Grisham, John: The Client
(researched by Jeff Braintwain)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

Grisham, John, The Client. Published by Doubleday A division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. New York, New York 1993

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

First Edition pubished in cloth

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

108 leaves in 13.5 sections [432 pages] 1-8 unnumbered, pp. 1-422, 2 unnumbered

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

Editor information unavailable, the book is not introduced.

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

Jacket painting by Ellis Chappel, Jacket design by Whitney Cookman. See cover art illustration for details. No illustration within book. Sample illustration comes from inside flaps of jacket.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

Book is a handsome volume. Jacket is well done and enticing, hard cover is very presentable -- gray and black on the outside with navy pages covering the inside. Type style is large and readable with ample spac
ing between letters and words. Text is justified so that there are no jagged edges at the end of lines. When book is open to text pages, "John Grisham" appears above the left page's text and "The Client" appears above the right page's text. However, a solid line underscores these headers which is distracting and adds nothing to the aesthetic quality of the physical volume. Overall, book and text is readable and attractive.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

Paper quality is excellent. Paper is textured, bonded,and of a heavy weight. In this volume, paper quality is of new to mint condition as volume is only 4+ years old
. Paper quality in this and other volumes examined a of the previous owner's treatment of book, and not related to any deterioration due to age.

11 Description of binding(s)

The binding is secured in two ways. First, the 13.5 sections of 8 leaves are stiched to a piece of cloth. The resultant spaces between the cloth and the sections are filled with a standard bindary glue. The fabric used for the hard cover is secured with glue along the length of the binding, and exhibits no signs of pulling loose.

12 Transcription of title page

D O U B L E D A Y New York London Toronto Sydney Auckland

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

There is no information regarding the manuscript holdings of this author.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

Library of Congress Cataloging-In-Publication Data Grisham, John. The Client / John Grisham. - 1st ed. p. cm. I. Title PS3557.R5335C57 1993 813'.54--dc20 92-39079 CIP ISBN 0-385-42471-X ISBN 0-385-46865-2 (large print) ISBN 0-385-47015-0 (limited edition)
1 3 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

Doubleday, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell, originally published this book in three different editions. Other than the typical cloth edition, a large print version was published, as well as a limited edition copy. Large Print ISBN:0-385-46865-2 Limited Edition ISBN: 0-385-47015-0

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

Infomation requested from publisher Doubleday.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

Century, 1993 ISBN: 0712654496 Island, 1994 1993 ISBN: 0440213525 (paperback) Arrow, 1993 ISBN: 0099283417 (paperback) Cresset, 1994 ISBN: 009178610X

6 Last date in print?

July, 1994 -- Dell Publishing Company, Inc. (Paperback) (Last English edition, though in print longer in other languages)

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

Information requested from publishers.

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

Information requested from publishers.

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

None found. Searched microfiche of New York Times Book Review, New York Review of Books, and Reader's Digest.

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

None found.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

Audio Tapes: The Client, Books on Tape, 1993 Audio Tapes: The Client, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio, 1993 Audio Tapes: The Client, Random House Audiobooks, 1994 Braile Edition: The Client, Doubleday, 1993 Motion Picture, The Client, Warner Bros., 1994 Video Cassette, The Client, Warner Home Video, 1994 (1) Video Cassette, The Client, Warner Home Video, 1994 (2) Laser Disc, The Client, Warner Home Video, 1994 Video Cassette, El Cliente, Warner Home Video, 1994 (Spanish)

