Sarah's Reviews > The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford by Ron Hansen
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's review
Oct 07, 2011

it was amazing
Read from August 22 to October 06, 2011

This book is amazing. I was prejudiced because the film is one of my all-time favorites, and I couldn't help but imagine the breathtaking cinematography and beautiful soundtrack while reading.

I did find it slow at parts, and took me a lot longer to get through than I thought, but it was a slow burn - like the film - and a truly rewarding experience.

I love Ron Hansen's characterizations and narration and just how he uses words. It's an American mythology, a Shakespearean tragedy of the highest caliber.

I am very fond of novels with lots of narration and prose, and the voice of this book is aloof and detached as it views the characters and their lives from up above, but at the same time it gets heartbreaking and visceral and textural.

The two main characters, Jesse and Bob, are so complex and rich. Especially Bob. The storytelling has so many levels/layers. The title alone has so many ways to look at it. When viewed as heroes you hate them, and as villains you feel sorry for them. I suppose that's just human nature, since this was about two real, deeply flawed people.

And while I can't tell what's true and what's not, I appreciate that Mr. Hansen did a lot of research, and took what he did from newspapers and accounts from the time period, and used them to bring to life this world from so long ago.

Anyways, that was rambling, but bottom line is I really enjoyed this book, and it will stick with me for a while.

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