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Ford County
by John Grisham

Overview - In his first collection of short stories, John Grisham takes us back to Ford County, Mississippi, the setting of his first novel, "A Time to Kill."

Wheelchair-bound Inez Graney and her two older sons, Leon and Butch, take a bizarre road trip through the Mississippi Delta to visit the youngest Graney brother, Raymond, who's been locked away on death row for eleven years.
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More About Ford County by John Grisham
 
 
 
Overview
In his first collection of short stories, John Grisham takes us back to Ford County, Mississippi, the setting of his first novel, "A Time to Kill."

Wheelchair-bound Inez Graney and her two older sons, Leon and Butch, take a bizarre road trip through the Mississippi Delta to visit the youngest Graney brother, Raymond, who's been locked away on death row for eleven years. It could well be their last visit.

Mack Stafford, a hard-drinking and low-grossing run-of-the-mill divorce lawyer, gets a miracle phone call with a completely unexpected offer to settle some old, forgotten cases for more money than he has ever seen. Mack is suddenly bored with the law, fed up with his wife and his life, and makes drastic plans to finally escape.

Quiet, dull Sidney, a data collector for an insurance company, perfects his blackjack skills in hopes of bringing down the casino empire of Clanton's most ambitious hustler, Bobby Carl Leach, who, among other crimes, has stolen Sidney's wife.

Three good ol' boys from rural Ford County begin a journey to the big city of Memphis to give blood to a grievously injured friend. However, they are unable to drive past a beer store as the trip takes longer and longer. The journey comes to an abrupt end when they make a fateful stop at a Memphis strip club.

The Quiet Haven Retirement Home is the final stop for the elderly of Clanton. It's a sad, languid place with little controversy, until Gilbert arrives. Posing as a lowly paid bedpan boy, he is in reality a brilliant stalker with an uncanny ability to sniff out the assets of those "seniors" he professes to love.

One of the hazards of litigating against people in a small town is that one day, long after the trial, you will probably come face-to-face with someone you've beaten in a lawsuit. Lawyer Stanley Wade bumps into an old adversary, a man with a long memory, and the encounter becomes a violent ordeal.

Clanton is rocked with the rumor that the gay son of a prominent family has finally come home, to die. Of AIDS. Fear permeates the town as gossip runs unabated. But in Lowtown, the colored section of Clanton, the young man finds a soul mate in his final days.

Featuring a cast of characters you'll never forget, these stories bring Ford County to vivid and colorful life. Often hilarious, frequently moving, and always entertaining, this collection makes it abundantly clear why John Grisham is our most popular storyteller.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780385532457
  • ISBN-10: 0385532458
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books
  • Publish Date: November 2009
  • Page Count: 308


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Short Stories (single author)

 
BookPage Reviews

Grisham’s quirky short fiction debut

The king of the blockbuster courtroom thriller has succeeded at stepping into a new genre—short fiction—and created seven rich and enticing narratives.   In Ford County, John Grisham’s first collection of stories, we meet a weird and endearing group of misfits with one thing in common: each has lived in Clanton, the seat of fictional Ford County, Mississippi. There’s Sidney, a separated husband whose only solace comes in breaking the town’s casino; Gilbert, who enjoys exposing mistreatment at nursing homes; and Raymond, an inmate on death row who’s written a 200-page autobiography. We are privy to each of their twisted desires, and although we may not agree with all of these protagonists, we can sympathize with their individual plights: to escape from a dull existence; to give life a jolt; or, sometimes, just to survive.   Grisham’s prose is smooth and controlled as he deftly moves between narrators and storylines, and his skilled storytelling makes even the wackier scenes believable. One of Ford County’s greatest assets is its abundant but understated humor. When Calvin, a young virgin, hits a strip joint in Memphis en route to donating blood, the omniscient narrator comments dryly: “It was a life-changing experience. Calvin would never be the same.”   

Predictably—and thankfully, since it’s what the author does best—there is no dearth of lawyers in this collection. Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill, was also set in Clanton, where “a town of ten thousand people provided enough conflict to support fifty-one lawyers.” Readers will enjoy getting sucked into this world of small-town corruption and Sonic drive-ins, kind-hearted neighbors and sleazy businessmen. And although there’s little doubt that Grisham will return to the thrillers that made him famous, here’s hoping that Ford County is the precursor of many collections to come. 

 
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