fand eine Geschichte die dem Roman-Noir oder da die Handlung in Amerika spielt, verwende ich besser den englischen Ausdruck Hardboiled-Literatur zugeordnet werden kann. Das Original erschien im Jah ...more
Jan 22, 2014 Jay rated it it was amazing
I originally bought this book because every review I read of it talked about how good it was and called it something like a lost classic. When it was first published it got rave reviews and continues to have more popularity in the UK than in the US. When Newton Thornburg died very little mention was made of it in the US but several large obits ran in the UK. With that background, I started to read.

The two primary characters have few admirable qualities, morally or ethically, and the story is mos
Sep 24, 2016 Laurence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, 1001
(4.5 sterren)

Typ Newton Thornburg in op Google, en je komt terecht bij allerlei artikels (deze bijvoorbeeld: link) die de onterechte huidige onbekendheid van deze auteur aanklagen. Ik kan kort zijn: ze hebben gelijk.

Om te beginnen schrijft Thornburg fantastisch. Niet ontzettend literair, al vallen er geregeld mooie zinnen te rapen, maar vooral erg vlot en vloeiend zonder simpel te zijn. Zijn sterkste punt is echter zijn karakteruitwerking. Cutter en Bone zijn zo goed uitgewerkt dat dit geen thri
Chris Gager
May 14, 2012 Chris Gager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another companion read to "Macbeth" as I skimmed quickly through "The 5th Wave"(a dog). Saw the movie "Cutter's Way" long ago and liked it.

Almost finished last night with this VERY depressing book. So far I'd say I like the movie better. It's not as if this is a bad book at all, but such a downer! More later...

In summation... I guess I don't have a lot to say about the book. Both of our "heroes" seem to be depressed and occasionally suicidal. The character of Cutter is kind of one-dimensional; a
Jun 15, 2015 Nan rated it it was amazing
A genuinely extraordinary novel that smashes the neo-noir genre barriers to bits. I have long been a fan of the movie, but I can see why the author was not one; despite superb casting and performances by Jeff Bridges, John Heard, and Lisa Eichhorn, the punch and power of this novel was diminished by the need or desire to wrap things up too early.

There's a great louche quality to this one, and the ending is one of the best endings I've ever read. Do not under any circumstances peek. Truly a wond
Jun 25, 2008 Deanne rated it really liked it
Cracking thriller with some surprising twists and turns. When Bone witnesses a body dump late one night he tells Cutter, a Vietnam vet crippled during the war. Bone doesn't see the face only a silhouette, but later when he thinks he recognises the person in a paper Cutter comes up with a plan.
The result is a book at times funny, at times sad but a great read.
Óscar Brox
May 29, 2016 Óscar Brox rated it it was amazing
Pues eso, una fuckin' masterpiece y la mejor sesión doble posible, junto a Dog Soldiers, de lo que quedó de la América (o de los americanos) post-Vietnam.
Martin Stanley
Nov 02, 2013 Martin Stanley rated it it was amazing
Just brilliant. If you haven't read it, you need to do so at the nearest available opportunity.
Sep 13, 2016 Uri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jan 20, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing
All-time great final paragraph.
Jan 31, 2017 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Billed as a mystery and a thriller, those genre terms do no favors to this novel, nor do they feel accurate. This book is more of a buddy-drama tragicomedy with just the whiff of an unsolved murder to drive the plot forward.

It's about two.... friends?... two men in a weirdly codependent relationship. Bone is a dashing but burned out ex-young executive who left it all behind and can't find where to go next. Cutter is a misanthropic and completely unhinged Vietnam vet and also (I'd argue) one of t
Jesús  Játiva
Jan 05, 2017 Jesús Játiva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
De la colección "al margen" de Sajalín Ediciones he leído algunos libros buenísimos, pero no deja de sorprender cuando te descubren que un autor como este y una novela tan potente como "Cutter y Bone" estaban prácticamente olvidados. Un thriller que nos habla del desencanto de la era post-hippy y las secuelas de la Guerra de Vietnam tanto en la mentalidad americana como sus consecuencias más directas en los veteranos, algo similar a lo que hiciera Tim O'Brien en "The things they carried" pero pa ...more
Joe  Noir
Superlatives fail me. Startlingly original, with awe inspiring characterization. Cutter is a severely wounded Vietnam veteran (he lost one eye, one arm, and one leg), and may or may not be insane. He tries to convince his friend Bone that the strange scene Bone witnessed was actually a murder. Bone is skeptical, but ultimately needs little convincing. The suspect is a corporate fat cat who is rich enough not to be bothered by Cutter and Bone. As Bone falls deeper into Cutter's plan to expose the ...more
Matt Phillips
Dec 19, 2016 Matt Phillips rated it it was amazing
This is pretty much a literary noir masterpiece. Wow. Forgotten master...
Mar 09, 2014 Ffiamma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, ebook
la bislacca amicizia tra due disperati, alexander cutter- reduce del vietnam e mutilato- e richard bone- ex manager di successo, fuggito da una vita opprimente che si mantiene facendo il gigolò è la vera protagonista di questo romanzo in cui la storia (un omicidio forse commesso da un tycoon di provincia in trasferta in california) è il pretesto per raccontare la solitudine, l'emarginazione e la miseria morale che sono il contrario del sogno americano. nei suoi personaggi (ognuno a modo suo grot ...more
Very powerful novel of the post-Vietnam 70s. The story is basically about two dropouts from society - Cutter, a scarred and maimed Vietnam vet and Bone who abandoned his family to drift around California as a gigolo. A very unlikely pair who get involved in a potential blackmail plot of an Arkansas industrialist who may have killed and dumped a young girl in the trash as possibly witnessed by Bone. The novel is full of unforgettable characters and dialog and takes you along a twisted path to a v ...more
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Born in Harvey, Illinois, Thornburg graduated from the University of Iowa with a Fine Arts degree. He worked in a variety of jobs before devoting himself to writing full-time (or at least in tandem with his cattle farm in the Ozarks) in 1973.
His 1976 novel Cutter and Bone was filmed in 1981 as Cutter's Way. The New York Times called Cutter and Bone "the best novel of its kind for ten years." Anoth
More about Newton Thornburg...

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