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In my opinion, this is the best book that John Grisham has ever written. It was one of his early novels, issued in 1994, and whilst some of his later stories may be a little simplistic and formulaic, this one certainly isn't.
The story tells of a brilliant young lawyer, Adam Hall, who risks throwing his whole career away to try and rescue an old Klu Klux Klansman who is on death row. The situation is hopeless and it seems a crazy thing for Hall to do, except that the man on death row is his grandfather.
The story has many twists and turns and gives a fascinating insight into life as it was in the deep south of the US before the civil rights movement. Unsurprisingly, from this author, it also brilliantly explains the legal process of putting someone to death in the United States.
The old man on death row is not a likeable character and yet, somehow, as the story goes on, you start to pity him and feel a bit sorry for him. As much as anything else, this book will force anyone who believes in the death penalty to, at least, rethink and reconsider their opinions.
The book is not short, at over 670 pages, but that should certainly not put you off reading this novel. Although I enjoyed reading the book, I felt a bit sad and down by the time that I came to the end of it. It's a very original and compelling story and extremely well-written. It's the sort of story that will remain in your memory for some time afterwards.
I would highly recommend reading it.
It's a toss up between "A Time to Kill" and "The Chamber" for me when I try to think about what my favourite John Grisham book is. And the two books have quite similar themes in some respects - that of racist undertones in American Society. Of course the accused in both books books are different sides of the fence - in "A Time To Kill" it is a father who kills out of revenge for some rednecks raping his daughter and the ways that the law treats a black killer differently to a white one. Of course, this time round, the man facing the gas chamber is an ex member of the Ku Klux Klan. And wouldn't it be lovely if he was getting his just desserts and everything was okay with the world? Unfortunately we have an all too human character here and a look at just how terrible the death penalty is. It is a story of family relationships, redemption, racism and political views. And it is all the more powerful for the fact that it doesn't really manage to resolve any of them.
The Chamber is the 5th novel from award winning legal thriller writer John Grisham. This has been made into a blockbuster film, as have his previous four books.
Adam Hall is a lawyer who has the legal world at his feet. He is flying high amongst his peers and is well respected. So everyone is surprised when he takes on the defense of Death Row criminal Sam Cayhill, awaiting his fate for a murderous race-related bombing in 1967. However, Adam is Sam's grandfather, and, no matter the man, Adam is determined to do everything he can to stop his grandfather facing his fate. The case appears to be clear cut, but digging in, Adam finds there is more to it than meets the eye.
The brilliance of this novel is the difference is characters between Adam and Sam. In Adam, Grisham has created a fair, believable, honest and trustworthy young lawyer who genuinely wants to help the justice system and restore a balance, but who also has family values and wants to do everything he can within the lawe to help them. In Sam, he has created a rude, bigoted, racist, former Klansman leader who has nothing nice to say to anyone and is instantly dislikeable. The difference in these two makes the book as good as it is.
The plot is a very good one, and provides a good vehicle for the two characters to develop and mould as the story continues. Grisham writing style lends itself very well to this type of tale, and discusses the powerful topic of racism. He does so very tactfully whilst at the time creating a sense of loathing and disgust in the reader towards Sam.
A very well crafted novel.
I rate this book at 4 stars out of 5.
The book is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.49.
This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk.
Thanks for reading.
