Mystic River

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane, 3/5mystic river

I hope Clint Eastwood is considered a “great mind,” because I only found out that he directed a film based on this book after reading it and thinking That felt exactly like a crime/drama/thriller movie starring Sean Penn (ok, maybe not that specific).   It is very well written and dramatic, but I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t so R-rated.  On thinking it over, I guess I have different (more sensitive) standards for books than for movies, which is a new and interesting realisation.



  1. Kevin

    What exactly does a movie feel like relative to a book? I suppose it might help if I had even a hint of what the book was about.


    • omniRambles

      Hmmmm, that’s a difficult question and I think the answer is probably very subjective. For me, the experience of reading and writing about this book highlighted two main differences (besides the simple difference in medium) between how books and movies feel.
      1. Movies tend to leave less to the imagination (requiring a more passive audience) so the characters feel more archetypal. Book characters are usually influenced to a greater extent by the reader, resulting in looser stereotypes and less predictability.
      2. Movies tend to avoid the omniscient narrator mode, whereas this is very commonly used in books. So a bookish book would tell you things that would be difficult or impossible to get across in a movie-ish movie. When a book refrains from telling me all the things, it feels more like a movie to me.

      In the case of Mystic River, a crime/drama/thriller, I more easily identified the characters and scenes with the movie/TV genre than the book one. Now that I’ve thought about it a bit, I realise that this is probably just because I’ve watched a fair amount of crime/drama/thriller TV shows and movies, but read far fewer books (and practically none modern) that fit into this genre. So my brain took some shortcuts of the “that character is played by Edward G. Robinson” variety.


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