John Grisham, Sycamore Row (L’allée du sycomore)

Standard

This is a conventional legal procedural depicting small town or rural administration of justice where old judges hold quite a bit of sway due to their long tenure. There was nothing surprising in this book, and nothing new in terms of the contemporary perception of race relations in the deep South. Similarly as other Grisham novels I have read, the main character is a younger lawyer who is confronted with a new challenge, and his association with more experienced professionals given the occasion for “teachable moments” and some lengthy discourse or dialogues about the history of some legal approaches or practical approaches that can be applied to deal with the challenge at hand.

The storytelling is competent, the plot is well-paced, the characters congenial although a little one-sided. The book can easily be turned into a movie scenario and one can just see this one playing out as a movie as one reads. A good escapist beach book!

I read this one in French, against my principle of reading books in the original if I can read that language, because it was lent to be by a friend who liked it. I was not crazy about the translation and use of French terms for American ones that do not reflect the structure of American institutions and culture.

Reference:

Grisham, John. L’allée du sycomore. JC Lattès, 2014.  (Originally published by Random House in 2013)

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