12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 30, 2001
House' of m:th: Grisham strikes back with new sty
By Ryan Blay
Daily Arts Writer
As I was reading John Grisham's
latest novel, "A Painted House," a
friend of mine asked me what the
book was about.
I had just started it, so I vaguely
told him it was
;.:t about a young
boy growing up
A Painted on a southern
House farm during the
John Grisham 1950s.
Grade: A- My friend then
Doubleday Books asked the obvi-
A' ous question:
"Does the boy
grow up to be a
against an evil
Thankfully, the answer is "no."
Narrator Luke Chandler spins the
story much like Huckleberry Finn.
The seven-year-old lives on his fami-
ly's cotton farm in Arkansas during
an eventful 1952.
Caughtfbetween childish inno-
cence and the troubles of adoles-
cence, Luke must pick his share of
cotton to maintain the struggling
farm, keep some very high-stakes
secrets and practice catching fly balls
so he can eventually become a St.
September means picking season,
and the Chandlers - Luke, his par-
ents and his grandparents - recruit
Mexican laborers and "hill people"
from the Ozarks to assist in the pick-
A bad crop could ruin the
Chandlers, but a good crop could
provide them with enough money to
pay outstanding loans on the farm.
Grisham's best trick may be in the
way he addresses racial and class ten-
sions during that period of time. For
example, Luke's grandmother is one
rare individual who actually treats
the Mexican farmhands with respect.
The sharecropping hill people, the
Spruills, are poorer than most of the
land renters, but even they still have
prejudices against the Chandlers.
"Why don't you sodbusters paint
your houses?" big Hank asks Luke.
Paint isn't the only status symbol
in the book.
Television, telephones and cars
also serve as reminders that the '50s
are ushering in a new era for
America, even in the most rural por-
tions of the South.
Hank's mother wants to move
north and ensure Luke'saescape from
the frustrating life of a farmer. As
long as Luke gets to join Stan Musial
and his Cardinals, he'll be content.
But concerns of all sorts pose a
threat to Luke's happy dreams. Hank
Spruill has the unfortunate habit of
killing people. If arrested, all of the
Spruills would leave and the cotton
can't be picked.
The Chandlers' neighbors also
have issues. Among the worst of
them, Luke's best friend and 19-year-
old uncle Ricky is fighting in Korea,
with letters few and far between.
This isn't to say Luke has it all
bad. He still gets to go to the movies
And Hank's sister 17-year-old
Tally, takes a shine to him and lets
him watch her bathe. But with the
Cardinals falling behind in the
National League pennant chase,
hushed whispers of money troubles,
and secrets swirling, Hank's life is
It's hard not to love a boy who
makes remarks such as "He [Pappy,
Hank's grandfather] didn't like the
Jordans because they were
Methodists - and Cubs fans."
Another gem: "... Satan was wait-
ing with the likes of Hitler and Judas
Iscariot and General Grant," reminds
this Yankee reader where and when
this story is set.
As a Baptist, Luke makes very
incisive yet innocent remarks about
his church and the rival Methodists.
He also reveals his crush on Tally
through his innocence.
Trying to keep pace with all of the
scandals and action, while the
Chandlers try and beat both nature
and the river to secure their crop, is a
Grisham should be applauded not
just for trying a new style, but also
for succeeding where many would
Making a town come to life during
a church service or a town baseball
game, Grisham, through Luke,
relates a charming story.
'Metal Gear Solid 2' demo
shows the future of PS2 gami
° . ~ F
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By Matt Grandstaff
Daily Arts Writer
In Hideo Kojima's latest game, "Zone of the Enders,"
gainers take the role of Leo Stenbuck, who fights off evil
by commanding mechanized robots. The game features
great graphics, dull gameplay ... yada yada yada. The real
reason gainers pick up "Zone of the
Enders" is to get a hint of what the
biggest game of the year will be like,
Metal Gear "Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty."
S olid 2: The good news is that this game is
Demo going to rock.
For Playstation 2 The demo begins with a 10-minute
Grade: A movie showing our mullet-powered,
stealth agent, Solid Snake, enjoying a
Konami smoke as he walks down the George
Washington Bridge. From here Snake
pulls a 007 move as he puts on a stealth suit, bungy jumps
off the bridge and lands on a freighter. Usine his Codec
communicator, Snake learns of the newest Metal Gear (for
those video game players that just awoke from a coma,
these machines are capable of destroying the entire world ...
oooo), and must make sure that it does not get into the
wrong hands. As for the rest of story, it is not worth spoil-
ing. In the final version of the game, fans of the series can
expect more side stories and plot twists. Unfortunately, the
final version of the game will not be released until October
The most impressive aspect of "Metal Gear Solid 2" is
the game's jaw-dropping visuals and incredible atmos-
pheres. Taking place in the middle of a storm, water flows
naturally, raindrops appear to hit the screen and the omi-
nous thunder will make you want to check the Weather
You might also want to check your pants because intense
moments in the gameplay might make you drop a load in
your jeans. Loyal to the style of its successor, "Sons of
Liberty" it features all the suspense of being chased down
by special agents. Fortunately, director Kojima did not
make this game a rehash of the original. The game features
many new tricks, including lunging like a bowling ba
enemies, hanging from rails and the ability to ft
posters of bikini-clad women (yes really!).
While these new elements are impressive, the i
notable change to the game is the first-person m
Gainers now have the ability to switch from over-th-
angles to a first-person perspective. This addition s
cially helpful in intense shootouts. Also from this pers
tive, one has the ability to peer through lockers and c
board boxes, threaten enemies by aiming between the
(or between the balls) and even shoot gun radios fron
Overall, "Metal Gear Solid 2" looks to be the f
video game ever put together. With an amazing story
unprecedented visuals, humor and much more, it l
be the benchmark for games of the future. With the
lasting about 45 minutes without skipping story elem
gainers will have something to help prepare themselve
the actual game launch seven months from now. And m
you are it, go ahead and try "Zone of the Enders," it's
wui cay vi
Aim for the balls... they're just mechanized robotsl
S S ~S 5S ~~~ Aim for the baiis..they're just mechanized robots!