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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crooked Letter Crooked Letter

I was all set to review this book. I finished it last night, closed it with a big old sigh, remarked to myself-- it was very late at night-- how much I really loved the book. Then this morning, I saw this review:
Tom Franklin: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter Review :: Books :: Reviews ::

It's really all you need to know about the novel, literary fiction, additional reading choices.
But of course, I'll add my two-cents worth in case you don't feel like doing a lot of clicking and reading.

Most school children should know exactly what the derivation of the title of this book is. That rhyme we all learned: M-i-crooked letter crooked letter- i- crooked letter crooked letter- i- hump back hump back - i.

So Tom Franklin sets the story in south Mississippi, with such amazingly appropriate characters.
Larry Ott, a sorry character if I ever saw one. Mechanically disinclined.
Larry's automotive-shop owning father, irked by his seat-belt wearing brother-in-law, with his "low sighs, how he'd shut his eyes and shake his head at the idiocy of something. Or someone." Just an all-around unpleasant fellow, in my book.
And of course Silas, the high school jock back in town all these years later. Now a constable with plenty of police work for him to stick his nose in.

Oh, how differently Silas and Larry's story could have turned out. If a mother had made a different choice. If Silas had spoken up. If Larry didn't need a friend, and make all the wrong ones. If I'm making this book sound like a downer, that's wrong. It's a mystery. Detective story. Family saga (though a short one). Southern literary fiction at its best.
Not one unnecessary word in that entire book.
And did I say it's a mystery? Highly recommended.

Now I guess I'll return my copy to the library. But I'll keep my eyes open for something else by Tom Franklin. Great Mississippi writer. Great writer!


Helen Hemphill said...

Sounds great! I love a good mystery. Helen

Portugal said...

This book was great, moved well, couldn't put it down, but the ending was a little bit of a disappointment. The "killer" actually didn't have the time to kill and hide the body. The author didn't make the details clear enough to address these issues and the body was never found. Maybe I just missed something. I would still recommend it though because it's a great story about the south, racism and people's attitudes. The characters were well developed and I found myself crying for Crazy Larry.