The next novel in my John Grisham series is one of the best books I’ve read, the Chamber. He has become one of those authors that people either love or hate, personally as I’m sure you’ve been able to tell I love his work, well most of it. I can’t really say I’m a big fan of one of his latest. And although he features heavily in my current book selection, I have started to branch out a little bit. Grisham, a former lawyer has made a very good living out of writing Novels, since his debut effort A Time To Kill. Despite his move away from practising law he writes his books on the subject he is familiar with keeping a law theme within almost all of his works to date. His knowledge of the criminal system obviously helps a lot in explaining exactly what he means in an easy way so that someone like me, with only basic knowledge of legal proceedings can follow easily. The book focuses on two main characters Adam Hall a young lawyer from Chicago is in his first year with one of the cities top law firms. Meanwhile Sam Cayhill is on death row after murdering two Jewish children in a bombing that went drastically wrong. However Sam, a member of the Klu Klux Klan believes he should pay for his mistake and is quite keen not to take any legal help. When Adam learns of Sam’s case through the pro bono cases of his company, however its when he realises its his Grandfather that really adds a twist to the book. Now Adam must convince Sam that he must take legal help and more importantly he must let Adam represent him. Of course Adam’s ulterior motive for taking this case is to enable him to get to know his grandfather but its not going to be easy. One of the books best passages has to be the description of how Sam has ended up in prison, the details of his job gone wrong. The description of how he was meant to kill the lawyer and not his Kids is a fairly moving passage and really sets the scene for the res
t of the book. It’s in these opening segments of Grisham’s books where he really draws you in and keeps your attention hooked. Rather than Grisham’s normal tendency to use the KKK as hate figures protesting against a Black defendant he has this time switched the roles. Showing he can write from both sides, showing Sam originally as a proud member of the KKK who over time has begun to realise just how wrong his actions were. Aspects like this really are well written by Grisham and this was highlighted in A Time To Kill and The Street Lawyer, where he doesn’t just focus on the legal aspect, making for an excellent story line. As Sam gets closer to his date of death you actually start to feel a little sorry for him as he reflects on what he has done. This is testament to Grisham’s writing ability as he creates possibly one of his strongest characters to date as one of the worst and actually gets you to like him in the end. The background and building of his characters is one of the things Grisham does best and this book is a prime example. Unlike Sam, Adam is one of those characters that is likeable from the outset. A young lawyer just starting out who wants to help out his Grandfather and has a difficult job persuading him that legal representation is a good idea. Again Grisham creates an excellent, very believable character and this helps the book to flow as I often find if I don’t like the characters I simply stop reading. Unlike the last book I reviewed, The Street Lawyer, I find the story is a little more believable as the twists in the tail aren’t anywhere near as drastic. If you like Grisham’s work then it’s almost a guarantee that you will enjoy this one and if you haven’t read any Grisham before then this is a good one to start with. Available from all good book stores for £6.99 or amazon.co.uk of £5.59.
This was my first John Grisham's novel. As many others, I always thought his style would a best-sellish Tom-Clancy-like one. By pure chance I decided to buy a copy of this novel in Edinburgh, before getting in my train back home. I started to read, without many hopes I'll end it. Half an hour afterwards, the train broke down somewhere between the Scottish-English border and there I was, wishing for the trip to take a little longer, so I could have some more time for reading. No need to say I finished the book in lest than two days. Since then, Grisham's always been my travel companion. I like the way he plays the plots and, overall, his description of the Deep South. I found incredibly touching that point when Sam said to his grandson (and lawyer) how much he is envious of him for not hating anyone. Remember you're hearing that from a klucker...