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

CHINESE Chih ming nei mu, Po i ch'u pan chi t'uan yu hsien kung ssu, 1994 Chung chi cheng jen, Ch'ing chou ch'u pan she, 1994 DUTCH Klienten, Bogsamleren, 1994 De Client, A.W. Brunna Uitgevers B.V.,1993
FRENCH Le client, Editions du Club Quebec Loisirs,1995 1994
GERMAN Der Klient, Hoffmann und Campe, 1994
HEBREW ha-Lakoah, Zemorah-Bitan, 1994
HUNGARIAN Az Ugyfel, Fabula, 1995
ICELANDIC Skjolstaeoingurinn, IDUNN, 1994
JAPANESE Irainin, Shinchosha, 1993 Irainin, Shinchosha, 1995
KOREAN Uiroein, Sigongsa, 1993
PERSIAN Mavakal, Intisharat-i Kushish, 1995
POLISH Klient, Amber, 1994
PORTUGUESE O cliente, Rocco, 1995
SWEDISH Klienten, Bra Bocker, 1994
SPANISH El cliente, Planeta (Barcelona), 1993 El cliente, Planeta (Barcelona), 1994 El cliente, Planeta (Mexico), 1994 El cliente, Enciclopedia Catalana (Barcelona), 1994 El cliente, Planeta (Barcelona), 1995 El cliente, Planeta (Barcelona), 1996

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A

None found.

15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A

None found.

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

John Grisham was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in the year 1955. The son of a construction worker and a homemaker, Grisham often found himself uprooted by his father's changing of jobs. Grisham claims that the c
onstant moving never really bothered him, and his first task upon arriving in a new town was to get a public library card. Grisham attended college at Mississippi State University. Though an avid reader, he turned his attention to finance and accounting, with the intention of becoming a tax lawyer. After receiving a Bachelor of Science from Mississippi State, Grisham enrol
led in law school at the University of Mississippi. Law school had sparked Grisham's interest in criminal law, and returned to his semi-permanent, childhood town of Southhaven, Mississippi to establish a practice. Grisham's interesed in criminal law eventually waned despite the fact that his practice was successful. He switched to civil law and turned his attention to the state legislature. Running on the Democratic ticket on a platform of education reform, Gri
sham was elected, and spent six years in the Mississippi State Legislature. The manuscript of Grisham's first book, A Time to Kill, was completed in 1987, and he set about the task of finding an agent and publisher. Jay Garon eventually became his agent, but the two of them together had a very difficult time locating a publish
er willing to print the book. Finally, in 1989, when Grisham was 39 years of age, Wynwood Publishers agreed to produce 5,000 copies of A Time to Kill. Of those copies, Grisham purchased 1,000. Grisham's first novel was not remarkably successful, but that did not deter him from starting his second book, The Firm, which was published by Doubleday in 1991. The remarkable success of The Firm sparked a renewed interest in Grisham's first book, a
nd established the beginnings of Grisham's popular acclaim which he still enjoys today. All of Grisham's novels have been published by Doubleday, and have landed on the Bestseller list. The Pelican Brief was published in 1992, The Client in 1993, The
Chamber in 1994, The Rainmaker in 1995, The Runaway Jury in 1996, and The Partner in 1997. Today, Grisham maintains residences in Oxford, Mississippi and Charlottesville, Virginia. With his wife, Renee, whom he met and married shortly after law school, Grisham has had two children, a son, Ty, and daughter, Shea. Grisham stays busy working on
his novels and coaching his son's little league baseball team.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

The general, critical reaction to John Grisham's The Client, is aptly described as guarded. Most critics begin their account by mentioning the successes of Grisham's previous novels, and comment on his penchant
for spinning captivating tales. Just before the lambasting begins, the majority of the critics agree that The Client will be a bestseller of some renown. The biggest, most common complaint against Grisham's The Client is the sheer implausibility of the tale. For critics, the idea of an eleven-year-old boy, Mark Sway, leading the adult world around by the nose is simply too much. Mark escapes from a Mafi
a hitman in the hospital elevator; Mark seeks his own lawyer; Mark intercedes with the suicide attempts of Jerome Clifford; these are just a few examples of the incredible actions of this eleven-year-old boy. One critic suggests using this book as a summ
ertime beach read, one where a person can leave the brain behind. Another interesting complaint from the critics is that the book is strong and captivating in the beginning, the suicide scene, but remainder of the book does not live up to the auspicious beginning. In the words of Christopher Lehmann-Haupt from the New
York Times, "But what is most astonishing about this opening, which takes all of 20 pages, is how little Mr. Grisham does with it in the next 400 pages. ?The Client' brings new force to the word anticlimax." In truth, the idea of Mark leading the adult world around by the nose is also an apt description of the way Grisham conducts the reader through the plot. For many critics, one of the truly irritating aspects of the book is how deeply it hooks the reader.
To close from Lehmann-Haupt, "So settle into ?The Client' for the captivating read it promises. Just don't look for any surprises. What you expect is more than what you get."
Other Sources for Reviews
 Booklist Feb 1, 1993 p. 954  Christian Science Monitor March 5, 1993, p. 10  Forbes August 30, 1993, p. 24  Los Angeles Times Book Review April 5, 1993, p.6  New Republic August 2, 1993, p.32  Newsday March 7, 1993  Newsweek March 15, 1993, pp.79-81  New York Times March 5, 1993 p.C29  New York Times Book Review March 7, 1993, p.18  People March 15, 1993, pp. 27-28  Time March 8, 1993, p.73  Tribune Books Feb 28, 1993, p.7  Wall Street Journal, March 12, 1993, p.A6

