Saturday, February 06, 2010

A Painted House

While yours truly awaits the arrival of the books mentioned in last weekend's post, the page turner in our humble abode these last few days has been John Grisham's 2001 novel "A Painted House."

I bought it when it was new and read a couple of chapters before the events of that year got me off my reading routine.

Anyway, I rediscovered it this week, retrieving it from the attic bookshelf to find it was not hard to get re-immersed in the narrative.

This book represented a departure for Grisham, in that it is NOT a formulaic legal "thriller."

Still, he doesn't exactly stretch himself. The book is set in the rural South of his childhood, and seems at times like a very thinly veiled autobiography.

It tells the story of struggling cotton farmers in the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, from the point of view of a 7-year-old boy; and was later adapted as a made-for-TV movie. (No, I didn't watch it.)

It would appear from this (and more recent writings) that Mr. Grisham has some Faulknerian aspirations--at the very least. He also makes an outright reference to an even earlier icon of Southern literature, Tom Sawyer's white-washed fence. It must be frustrating for such a talented writer to be (forever?) pigeon-holed in the legal thriller genre. At least he can be frustrated and rich, no?!?

Anyway, it made for a quick and entertaining read, a good "filler" until those other books arrive . . .

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