The Chamber is the fresh novel written by John Grisham. In The Chamber author John Grisham interprets the effects of hatred and prejudice on not just one man but also those he loves and those around him. In A Time To Kill, it was clearly evident that John Grisham could portray the racial injustices in America; although he took the perspective of the black aggravated father, in The Chamber he now analyses the mind of a racist. Of course, as you can imagine this makes for a powerful and compelling piece of literature. The Chamber an insight into the deteriorating life of racist and bigot Sam Cayhall; a man accused of the 1967 bombing in which two innocent Jewish children were murdered. Sam Cayhall is one of the most remarkable characters I have ever read upon; when reading The Chamber his thoughts and memories almost become your own. I cannot simplify, it?s the fashion in which John Grisham has carved his literature, Sam Cayhall is the perfect image of racism and the effects in has on the human soul. Condemned to the gas chamber, Sam Cayhall is hopeless, his only chance I his distant grandson Adam Hall. Adam Hall is an inexperienced lawyer; he decides to read up on his father's case and intervenes. Its interesting to observe how John Grisham portrays Adam Hall and the conversations Sam Cayhall has with his grandson as the light shining through his chamber. A chamber that is restricting him from seeing the errors of his ways. Destined for death and bewildered on Death Row, Sam Cayhall perspective on life is unchanged, his past as a Klu Klux Klan member and the beliefs he shared with his brethren are still extremely potent in his mind. The devastating legacy of Sam Cayhall has left misery and despair at its wake. Memories of his horrific past are brought to light in conversations he has with his newly acquainted grandson. I saw newly because after Adam's father moved away from Sam Cayhall, he wanted to completely distant
himself and his family from the hate, evil filled ways of his father. The compelling retelling of Sam Cayhall's family struggle is one, which opened my eyes to a very important but controversial fact. I believe after reading The Chamber, everyone is the victim of racism, either if you are the one irritating the situation or the character receiving its wrath. Through John Grisham's beautiful analysis of Sam Cayhall mind and memories, it became apparent that Sam Cayhall and his family had suffered as much as his victims. Sam Cayhall had completely destroyed his family; his son had committed suicide after years of depression and aggravation and his daughter had fallen into a psychological coma filled with distraught emotions. Sam Cayhall had killed the two Jewish children in the bombing but, in an entertaining and gripping twist John Grisham demonstrates that his own prejudice and quest for hate had destroyed his personal family; the white peoples; those he had proclaimed to protect against the wrath of the 'primitive blacks'. But in saying this, the most fascinating and wonderful aspect of The Chamber is not in the actual writings but rather the interpretations that can be withdrawn. This is why; The Chamber is such an amazing book. Undeniably it shall be different for everyone due to its huge complexity. The manner in which John Grisham displays his belief that racism and prejudice is deeply rooted not just in the mind of the racist but also in the family tree is one which compelled me to read the complete 688 pages of the novel. Sam Cayhall family were 'Kluckers', from a very early age hate for the opposite race was instituted in the mind of Sam Cayhall. His father was a bigot so was his father and so on; now years of family tradition had resulted in the enslavement and doom of Sam Cayhall. The Chamber is a law novel and a large bulk is devoted to Sam Cayhall legal exploits and repeated pleads. But
do not be dishearten by this, John Grisham doesn't simply describe the judicial system, instead he gives a fresh insight into the world from the eyes of a damned man. This perspective is one, which forced me to empathise with Sam Cayhall. It?s a rare occasion for me when I experience such an emotion for a novel character guilty of so many atrocities. I felt this emotion only in Lolita, and in The Chamber the reasons as similar. Once John Grisham has peeled away the white mask, the controversy and ignorance of racism, all that is left of Sam Cayhall is a small boy who was told by his daddy to hate black people. This is viewable in the fact that Sam Cayhall's attitudes change over the period of time in which he is only exposed to contact with Adam Hall. Not pressurised by the outside world and the expectations and restrictions of the Klu Klux Klan, Sam Cayhall is free to just let go. When he does this, through the genius of John Grisham, I saw how fragile this supposed ruthless racist was. The Chamber is a powerful novel that anyone interested in race diversity should read; let me correct that, everyone should read The Chamber, full stop. Not because it is intriguing and wonderfully written or even historical, but rather it provides something which is very rare in the modern novels today. Fresh insight. So fresh, that it changed my perspective an outlook on racists and life. A novel, which can do this, is one of great stature, one of brilliance and one of John Grisham's best-written novels.
