Monday, February 3, 2014
The Summons by John Grisham
Ray Atlee is a professor of law at the University of Virginia. He's forty-three, newly single, and still enduring the aftershocks of a surprise divorce. He has a younger brother, Forrest, who redefines the notion of a family's black sheep.
And he has a father, a very sick old man who lives alone in the ancestral home in Clanton, Mississippi. He is known to all as Judge Atlee, a beloved and powerful official who has towered over local law and politics for forty years. No longer on the bench, the Judge has withdrawn to the Atlee mansion and become a recluse.
With the end in sight, Judge Atlee issues a summons for both sons to return home to Clanton, to discuss the details of his estate. It is typed by the Judge himself, on his handsome old stationery, and gives the date and time for Ray and Forrest to appear in his study.
Ray reluctantly heads south, to his hometown, to the place where he grew up, which he prefers now to avoid. But the family meeting does not take place. The Judge dies too soon, and in doing so leaves behind a shocking secret known only to Ray.
And perhaps someone else.
I loved John Grisham. You would know that from here but what I discover is that John Grisham of old is slightly different for what he writes nowadays. It is rather difficult to place the fingers on the pulse on the differences but if you are familiar with his work, you would know what I mean.
When I get hold of The Summon, I was hoping to find the John Grisham of old. And find him I did but a mere shadow only but better shadow than nothing at all I guess. Having said that, there is a twist in the ending that made reading The Summon rather worth it.
Roy Atlee is the main character. For some reason he reminded me of another of John Grisham's character, Kyle McAvoy from The Associate. He is the down to earth, the 'good' son that does everything right and does all that he's supposed to do. Whereas his brother, Forrest is the black sheep of the family. But at the end of the book, who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist is very much debatable.
Go and get your copy and let me know if you agree with me.