Ford County Stories
Ford County: a place of harsh beauty where broken dreams and final wishes converge.
From a hard-drinking, downtrodden divorce lawyer looking for pay-dirt, to a manipulative death row inmate with one last plea, Ford County features a vivid array of attorneys, crooks, hustlers, and convicts.
Reviewed on 1st July 2012
John Grisham's first collection of short stories set in and around his fictional town of Clanton is a mixed bag of generally depressing tales which seem further from life as I know it than if they were set in rural China.
There are seven separate stories which each took me about half an hour to read, however I found it difficult to read them back to back and had to take breaks between every couple to read something else, just to lighten the mood. As I discovered though, the first two stories were the most annoying, and once I'd forced my way through these things picked up.
In order, the stories are appalling, depressing, immoral, mildly amusing, disturbing, morally ambivalent and sad but poignant. Three out of the seven seem like initial ideas for full novels that Grisham rejected for that and wrote a shorts, one is too similar to one of his previous novels, one reads as a put-down of the American justice system, one pointless filler and the final one a very clever take on the parallels between racism and other forms of discrimination.
Overall, I can't really recommend this collection. Ford County is presented as a very strange backward place and it's hard for a Briton to actually believe that anywhere is actually like the place Grisham describes.