Book Review: "The Broker" ~ John Grisham (2004)

Posted by prla1983 on April 03, 2006 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

I've read some of the Grisham classics back in the day - namely "The Client" and "The Pelican Brief" - plus thoroughly enjoyed the screen adaptations of "A Time to Kill" and "The Firm". Lately however, I've fallen out of touch with his work, and it's been a good while since I picked up a novel penned by Mr. Grisham. I'm given to understand that his standard dropped a bit in recent novels, but as I say, I can only take others' word for it.

In fact, after finishing "The Broker", I have a hard time believing it, unless this is his return to form. Some writers, not unlike Dan Brown, have this talent that makes most of their work instantly seem perfect for the big screen. "The Broker" is no exception and while reading it I was constantly viewing the inexistent (as of yet, I hope) movie in my head.

Most of the story happens in different locations inside Italian borders, particularly in Bologna. This is a welcome change and it reminded me a lot of the Sicily section in "The Godfather", when Al Pacino is exhiled following the murder of a couple of important people. Bologna has a certain charm to it, like most of Italy, that definitely comes across here.

I've seen others commenting on this book downplaying it as simply a byproduct of Grisham's Italian learning. As with so many other things in life, there's more than one way to look at it. I prefer to think of it as a great excuse to write an engrossing story like this one, an intelligent plot with some smart and well drawn characters. Grisham's fluent and undemanding writing binds it all together and the story flows naturally and excitingly from one page to the next.

For me, this was interesting from the get-go, rarely lost its momentum and the ending does pay off. Sure the technicalities involved aren't rigorously depicted, but that's alright as it's not really the point. So I highly recommend "The Broker" and cross fingers for it, with the right director, to get adapted to the big screen. And if you've been averse to Grisham for the past few years, perhaps now is the time to give him another chance. You'll even pick up some Italian along the way.


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