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Book is not yet five years old.

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

A Critical Analysis of The Client
Judging from the reception history and public acclaim of his works, there can be little doubt that John Grisham is a compelling novelist. All of his books have enjoyed the status of becoming number one bestsellers, some for many weeks, if not months in
a row. As is also know, the themes of his books tend to revolve around a complex legal issue, complete with murder, betrayal, and various covert operations. While these tales can be deemed outlandish and improbable by anyone with a logical mind, it is i
nescapable that the books themselves are difficult to put down, and effectively capture the reader with the absorbing stories they tell. However, despite the fact that the above statements regarding Grisham's works are generally accepted truths, many que
stions remain unanswered. For instance, just how successful have Grisham's various works been and for how long? Why do his books seem to lend themselves so easily to portrayal on the movie screen? Also, and perhaps most importantly, what is it about Gr
isham's novels which attract readers to the extent they have? This essay seeks to explore answers to the above questions with regard to The Client, and various other works by Grisham. Before delving into theoretical ideas about why The Client was so popular, it will be helpful to know its history on the bestseller list. The following information and conclusions come from the Publisher's Weekly Bestseller List, and is intended to repr
esent the book's ranking on the majority of well-know bestseller lists, though this author allows that actual numbers may vary slightly. As is shown by some of the information listed in preceding sections of the database, The Client was first published by Doubleday in March of 1993. This first publication was done in hardback only; there was no simultaneous publication in paperback versi
on. As of March 1993, Grisham had three other books circulating in paperback version: The Firm, A Time to Kill, and The Pelican Brief. For the purposes of distinction, Publisher's Weekly breaks down its bestseller lists into different categories. List
ed are hardback bestsellers and paperback or mass-market bestsellers. It is important to remember that Grisham's first three novels, The Firm, A Time to Kill, and The Pelican Brief were appearing on the paperback bestseller list, while The Client was fou
nd only on the hardback bestseller list at this point. What follows is a chart of the actual bestseller list results for The Client with discussion to follow. DATE RANKING 3/15/93 1 3/22/93 1 3/29/93 1 4/5/93 1 4/12/93 1 4/19/93 1 4/26/93 1 5/3/93 1 5/10/93 2 5/17/93 2 5/24/93 2 5/31/93 4 6/7/93 4 6/14/93 4 6/21/93 3 6/28/93 3 7/7/93 3 7/12/93 3 7/26/93 5 8/2/93 2 8/16/93 4 9/6/93 6 9/13/93 4 9/20/93 6 9/27/93 6 10/4/93 9 10/11/93 7 10/25/93 9 11/1/93 11 11/8/93 14 11/15/93 None 11/22/93 14 11/29/93 15 As the numbers tend to suggest, The Client was a highly lucrative and enormously successful novel for Grisham. However, many conclusions can be drawn from a deeper examination of the numbers themselves. First of all, The Client made its first appearanc
e on the bestseller list on March 15 at number one. While this author does not know the general trend of d├ębuting bestsellers, it seems amazing that a book would reach the highest position on the list in the first week of its publication. Also interesti
ng is the fact that The Client remained in the number one position for seven weeks, almost two months in a row. Finally, in an era known for fickle readers and fleeting success rates, Grisham's fourth work, The Client, remained on the bestseller list in
its original publication version for eight months in a row. Various reasons can be given for the initial success of The Client in its original publication form. First of all, Grisham had an established reputation in place with his previous three books. All of these books also reached the pinnacle of the bestsel
ler list, though it is important to note that The Firm was the his first book to reach number one, but it was his second published work; A Time to Kill was actually the first published. Also, The Firm appeared in movie theaters immediately before, and du
ring the publication of The Client, further increasing Grisham's name recognition value. Secondly, the previous three novels were still enjoying rampant success on the paperback bestseller list. If fact, for the first three months that The Client was on the hardback bestseller list, all of the other books were still on the paperback list. T
