SCOTT TUROWS 'REVERSIBLE ERRORS'
A BOOK REVIEW BY ALEX GRANT
sixth Dickensian legal-eagle melodrama reminds us forcibly that
Scott Turow is to John Grisham as Dashiell Hammett is to
Mickey Spillane pros vs. amateurs.
Oddly this solid novel, also somewhat stolid, Turow has abandoned
the frisky sense of humour that kept his fifth book PERSONAL INJURIES
afloat, was panned in THE NEW YORK TIMES on Oct.29 and raved over
The truth about
it lies somewhere in between these two extremes. PERSONAL INJURIES was
a truly compellingly vivid novel that almost leapt off the page as its
protagonist Robbie Feaver was an unstoppable force of nature,
a mover and a shaker of dubious ethics. In REVERSIBLE ERRORS the hero
Arthur Raven is a nondescript late 30s shrinking-violet
and male wallflower shy dogged and devoted to his sister, a deep-dish
Plodding and pathetic in his romantic delusions Arthur perseveres in
the defence of the mixed-breed mongrel half-wit accused of slaying three
in the "Fourth of July Massacre" at an American-Greek greasy
spoon in 1991. When the death-row inmate is given a second trial in
2001 Arthur has to contend with the wily Muriel Wynn,who
prosecuted the original case, and her ex-lover and sidekick or
is it co-conspirator ? police detective Larry Starczek .
Or was this double-dealing duo right about the accused in the first
Turows virtues as a popular novelist of the first-rank rest upon
his incisive portrayals of a gallery of plausible personalities and
upon his acute unforgiving depiction of the contradictions with contemporary
U.S. society.Its monstrous legal and economic inequalities, growing
larger and more counter-productive every day under the Bush regimen.
The rich get greedier and the poor more desperate.A born storyteller
within this niche of fiction Turow is entirely predictable in his humanism
purveying comfort-food fiction for the masses.That is the role of todays
genre literature and he puts the wimpy Grishams efforts to shame.
© Alex Grant November 2002
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