Gray Mountain: by John Grisham | Summary & Analysis
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Published in 2014, Gray Mountain is a legal thriller focusing on strip mining for coal. Set in Appalachia, a town in eastern America, this story centres around a lawyer named Donovan Gray. A big character in such a small town, and certainly to Samantha Kofer. She is new to the area from New York, and having previously worked in the capital's biggest law firm is feeling decidedly out of place.
Set in the times after the Great Recession, we see third-year graduate Samantha learning on her feet in a small town that plays by its own rules. After the economy taking a nose dive, Samantha finds herself far from her former dreams of earning huge wages in New York. Samantha is desperate to keep her benefits of her former role and has arrived at Appallachia on the promise of being taken back if the company finds itself in credit again. Working under Mattie Wyatt at the Mountain Legal Aid Clinic, she soon learns what a tough world she has entered where coal miners have little to no rights, even riddled with disease solely attributable to their working environment.
Gray Mountain by John Grisham beautifully captures both the stunning scenery that the story is set in, but of the colliding worlds of face paced New York and the slow but deadly Appallachia. Donovan Gray is the nephew of Mattie Wyatt and is on a mission to tackle the big bosses of the strip coal mining world. In doing so, John Grisham enlightens us to the dangers of this world and the damage it is doing to both the environment and the people working in it. Highlighting the extremity of the work, Donovan takes on a heartbreaking case where an upended boulder rolls down and flattens a worker's house, killing his two boys inside. The story then hones in on the proceeding court case and Donovan seeking justice asking for settlement. Samantha meanwhile is involved in a love interest, and also abused by men in the town.
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