I have to start with an immediate disclaimer - this is the first, and so far only, John Grisham book that I've read. I'm more of a technothriller person, and not really into legality and courtrooms. So when my girlfriend, an avid Grisham fan, said I should read this book, I was actually looking forward to reading something a bit different to that which I would normally look at. I'm afraid to say, however, that I remain unconverted. John Grisham is one of those authors who I would describe as "film friendly" - by which I mean a lot of his books end up being made into movies (e.g. The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time To Kill, The Rainmaker, and The Chamber). As such, he's a very popular writer, with every new novel he writes a shoo-in to top the best seller list as soon as it comes out - his latest novel "A Painted House" is currently riding high in the book charts. I knew before reading this book that Grisham primarily wrote about legalese and courtroom drama, and even though I thought this might make for some heavy reading, I knew that this kind of story was usually ful of tension and suspense. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The story of The Chamber basically revolves around two men: Sam Cayhall, a man who faces the titular gas chamber for the murder of two little boys in the late sixties, and Adam Hall, Sam's grandson lawyer who is trying to get him off death row. I'm not going to go into detail about what happens in the book as it would take too long, but it is essentially a lesson on the rights and wrongs of the death penalty in America, alongside being an essay on the politics and racial intolerance of the American south. I can tell you that as a person with no real opinion on the subject of capital punishment, I finished the book and still had no real opinion on the subject, but that is not the fault of the author - just my own personal viewpoint. I have to say that I didn't enjoy
the book, as I felt that Grisham's narrative style did not lend itself to easy reading. The actual story is very compelling, and the characters and their interactions with each other are excellently created and developed, but I just felt that events were being purely described - you are told in intimate detail about trifling events, like walks that the protagonists take, or places they visit. You aren't told nearly enough about how they actually feel, or what they think, or what they hope and fear. Conversations are at times dry and boring, and it was often a real effort to make yourself read another five page conversation between two ultimately inconsequential characters about nothing in particular. My girlfriend assures me that Grisham's other novels are different, and maybe they are, but I'm afraid that reading The Chamber has not persuaded me to rush out and buy his other novels to check them out. In fact, it has positively put me off Grisham for the foreseeable future. Finally, we come to the ending of the book, and apart from the main thrust of the story (will Sam Cayhall live or die), nothing is resolved. You may think that this is all that matters, but in every story there are subplots and minor storylines that require conclusion, and I felt that nothing was closed or dealt with. The story ends without really ending, and the result is a rather unsatisfied feeling on completing the last page. Not only that, but I felt absolutely nothing for the fate of Sam - as the main character in the book, the reader should at least be made to care about their fate. Personally, when I reached the end and found out Sam's fate, I couldn't have cared less - I was just bored with it all. (By the way - the film version of The Chamber, starring Chris O'Donnell as Adam and Gene Hackman as Sam, was on TV a few weeks back. It wasn't any better than the book, I'm afraid.) Ultimately, I felt this novel had a message it w
as trying to convey to its reader, and whether or not it conveyed it depends mostly on the readers' original viewpoint, and the strength of their belief in it. As a legal thriller, it has its moments, but unfortunately often becomes weighed down by its own dull, listless narrative style, and is not an enjoyable read. Grisham fans may love it, but I'm very sorry to say that personally, I didn't.
I am an avid Grisham fan, so as you may expect on a recent holiday I took the opportunity to get my teeth into a good book... The chamber is about an ageing man called Sam Cayhall on Death row for bombing a Jewish lawyers office and his grandson Adam Hall. Adam is a young lawyer who joined his firm, particularly because it represented his Grandfather. Adam has not always known who is Grandfather was because Adam's father was ashamed and chose to change the family name and move interstate. When Adam did find out his identity he began to collect and study all he could on his Grandfather's case. Adam asks his firm if he can become his grandfather's lawyer. It soon comes to light that the court's have lifted a stay of appeal on Sam's life and an execution date is set. Of course the book is more complex than that. There is the accomplice to Sam, who has never come to the forefront. Police always suspected another man and they were not always convinced that Sam was the main person in this crime - the question is however is Sam going to spill the beans or be the fall guy? There is a part of you that wants this book to be about a young lawyer who saves his grandfather's life in a dramatic courtroom drama. Whether it does do that is up to the reader to find out. (Who am I to give away an ending.) This book is riveting. It tells a story about the gas chamber. Grisham as ever talks about life on death row in detail. The conditions, the space (or lack of it)and the nature of the law. In my opinion there are challenging undertones in this book about the issue of Capital Punishment in the American justice system. Does anyone have the right to kill anyone? Is it okay to take a life for a life? This book gives an inside look to death row, the staff - only doing their job and the inmates. Although this is a fictional book I can't help think that Grisham is making a
point - but who am I to comment on that. All in all a thoroughly good read.
As a fan of John Grisham, this is the third book of his that I decided to read. As usual I was not disappointed, but highly surprised by his flair for writing. Never have I met an author with the capabilities of Grisham. The Chamber is the story of a Klu Klux Clan member who is sitting in Prison waiting for his call to the death chamber. However, his grandson, a promising lawyer, working for the lawyer's that represented him in his original trial for bombing a Jewish man's offices, decides that his grandfather deserves a chance of life and that maybe he is not guilty and is in fact covering up for somebody. The story keeps you on the edge of your seats right until the closing lines of the book, where the weird ending will have you tearing your hair out. As the story develops, you can develop a sense of sympathy for the Sam Cayhall, the man on Death Row. Will he get that last minute pardon or will he be proved innocent? You'll just have to read the book to find out.
