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A Painted House by John Grisham

A Painted House (2001)

by John Grisham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Very good read. Set in Arkansas in 1952 on a poor cotton farm during the harvest, the author tells the story via a 7yo boy and gets it perfect. A hill family and some Mexican migrant workers are hired on to pick the cotton, and there are two dangerous men among them. Luke sees things he shouldn't, starts keeping secrets, and then the floods come. A lot of twists and turns that keep you turning the page to see what happens next. Much better than the latter literature books that I read (Bleachers and Calico Joe). ( )
  nancynova | May 12, 2016 |
I've read a lot of Grisham's books, all highly entertaining and I think well written, but forgettable somehow. I can't even remember without really thinking hard which ones I HAVE read. Except this little book didn't fit his usual - I remember it well and enjoyed it immensely, a wonderful story. Another book that put me there. ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
This is a true departure from his legal thrillers. Nary an attorney in sight, no courts, no Mafia, no big sinister corporations - just the languorous heat of an Arkansas delta summer-fall, and a crop of cotton to get picked before the weather turns nasty and 6 months of hard back-breaking work are washed away. Luke, at age 7, is a marvelous narrator. The characters are so life-like. Grisham can't completely abandon murder and intrigue, but it is just a small part of the whole here. Our book club really enjoyed this book. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 22, 2016 |
This was such a wonderful book to read and it was such a departure from Grisham's usual fare. I loved it. It created an atmosphere. The style was wonderful. ( )
  bcrowl399 | Jun 26, 2015 |
Read 04-12-2015
  trexm5qp7 | Apr 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Grishamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dobner, TullioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents, Weez and Big John,
with love and admiration
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The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
For seven-year-old Luke Chandler, 1952 is proving to be a year filled with secrets. Heavily in debt and renting some of the most flood-prone land in Arkansas, his family must do whatever it takes to bring in a good cotton crop this yar. But Luke witnesses things that could threaten his famiy's entire community. A forbidden love affair is brewing between two of the Chandlers' migrant workers. Two brutal murders are committed. A fatherless baby is born. And someone has secretly begun painting the Chandler's dilapidated farmhouse, whose weathered clapboards make Luke's mother look wistfully on the missed opportunities of life. Beautifully evoking an extraordinary time and place, A Painted House has captivated millions of readers. Depicting aspects of family, community, trust, and faith through the eyes of a charming little boy.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385337930, Paperback)

Ever since he published The Firm in 1991, John Grisham has remained the undisputed champ of the legal thriller. With A Painted House, however, he strikes out in a new direction. As the author is quick to note, this novel includes "not a single lawyer, dead or alive," and readers will search in vain for the kind of lowlife machinations that have been his stock-in-trade. Instead, Grisham has delivered a quieter, more contemplative story, set in rural Arkansas in 1952. It's harvest time on the Chandler farm, and the family has hired a crew of migrant Mexicans and "hill people" to pick 80 acres of cotton. A certain camaraderie pervades this bucolic dream team. But it's backbreaking work, particularly for the 7-year-old narrator, Luke: "I would pick cotton, tearing the fluffy bolls from the stalks at a steady pace, stuffing them into the heavy sack, afraid to look down the row and be reminded of how endless it was, afraid to slow down because someone would notice."

What's more, tensions begin to simmer between the Mexicans and the hill people, one of whom has a penchant for bare-knuckles brawling. This leads to a brutal murder, which young Luke has the bad luck to witness. At this point--with secrets, lies, and at least one knife fight in the offing--the plot begins to take on that familiar, Grisham-style momentum. Still, such matters ultimately take a back seat in A Painted House to the author's evocation of time and place. This is, after all, the scene of his boyhood, and Grisham waxes nostalgic without ever succumbing to deep-fried sentimentality. Meanwhile, his account of Luke's Baptist upbringing occasions some sly (and telling) humor:

I'd been taught in Sunday school from the day I could walk that lying would send you straight to hell. No detours. No second chances. Straight into the fiery pit, where Satan was waiting with the likes of Hitler and Judas Iscariot and General Grant. Thou shalt not bear false witness, which, of course, didn't sound exactly like a strict prohibition against lying, but that was the way the Baptists interpreted it.
Whether Grisham will continue along these lines, or revert to the judicial shark tank for his next book, is anybody's guess. But A Painted House suggests that he's perfectly capable of telling an involving story with nary a subpoena in sight. --James Marcus

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:46 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers-and two very dangerous men-came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke's world. A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born ... and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives-and change his family and his town forever ...… (more)

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