his fact shows that the reading public was interested in Grisham's books in general. However, even this assertion leads to more questions. Was the public interested in Grisham as an author because it felt he provided tried and true entertainment? Is it
possible that the success of The Client was largely owing to the success of the previous books, and without them, it would not have been as well received? While interesting to consider, there is really no ready answer to these questions except to say th
at the general reading populace must have found some merit in The Client or it would not have been as successful as it was for such an extended period of time, the author's previous reputation notwithstanding. This is especially true considering the fact
that the hardback edition of The Client was almost four times as expensive as the paperback versions of the other books. Finally, it is possible to ascribe the phenomenal initial success of The Client to a well-planned pre-publication marketing campaign by the publisher, Doubleday. It is well known that many books are written for the purpose of eventually becoming a movie.
While it is not known, it is entirely possible to assume that The Client was originally envisioned as a movie, and thus, Doubleday took extra pains to promote it in order to further support the eventual movie version. Whatever the case, The Client was
an amazing success since the day it hit the shelves in bookstores, and probably owes a large credit to the reputation of the books it was following. The paperback success of The Client followed the success of the hardback version. First published in the beginning of March, 1994, the paperback version from Doubleday shot to the number one position on the Publisher's Weekly bestseller list. Below is a
nother chart of bestseller list information, with discussion to follow. DATE RANKING 3/7/94 1 3/21/94 1 4/4/94 1 4/19/94 3 5/9/94 5 5/23/94 7 6/6/94 3 6/27/94 4
In a manner closely following the success of the hardback version, the paperback edition of The Client immediately went to the number one position on the bestseller list. As the chart indicates, this prosperity lasted for almost a month, and even then,
the novel hovered in and out of the top five places on the list. Clearly, the public acclaim for Grisham's fourth novel was strong enough to last over eighteen months with amazing results. This is even more striking when contrasted with the less than st
ellar critical repots regarding the novel discussed earlier in this database, and which will be discussed briefly later on in this essay. Given the above information from Publisher's Weekly, there can be little doubt that The Client was an extremely popular book, and retained its popularity for an extended period of time. However, this raw numbers do little to explain the reason's why rea
ders found the book so enticing; all the numbers tend to show is that many copies of the book were purchased. The discussion which follows is based largely on the opinions of this author, and those opinions are echoed by the majority of the critics who r
eviewed the book. Perhaps the most apt description of any Grisham book is that it is an easy read. True, the plot is intricate, but the style and tone of the writing make the books page turners, and little intellectual prowess is needed to follow the storyline. The book
lends itself to lazy, summertime reading for entertainment value only, a fact which seems to irritate most critics. In the words of Christopher Lehmann-Haupt from the New York Times, "Once again, as he did in ?The Firm,' Mr. Grisham enraptures us with a
story that has hardly any point." However, perhaps Lehmann-Haupt is missing the point entirely. Any reasonable person will allow that the adventures of Mark Sway are completely improbable, but am more appropriate statement to consider is whether Mr. Gr
isham intended the story to be believable in the first place. Supposing for a second that Grisham did not intend the story to be believable, then perhaps a major step has been taken in determining the story's appeal to the public. If one takes into account that the book is written in a style that favors a lower reading proficiency, and the notion that the plot could never occur in real life, then the only possible rational for producing the book in the first place is for the purpo
se of entertainment. Clearly, the readers who purchased this book were interested in being charmed or amused. Any person who has read the book must reasonably allow that he was captivated in a way that provided escape from the rigors of everyday existen
ce. At some level, this is one of the chief purposes of books in general. It is certainly true that Grisham produced no literary masterpiece, and judging by the sales of the book, the general population was not interested in buying a masterpiece. Lehma
