Harriet Stay, January 3, 2012 (view all comments by Harriet Stay)
The title caught my attention, and made me smile remembering the tricks we used in grade school to memorize long words. And you don't have to love mysteries to appreciate this captivating novel; it was shortlisted for the Best Edgar Allan Poe Award. I read them all and considered it the best of the lot.
It begins with a shooting in Gerald County, Mississippi. What Tom Franklin brings to life is a festering in the Deep South moving his story from the 1970s to today. The protagonists, and there are two, Larry Ott, white boy, and Silas Jones, black boy, experience events that follow them forever. One runs from them; the other is perpetually shunned and withdraws from society.
Franklin draws vivid pictures of the beauty and squalor of the South and externalizes the injustice that permeates a mind-set of those raised on television, cola, and beer. Two disappearances, assumed to be murders, are at the core of this story, one a quarter of a century ago, one nine days prior to the opening of your first page.
Weeks after reading this, the story still lingered; it was thought-provoking, dense with details but never grandiose. It was and is poetry...and a darn good whodunit to boot!
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Richard Godsell-Jures, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by Richard Godsell-Jures)
I hope Tom decides to write a follow-up to this wonderful story. I loved the characters and small town in which the story to took place. Tom writes with purpose and we're better for it. I loved this story and look forward to more Tom Franklin books'.
William Morrow -
by Kelly L.,
In this story of race and youth, of tragedies that time alone cannot heal, and the ways we still need each other even when it seems too late, Franklin beautifully captures human relationships in both their simplicity and unutterable complexities.
by Kelly L.
by Library Journal,
"A ripping good mystery, this novel also has depth and a subtle literary side.... Highly recommended."
"Edgar Award winner Franklin renders luminous prose and a cast of compelling characters in this moody, masterful entry." Starred Review
by David Wroblewski,
"The classic trifecta of talent, heart, and a bone-deep sense of storytelling.... A masterful performance, deftly rendered and deeply satisfying. For days on end, I woke with this story on my mind."
by Washington Post,
"If you're looking for a smart, thoughtful novel that sinks deep into a Southern hamlet of the American psyche, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is your next book"
In a small Mississippi town, two men are torn apart by circumstance and reunited by tragedy, in this resonant new novel from the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Hell at the Breech.
A former prison guard and talented fiddler returns to his Montana hometown to bury his wife and confront the inmate who, twenty years ago, held him hostage during a prison riot.
From the critically acclaimed author of Dear American Airlines, a compulsively readable, deeply human novel that charts the course of three intersecting lives—a freegan couple living off the grid in Manhattan, a once prominent linguist struggling with midlife, and a New Jersey debt-collection magnate with a new family and a second chance at getting things right—in a thoroughly contemporary examination of that most basic and unquenchable emotion: want.
A compulsively readable, deeply human novel that examines our most basic and unquenchable emotion: want.
With his critically acclaimed first novel, Jonathan Miles was widely praised as a comic genius “after something bigger” (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times) whose fiction was “not just philosophically but emotionally rewarding” (Richard Russo, New York Times Book Review, front cover).
Now, in his much anticipated second novel, Want Not, Miles takes a giant leap forward with this highly inventive and corrosively funny story of our times, a three-pronged tale of human excess that sifts through the detritus of several disparate lives—lost loves, blown chances, countless words and deeds misdirected or misunderstood—all conjoined in their come-hell-or-high-water search for fulfillment.
As the novel opens on Thanksgiving Day, readers are telescoped into three different worlds in various states of disrepair—a young freegan couple living off the grid in New York City; a once-prominent linguist, sacked at midlife by the dissolution of his marriage and his fathers losing battle with Alzheimers; and a self-made debt-collecting magnate, whose brute talent for squeezing money out of unlikely places has yielded him a royal existence, trophy wife included.
Want and desire propel these characters forward toward something, anything, more, until their worlds collide, briefly, randomly, yet irrevocably, in a shattering ending that will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.
With a satirists eye and a romantics heart, Miles captures the morass and comedy of contemporary life in all its excess. Bold, unblinking, unforgettable in its irony and pathos, Want Not is a wicked, bighearted literary novel that confirms the arrival of a major voice in American fiction.
A tense Western and an assured debut, Black River tells the story of a man marked by a prison riot as he returns to the town, and the convict, who shaped him.
When Wes Carver returns to Black River, he carries two things in the cab of his truck: his wife’s ashes and a letter from the prison parole board. The convict who held him hostage during a riot, twenty years ago, is being considered for release.
Wes has been away from Black River ever since the riot. He grew up in this small Montana town, encircled by mountains, and, like his father before him and most of the men there, he made his living as a Corrections Officer. A talented, natural fiddler, he found solace and joy in his music. But during that riot Bobby Williams changed everything for Wes — undermining his faith and taking away his ability to play.
How can a man who once embodied evil ever come to good? How can he pay for such crimes with anything but his life? As Wes considers his own choices and grieves for all he’s lost, he must decide what he believes and whether he can let Williams walk away.
With spare prose and stunning detail, S. M. Hulse drops us deep into the heart and darkness of an American town.
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