of late,(ever since his foray into non-fiction territory with
"the innocent man,that is) grisham seems to come across as if
he's made bringing out the not-so-apparent flaws in the us
judicial system his own personal mission,for better or worse.so
even though cosmetically,ford county stories might not make any
ostentations towards that front,the backdrop actually does
continue in the same vein.however,whether it's because it's a
collection of stories and not a full fledged novel,or the result
of some form of delibration on grisham's part,the overall
impact,isn't as grim as some of his recent works have
been.instead,grisham's stories,set in fictional factions of small
town america,have a very soulful feel to them,staying in the
reader's consciousness for long after the read.
the first story,blood drive is a humorous tale of the melee when a trio of unfortunately semi-educated but good natured youngsters,set off to help their fellow villager who needs blood.though that's 50 pages of a mish-mash of state laws,dumb people and the resultant chaos,it's the second story,"fetching raymond",that starts to really make an impact.it speaks of a convict who after spending the better part of a decade on death row and is now nearing execution,who,actually looks like he hasn't committed the crime that he's convicted of(murdering a police officer),but around whom,the vicious claws of the state law are about to clamp since he was a history sheeter,a common criminal who's done the rounds of the county jail for various offences.the story points out how in some cases,the very law that is designed the way it is to ensure a modicum of security and peace for the general populace turns draconian in it's wake.
while of the later stories,some readers might like "casino",which reiterates the all too familiar refrain of many a housewife around the world,who might've,for the choices they've made out of love,found themselves rotting in the surreal loop of routine life.here,though the story doesn't harp on the skewed moral equilibrium of stella's choices when she leaves her husband sydney out of the blue,but rather focuses on how the sudden thrust into the chaotic emotions of loss ,betrayal,anger that constitute a break-up turn sydney inadvertently into discovering his talent for blackjack and how through it he literally single-handedly demolishes the local con-man,with whom his wife happens to hook up with.convenient like an eighties action flick and as much a stretch,the story nevertheless holds it's own amongst the others.
"micheal's room",describes the resultant output of the mad-as-hell tort-world where a stupid egoistic choice made by an uptight individual spells doom for a poor farmer's son.easily the most heart wrenching of the stories,the tale can make you shed a tear or two.
"quiet haven" offers a very rare view of what goes down in old-age homes and spiffy writing and a slightly twisted end really manages to grip the reader.
it's the story at the end of the book "funny boy" that despite being a tear-jerker would score brownie points with any kind of reader kind of like a movie that balances critical acclaim with popular taste.it deals with this homosexual,affected by hiv,in the final stages of his affliction,adrian keane,who after being an upstart who leaves his hometown clanton for big-city living early on in his career.the story,though not in detail makes an efffort to describe the trouble the earlier generation of homosexuals suffered,not to mention the backlash against them if they happened to be hiv affected.back in his own town after big city living taps out his resources and he can ill afford his own medicines.his family,erring on the side of caution as far as the disease is concerned,petrified that they'd get infected in some way,decide to put him up with an old black woman called emporia.in many ways the character emporia is an embodiment of the now common stereotype of a fat black woman seen in possibly all forms of pop-culture.neverthless,the story manages to correctly portray the unlikely bond formed betweentckground as chwo people as poles apart in terms of background as chalk and cheese,who se fates are entwined in a wicked quirk of circumstances.
As I've stated earllier,this collection of stories by grisham manages to actually connect with the reader,something the author mighn't have done post his dud,"the broker".