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A Painted House Paperback – 26 May 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (26 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099537028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099537021
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career--and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, and The Associate) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 250 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500--the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Product Description

Amazon Review

In A Painted House, John Grisham is less concerned with tight plotting and legal shenanigans than with the roots of that country life which taught him much of what he knows about being human. In the early autumn of 1952, seven-year-old Luke Chandler is helping his family pick cotton on his grandfather's Arkansas farm; times are hard--Luke's uncle Ricky is off fighting in Korea and rent on the land, interest on crop loans, is due. Tension abounds--between the hillbilly Spruill family and the Mexican labourers who between them make up the farm's workforce; between the bully Hank Spruill and the Sisco family, one of whom he has killed in a fight; between the Chandlers and their neighbours the Larchers over Libby Larcher's baby--which she claims is Ricky's. This is a tight and yet achingly nostalgic book about growing up and moving on--the few months it covers are ones in which young Luke learns some important lessons about the way of the world, and his place in it. Grisham writes here with a sensitivity and sense of time and place which have not always been his most obvious virtues--it is a remarkable book. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Review

"His best work" (The Times)

"A beguiling and gracefully constructed novel" (Sunday Times)

"Chararacters no reader will forget. And a drop-dead evocation of a time and a place that mark this novel as a classic" (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Mar. 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is not your typical John Grisham book - this will probably not go down too well with his thriller fans. Hence the 3 point rating.
Do not let this put anyone off from buying this compelling novel. Superbly written I personally felt that this is his best piece of work.
Narrated by 7 year old Luke - the reader is taken on a sentimental journey into 50's rural America. On some levels a simple tale but Grisham hooks you from page one and written from the childs perspective the events that unfold (sometimes predictably)have a real heart-pulling and urgent quality.
This is contemporary fiction of the highest order - Simple yet so very effective - a really wonderful novel. This clearly shows the depth of Grishams writting.
Not an intricate law thiller -- Just a brilliant piece of literature. A must buy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
Since the last book I read by Grisham was "The Brethren", widely recognised as a career low for the great man, I picked up this new book with some trepidation. But I need not have worried, and neither should you, unless you're looking for another courtroom drama.
In total contrast, this is a rather episodic tale of a seven-year-old boy growing up on a cotton plantation in the heart of America in the early fifties. It is so vividly written that you feel you are really there. This is obviously written from the heart. The characters are unforgettable, and you may well feel that you want to read the book more than once. In a word, magical.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
Having read quite a few of John Grisham's books in the past I was beginning to find the whole lawyer thing quite tired and boring. When I purchased "A Painted House" I thought I'd give him one more go and then give him up for a lost cause. However I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could not find a lawyer anywhere in in sight! The book is written with tenderness and insight into the hardships of the lives of cotton farmers many years ago. Although it would not fall into the category of your usual "gripping" novel, I just couldn't put this book down and finished it in a weekend. I would imagine that if someone still enjoyed John Grisham's usual style they would be bitterly dissapointed with this book but if you feel the need for something different and more mellow, this book is definitely for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By OllyOctopus on 17 Dec. 2001
Format: Hardcover
Prior to "A Painted House" I had lost interest in John Grisham's books as the last two or three had become very samey and much too far fetched for even a fictional courtroom law drama. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by this novel. In the tradition of Steinbeck (but not a classic) this story of Arkansas farmers and their labourers gripped me from the start. I was fascinated by the traditions of cotton farming, and the hardships experienced by the farmers and labourers alike. The violent episodes were well described, and emotionally, the characters remained with me. I enjoyed this new style by John Grisham very much. But I'm still hoping his future law dramas will have regained the author's edginess I always loved.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jan Erik Frantsvåg on 11 July 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an atypical Grisham, with no lawyers and no courtroom. There is crime, though, and passion.
The story is set in the poor, white south, among cotton farmers in Arkansas, who scrape out a meagre existence on rented land. Success and failure is meted out by the weather, in a good season the burden of debt can be made lighter, a bad season will bring new debt taking years to pay back.
The Chandlers hire Mexicans and a hillbilly family to help out in the harvesting season, which is hard work from early morning to evening, 6 days a week. Passion and conflict stem from these "outside" elements in an otherwise stable, not to say stale, society.
The life on the Chandler farm is seen through the eyes of seven year old Luke, and I think making Luke that young is a major problem with the story. His language and reflections belong to someone some years older, maybe a young teenager.
The book gives an interesting insight in one kind of rural American life, and I will recommend it to anyone who is interested in a slowly unfolding story. If you're looking for fast action, this is not the book for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Feb. 2001
Format: Hardcover
Having read all of J.G's books, I have to say that each (except The Firm) has it's own faults. The Partner has a poor ending, The Street Lawyer a little to perfect etc etc etc.
A painted House is totally different, yet carries the same concepts of all his other legal epics...this is to surprise the reader at the most opportune moment.
A book well worth reading, especially if you like J.G. As John Grisham himself admits, he is not the worlds best author, and neither does he purport to being so, but what he does is produce excellent fictional entertainment in an industry that appeals to many.
As with all of his books, once you pick it up, it's difficult to put down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. P. Short on 15 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a departure from his homeground of US law, one which I had always found highly enjoyable. This book has Grisham returning to his roots in the cotton picking fields of 50's America. Seen through the eyes of a seven year old this is a warm and affectionate look at a family struggling to survive the hardships of those times. The first few chapters don't exactly grab your attention in Grisham's usual way, but soon the characters come to life and the book becomes a joy to read. Don't be put off by the subject matter, if you've read John Grisham before and like him, then you will like this.
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