nn-Haupt said, "So settle into ?The Client' for the captivating read it promises. Just don't look for any surprises. What you expect is more than what you get." For the above reasons, perhaps this statement is misguided. If one takes as true that the
public merely wanted to be entertained, then The Client provided in such a way as to entertain a great many people. All these ideas can be ascribed to the popularity of the movie versions of Grisham's books as well. The movie version of The Client, starring Susan Serandon and Tommy Lee Jones, was released by Paramount in 1995. Unlike the bestseller list for the book versions, box office information for the movie was not readily available. However, what is more int
eresting is that all of the first four books by Grisham were eventually made into movies, though the first book, A Time to Kill, was actually the last movie made. This forces the critic to ask the following question: Why are Grisham's books so easily ada
ptable to the movie format? Going back to the argument proposed above, the entertainment value of the book is attractive to movie producers. With the exception of A Time to Kill, all of the other books are replete with the type of action that makes for
good movies: scandal, murder, espionage, and government conspiracy. As an aside, A Time to Kill has many of these features, but includes a significant amount of social commentary. Thus, while the books are not believable in the sense of the real world,
when converted to movies, they produce a perfect two hour, brainless escape. It is also interesting that all of the "action" movies were released in the summer months, for the box office tends to favor such movies at that time of year. The release of the movies tended to cause an upsurge in the public's interest in the book version of the story. For instance, in 1993, when the movie version of The Firm hit the big screen, the paperback version of the story was number 3 on the Publishe
r's Weekly bestseller list. Likewise, the release of The Client in movie format corresponded with an upward move in the paperback bestseller list for the book version. However, the book, at that point, was over two years old. For cursory examinations o
f Grisham's other publications, the phenomenon seems to hold true across the board. Perhaps instead of describing the trends of popular acclaim, these facts point to a brilliant marketing scheme. It appears as if the Grisham formula is on a three year t
ime table. This is to say that the hardback version of the book is first published, followed by the paperback version a year later. Then, within eighteen months of the paperback release, the movie appears at the box office. At least this was the case f
or The Firm, The Pelican Brief, and The Client. Regardless of whether this plan is by design or mere change, it is doubtless that the different versions benefit from each other. As was seen in the chart of bestseller rankings for the hardback version of
The Client, the rankings fell off at about nine months to a year. However, the publishers and producers were ready with another version to hit the stores as soon as the public's affection began to wane. In this manner, the various entities involved act
ually have three years to capitalize on one story. As was stated at the beginning of this essay, there can be little doubt that John Grisham is a compelling novelist. While the critics squabble about the lack of literary merit in his works, the public continues to buy numerous copies of each new story t
hat Grisham produces. Perhaps that fact, and no other, should be the judge of Grisham's effectiveness as a writer. With his familiar method of the new bestseller with each new calendar year, Grisham provides the modern-day reader with much needed entert
ainment and escapism. Perfect for the airport or the beach in the summertime, his novels are difficult to abandon once started. In the words of Lehmann-Haupt, "What's most irritating is how deeply the plot hooks us." Unfortunately for Lehmann-Haupt, he
misses the forest for the trees. Of course Grisham is no Hemmingway of Faulkner, nor is he trying to be. However, that matters little to the population as a whole, and the people will forever be the judges of bestsellers. If over forty editions in mor
e than eighteen languages, including Braille, is any indication of the mark The Client made in bestseller history, it will surely be remembered as a leader in its genre. I, for one, will be looking for the latest addition to the Grisham library in bookst
ores this spring.

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