Global Read: Bologna


John Grisham has proved time and time again that the legal genre is not his only area of expertise; The Broker not only displays Grisham’s extraordinary story-telling ability but his ability to diversify himself in the literary profession says Uzoma Ukah.

What really awes me about this thrilling masterpiece is the setting of the plot in Bologna, Northern Italy. This is the story of Joel Backman, a former broker and powerful attorney (yes, Grisham couldn’t resist), who’s stepped on some powerful “Government toes”. After spending several years in jail, he is pardoned by the American president and released, but here a cat-and-mouse chase ensues between Backman and the ‘authorities’ who disagree with his release.

When Backman is sent undercover to Italy by the CIA for his own protection, Grisham is able to conduct a tour of the country’s rich cultural history for character, and reader, alike. In the ancient city of Bologna, one’s social status can be determined simply by dress, the difference between tortellini (small pasta stuffed with pork) and tortellini (larger pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese), and a connoisseurship in vino is granted at birth. In vino veritas: in wine there is truth. Second is a crash-course in the history of Bologna’s art and architecture and Grisham brings the city of Bologna to reality on the page.

If you’d rather escape rainy Leeds for  an enchanting European city go no further than this spellbinding thriller.

The Broker is available now from Arrow.

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