One of the best writers to walk the face of this earth. Grisham is outstanding. The book blends ethics, loyalty and reality in to a splendid novel that could be based on a true story. The Novel revolves around two charcters. A former KKK member, who is sentenced to death row and a lawyer who has a very deep and personal secret. Though the crimes of the prisoner are horrific, in some twisted way you find yourself rooting for him-I'm not a racist, I'm asian, but Grisham allows you to get inside this character. As the heading says it's Typical John Grisham, may be not as good as The Firm, but still one of the best books written. The book was made into a movie, unfortunately the movie did no justice for the novel, the vital element missing from the film- the emotion that one feels from reading The Chamber. Metal Gear Ninja
This is novel cuts straight into the boundaries of human rights. An aging man is on death row. all his last chances in the courts are coming to an end and he is about to be gased for the murder of two young jewish boys that he didn't commit, he was part of a KKK team sent to bomb the offices of a rich jewish laywer defending blacks in a small sourthern american town but he was he driver and felt moraly wrong when the timer was delayed and the offices blew with the two children inside. so he was arrested and finally grassed up. The main plot starts when his grandson becomes a lawyer for one reason, and thats to defend his grandfather. he takes over the case and spends every waking moment with his grandfather listening to the stories of his family and the parts he didn't know and wasn't told. Its a gripping tail of suspense and waiting to find out if he will get off it or will the gas end his days. Its a must buy or read as this novel will make you cry.
The Chamber is based around a death penalty case. Sam Cayhall planted a bomb as part of a KKK attack on Jewish citizens in the '60's which when it blew up the office murdered the two small Jewish children who were playing inside. After 2 mistrials he is tried for a third time, 30 years after the bomb. In this time his grandson has qualified as a lawyer and has taken an interest in the case. His grandson Adam Hall joined the firm who were representing his grandfather in the hope that he could get onto the case. The story develops as a countdown to the final moments where you go through a mixture of emotions for Sam. He believes in what he did and cannot see anything wrong in it, he feels as if has down nothing wrong , almost as if he was part of an army following orders except his "army" was the KKK. It is an interesting story and certainly makes you question your own beliefs as you go through the book. I would recommend it, especially if you enjoyed Grisham's other early work.
This novel tells the story of an aged convicted murderer (Sam Cayhall) and the efforts of his lawyer (who is also his grandson) to keep him from the gas chamber. The cleverest part of the story is the way in which, as it progresses, the reader's sympathy for Sam is gradually built. This is hard to believe until you read it - how could anyone feel sympathy for a Ku Klux Klan murderer, after all? The story concentrates on the damage that Sam has done to his family, and his regrets for that damage. The suspense builds towards the end of the book, as the available time to win a stay of execution or a reprieve diminishes. In the meantime, Sam's case becomes a political football for death penalty campaigners on both sides, and for the state governor. In the final chapter..........
As the first John Grisham novel I was to read I didn't really know what to expect, when I looked at it for the first time. From what I'd been told it was supposedly going to be pretty special and when I finally began to read, I wasn't at all disappointed. As soon as you start the first chapter you are transported directly into the world of Mississippi in the time of the KKK. This harsh unforgiving province is demonstrated to perfection for all to look on and marvel in. You are immediately involved within the story line and happenings in this time and place forming your first ready to be slowly changed throughout the rest of the book. The initial hated and anger towards the murderers is superbly altered giving the defendant a new edge you could never see at the start. In short an unmissable classic of a novel to be relished in every syllable.
This John Grisham blockbuster sees a young American lawyer take on the might of the american justice system in an effort to save his Grandfather , a convicted double murderer,from the Gas Chamber.The author uses his literary expertise to vividly paint the constrasts in opinion between the two men.Grisham's brilliance is as evident here as it is in all his other novels and once again he provides a wickedly good read.Whether you arein favour of the death penalty or not you will find that this book will confirm both your best and worst fears about capital punishment
A new lawyer defends a member of the Ku Klux Klan whose racism he despises, but is his client guilty?