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Publisher's Summary

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 80 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, one another. 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.

©2001 Belfry Holdings, Inc. (P)2001 Random House, LLC

Critic Reviews

"...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)

What listeners say about A Painted House

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    3 out of 5 stars

did not enjoy the narrator

struggled to finish this book, not one of Gresham 's best and the narrator does it no good.

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  • David C.
  • 12-02-15

Great writer with great characters

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. Grisham is one of few great modern writers who maintains quality writing with many varied themes. Not just legal jurist themes but baseball, Italy or in this case a poor cotton farming family struggling through the picking season, divergent migrant and local hired hands and family differences. Many modern writers seem to get lazy with their success in writing-following old themes, well worn characters and shorter novels

What other book might you compare A Painted House to, and why?

Grapes of Wrath. Patiently builds characters of interest and depth to whom you have a genuine sympathy

Which character – as performed by David Lansbury – was your favourite?

The boy protagonist

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No - too big and rich-enjoyed coming back to it like an old friend

4 people found this helpful

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  • steve
  • 10-13-20

A time consuming ramble

went on and on and didn't get anywhere. Love JG but this was just a ramble. Not his best work

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-06-20

Nice easy but engaging

Story is very well written and read, quite engaging but at the same time does not feel overwhelming. Story it self is quite interesting and feels believable, emotions of the narrator who is a 7 year old boy are well expressed and translated to make it relevant to us the readers. Do recommend!

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  • Dolly McLaughlin
  • 11-03-19

Beautiful book. A peek at 1950 s farming life USA

All through the eyes of a small boy and the secrets he had to keep. Brilliant. My first Grisham novel. Will I like the others? They look different. Took a while to adjust to the narrator. All in all he did a good job though. Highly recommended.

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  • Brombo
  • 08-19-19

1950's soap drama

Well written as you'd expect and well narrated but there's not much a story here. Small talk, small town, small lives in yesterday America.

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  • Stephen
  • 02-01-19

Superb story, brilliant performance!

I read this book a few years back and absolutely loved it. I was worried the imagery and characters would seem different when read by someone else. I needn't have worried, this is a rich and warm performance of one of my favourite John Grisham stories....absolutely brilliant!

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  • Ginger
  • 05-01-18

A vivid account

John Grisham made this account of rural life in the 1950s in Arkansas as gripping as his other novels. A good story and an education in other lives in other times