Hello readers, and welcome to the third installment of Another Year of Fiction (AYOF). So far I’ve read a deeply disturbing murder mystery and what has been considered the first feminist novel. Next, I decided to take a veering course into commercial fiction with John Grisham’s 1991 novel The Firm.
This novel and its author are quite well-known in the literary world, and if I’m being honest I’m not quite sure why. This was quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. Despite this, it sold millions of copies and produced an epic movie that went on to cement Grisham’s status in the pop culture realm. I won’t spend much time on the plot, which for me was the only thing that kept me going, except to say it’s a legal thriller involving a young attorney who joins a Memphis tax firm which he ends up realizing (through the FBI) is a front for organized crime. Yet I still found a few (counter-intuitive) lessons to draw from this book:
I unfortunately must conclude that due to these glaring issues I will not be picking up this author anytime soon, if ever. I would recommend this book only if you are looking for a quick read to breeze through over the summer, but even in that category there are doubtless better books. I hate to wrap up this review in such a negative light, but it bears mentioning that even reading books like this can clue an author into what is popular in today’s market. Grisham manages to crank out a book every year, and while working at a bookstore has taught me the ethereal nature of big-name mystery authors, there is no doubt he has found success despite his shortcomings.
Up next, I’m taking a major step back into the past and revisiting one of my favorite genres, the war novel: in this case, Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel All Quiet on the Western Front. I also hope to get a few more essays for the blog completed by the halfway point of the year. Stay tuned to this space for more updates on Another Year of Fiction!
John Abraham is a published author and freelance journalist who lives in the Twin Cities with his wife Mary and their cats. He is writing a speculative dystopian novel and is seeking representation and a publisher.