Monday, January 09, 2006

Bestselling authors' writing ability.

I am really enjoying the Grisham (slightly against expectations). The book (The Broker) is mainly about the minutiae of an American adapting to life in a smallish Italian city. There is a prefunctory spy plot framing it, but the book is really about the details of the Italian life: eating and drinking in cafes, the architecture, people "living where they work". Somehow, this on its own is compelling, the spy plot does not seem to matter very much. The book reminds me of his fairly recent "The Last Juror" in which he wrote in a similar style about a newspaper editor in a small southern US town before the advent of chain stores and the "modern world". I am not sure how much realism there was among the nostalgia -- was it ever as idyllic as portrayed? Probably not but it was a damn good read. Grisham has sustained his talent over a large number of books and delievers the goods for his readers, unlike James Patterson, whose books have plummeted in quality over the years. Surprisingly, despite this treatment of his readers, his sales remain high.