It may come as a surprise that the Oscar-nominated movie Crazy Heart, starring Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal, is based on a book. Director Scott Cooper had been planning to make a biopic about Merle Haggard, but couldn’t get the rights. So, he turned to “an obscure novel” (The Salt Lake Tribune), Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb, published in 1987.

Cooper was going to debut the movie at last month’s Sundance festival, but distributor Fox Searchlight decided to try for an Oscar nomination and released it in a limited number of theaters in December (those with a cynical streak will enjoy New York magazine’s article “The Red Carpet Campaign“, which begins by detailing the studio’s effort to get the nods from Oscar).

HarperCollins released a tie-in edition of the book this month (with an audio coming in a couple of weeks). How does it compare to the movie? Dwight Garner wrote about it on the NYT Arts Beat blog, saying,

It’s not the great country music novel the world’s been waiting for – well, I’ve been waiting for it, anyway – but it’s got a deep kind of weatherbeaten charm that can’t be faked, and the love story at its core is genuinely moving. I was sorry when the thing was over…[it] has an amiable, crooked charm that is impossible to deny.


Crazy Heart tie-in
Thomas Cobb
Retail Price: $13.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial – (2010-02-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0060915196 / 9780060915193

Unabridged Audio, Harper Audio, 3/16; 9780062006226; $24.99

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