sexta-feira, 28 de outubro de 2011

John Grisham Gets the Last Laugh on the Law

By Christopher John Farley / The Wall Street Journal

 John Grisham, who has penned bestsellers that deal with mob lawyers, hate crimes, and the death penalty, wants readers to know that the law also can be funny.

Grisham’s latest book, “The Litigators,” released this week, is written with a lighter touch than some of his previous blockbusters. The new novel tells the story of lawyers at an ambulance-chasing Chicago law firm. “Finley & Figg’s scam was hustling injury cases, a daily grind that required little skill or creativity and would never be considered cool or sexy…It was selective only because no one wanted to work there, including the two men who owned it,” Grisham writes in the book’s opening pages.

Publishers Weekly called “The Litigators” “a bitingly farcical look at lawyers at the bottom of the food chain.” The Washington Post wrote “To these tragicomic proceedings, Grisham brings his usual nuanced understanding of tort law and civil jurisprudence…”

Grisham, who attended the University of Mississippi School of Law and practiced criminal law for years, says that the legal profession lends itself to humor. “I love humor and some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen happen in a courtroom,” he said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal. “Because it’s a tense situation. Everyone’s kind of on edge. Therefore even slightly comic things become funny.”

Grisham’s previous bestsellers include “The Chamber,” The Firm,” and “A Time to Kill”–works that aren’t known for their punchlines. “I usually put a lot of humor in my books and it always comes out during editing. So it was kind of fun to sneak it on through this time.”

The cast of characters in “The Litigators” includes 62-year Oscar Finley, a cop-turned-lawyer who longs for a divorce but can’t afford it; his 45-year-old junior partner Wally Figg who dreams of seeing his own face on billboard ads pitching his legal services; and David Zinc, a 31-year-old lawyer “too young for a heart attack….though he’d been exhausted for the past five years.” “It was irresistible to write humor with these kinds of characters,” Grisham said. “Sleazy ambulance chasers, a small firm–the setting was good for laughs.”

Check back in with Speakeasy for part two of our interview with John Grisham.

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