Thursday, March 8, 2007

A Painted House -- John Grisham

I first encountered this modern example of American literature when it was published in serial form in Oxford American Magazine. An avid Grisham fan for several years, I subscribed for the duration of the serial just to read the real first edition of A Painted House.

Some Grisham readers may be skeptical because of the lack of lawyers and courts and such, but don’t sell him short. Grisham really understands the mid-twentieth century southern mindset. He captures Arkansas cotton farmers’ lives with a note of nostalgia that would make even someone raised in a different part of the country, in a different era, in a different culture feel right at home.

Seven-year-old Luke Chandler narrates this tale of one year when everything seemed to work against his family—nature, migrant workers, family, even baseball were trying to destroy Luke’s way of life. And through it all he learned about life, love, and relationships.
With A Painted House, Grisham finds his literary voice (often missing in some of the courtroom drama). This is his best writing to date, even better than A Time to Kill—his first, most poignant effort . . . until now.

—Benjamin Potter, March 2007

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