The hill people and the Mexicans arrived on the same day. It was a Wednesday, early in September 1952. The Cardinals were five games behind the Dodgers with three weeks to go, and the season looked hopeless. The cotton, however, was waist-high to my father, over my head, and he and my grandfather could be heard before supper whispering words that were seldom heard. It could be a “good crop.”
Thus begins the new novel from John Grisham, a story inspired by his own childhood in rural Arkansas. The narrator is a farm boy named Luke Chandler, age seven, who lives in the cotton fields with his parents and grandparents in a little house that’s never been painted. The Chandlers farm eighty acres that they rent, not own, and when the cotton is ready they hire a truckload of Mexicans and a family from the Ozarks to help harvest it.
For six weeks they pick cotton, battling the heat, the rain, the fatigue, and, sometimes, each other. As the weeks pass Luke sees and hears things no seven-year-old could possibly be prepared for, and finds himself keeping secrets that not only threaten the crop but will change the lives of the Chandlers forever.
A Painted House is a moving story of one boy’s journey from innocence to experience.
“John Grisham is about as good a storyteller as we’ve got.”—The New York Times Book Review
“The kind of book you read slowly because you don’t want it to end … John Grisham takes command of this literary category just as forcefully as he did legal thrillers with The Firm…. Never let it be said this man doesn’t know how to spin a good yarn.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Characters that no reader will forget. .. prose as clean and strong as any Grisham has yet laid down … and a drop-dead evocation of a time and place that mark this novel as a classic slice of Americana.”—Publishers Weekly
“Some of the finest dialogue of his career … Every detail rings clear and true, and nothing is wasted.”—Seattle Times