A Painted House

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A Painted House

by John Grisham

Random House Publishing Group | February 3, 2004 | Trade Paperback

3.8235 out of 5 rating. 34 Reviews
Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers - and two very dangerous men - came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke's world.

A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born ... and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives - and change his family and his town forever....


From the Paperback edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 384 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.79 in

Published: February 3, 2004

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385337930

ISBN - 13: 9780385337939

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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– More About This Product –

A Painted House

A Painted House

by John Grisham

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 384 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.79 in

Published: February 3, 2004

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385337930

ISBN - 13: 9780385337939

About the Book

Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers -- and two very dangerous men -- came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke's world.
A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born ... and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives -- and change his family and his town forever....

"From the Paperback edition.

Read from the Book

Chapter I 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.” They were farmers, hardworking men who embraced pessimism only when discussing the weather and the crops. There was too much sun, or too much rain, or the threat of floods in the lowlands, or the rising prices of seed and fertilizer, or the uncertainties of the markets. On the most perfect of days, my mother would quietly say to me, “Don’t worry. The men will find something to worry about.” Pappy, my grandfather, was worried about the price for labor when we went searching for the hill people. They were paid for every hundred pounds of cotton they picked. The previous year, according to him, it was $1.50 per hundred. He’d already heard rumors that a farmer over in Lake City was offering $1.60. This played heavily on his mind as we rode to town. He never talked when he drove, and this was because, according to my mother, not much of a driver herself, he was afraid of motorized vehicles. His truck was a 1939 Ford, and with the exception of our old John Deere tractor, it was our sole means of transportation. This was no particular problem except
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From the Publisher

Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers - and two very dangerous men - came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke's world.

A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born ... and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives - and change his family and his town forever....


From the Paperback edition.

From the Jacket

Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers -- and two very dangerous men -- came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke''s world.
A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born ... and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives -- and change his family and his town forever....

"From the Paperback edition.

About the Author

John Grisham is the author of The Brethren, The Testament, The Street Lawyer, The Partner, The Runaway Jury, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Firm, and A Time to Kill.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

"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


Read all of John Grisham's #1 New York Times bestsellers:

The Brethren
The Testament
The Street Lawyer
The Partner
The Runaway Jury
The Rainmaker
The Chamber
The Client
The Pelican Brief
The Firm
A Time to Kill

Available from Dell


Coming soon!

The Summons

The new novel by John Grisham

Available from Doubleday


From the Paperback edition.

Bookclub Guide

US

1. Luke Chandler is exposed to events that many adults have never even seen. What is the effect of reading about these circumstances-from a difficult childbirth to the possibility of financial ruin-through the eyes of a seven-year-old narrator?

2. The Chandlers cannot afford some of the hallmarks of the1950s American dream, such as a television set or a stylish-looking car. Yet other aspects of that time period, such as the Korean War, make an unmistakable impression on them. How does the Chandler household measure up to your own memories or impressions of that era?

3. Several generations of women are presented in A PAINTED HOUSE, including Gran, Luke's mother, and Tally. How do contemporary women compare to those three characters?

4. Baseball is a central theme in the novel, providing Luke with heroes, dreams, and a diversion from the exhaustion of picking cotton. When the Arkansans challenge the Mexicans to a baseball game, however, Luke sees a darker side to competition. In what way does this scene foreshadow the conclusion of the novel?

5. How might the novel have been different if Luke's father or mother had narrated it?

6. How does your opinion of Cowboy change throughout the novel? What do you think attracts Tally to him? How did you react to his final showdown with Hank?

7. Discuss the role of Ricky in A PAINTED HOUSE. Though we never meet him directly, he does play a key part in the progress of the plot. What is the effect of his absence, and the letter writing it inspires? In what way does his experience differ from that of modern soldiers?

8. What keeps Pappy from giving up on farming?

9. What role do the Methodist and Baptist churches play in the Black Oak community? How well do religious teachings serve Luke during 1952?

10. In what way is Black Oak a snapshot of the world at large?

11. Luke says that most members of his community are descended from Scotch-Irish immigrants. What are some of the legacies of this ancestry?

12. The weather is a powerful force in A PAINTED HOUSE; floods, heat, hail, and tornadoes all add suspense to the novel. What is it like for the Chandlers to live at the complete mercy of the weather? How is their situation different from that of the cousins who perform indoor industrial work up north? What are the costs and benefits of relying on the natural world for your livelihood?

13. At the end of the novel, Luke and his parents become migrant workers themselves, venturing off to a new part of the country solely for employment opportunities. Twenty-first-century workers are often asked to transfer to a new part of the globe in order to further their careers. What is the best way to make decisions between financial security and family or cultural ties?

14. Poverty is a highly relative concept in A PAINTED HOUSE. Though they have no indoor plumbing and have perilously high debts, the Chandlers nonetheless give generously to those in need. How do you define "rich" and "poor"?

15. The Chandler house itself conveys a meaningful message. What is the significance of the way in which it gets painted? Do you believe that Pappy really does finish the job after Luke and his family leave? What is the effect of that detail? What causes Luke to set aside his dream of ordering a Cardinals jacket and instead use his meager earnings to buy paint?

16. In terms of plot and writing style, are any elements of John Grisham's legal thrillers evident in A PAINTED HOUSE?

17. Discuss your own coming-of-age story. What are your first memories of home? Who were the first people you loved?

18. A PAINTED HOUSE ends with tantalizing possibilities. Speculate about how Luke's life unfolds after his family leaves the Arkansas Delta.

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