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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Crooked Letter Crooked Letter
Author: Tom Franklin
Now the Edgar Award-winning author returns with his most accomplished and resonant novel so far—an atmospheric drama set in rural Mississippi. In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the s...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780060594664
ISBN-10: 0060594667
Publication Date: 10/1/2010
Pages: 320
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 65 ratings
Publisher: William Morrow
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

BaileysBooks avatar reviewed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on + 902 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I am writing this review as someone who grew up in Mississippi, who learned the "crooked letter" song as a child, who moved away but then came home again.

Somehow, Franklin managed to make this fictional town in Mississippi as much of a character in the book as the people who supposedly lived there. He was able to harness those intangible elements of everyday life here and make them intimately recognizable to those of us who know what to look for. I could almost feel the humidity of the summer here dripping off the pages.

I always wonder how books like this will look to those who don't live in Mississippi, and especially to those who have never been here. But this is a book that is about so much more than race. It is a book about memory, regret, forgiveness, and redemption. It is a story about loneliness, friendship, and finding your true family.

There were elements of the plot that were not much of a surprise, but there was so much more that was meaningful in many other ways. This is a haunting but easy read and one that I would gladly recommend.
reviewed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I finished this book a few minutes ago and am already bereft that it isnt there for me to return to this afternoon. I typically prefer a linear story - or thought I did. I guess any writer can do that; but it takes a true master to so successfully weave the present into the past into the present as Tom Franklin has done here. The result is as intricately beautiful as a French braid. I'm going to have to track down which book actually won the Edgar Award for Best Novel (for which this book was nominated). It is difficult to imagine there was a better one in 2010 - or just about any other year in recent literary history. I have one bookcase (in a home lined with bookshelves on all three floors) where I keep "my classics" -- Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is already there.
mattc avatar reviewed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This is the first book I've read by Tom Franklin, and was intrigued enough to look for more. This is a mystery involving a series of murders in the present day, which brings back recollections of a long-past murder suspect (a white man), and his nearly forgotten friendship with the black man who is now the police constable.

Being a northern-raised Yankee, I felt a little out of my element with the rural Mississippi setting, and felt like the flashbacks to 1980 could have been 1950 for the backward racist element, but I suppose a little culture-shock might be good for some of us. The plot was well-done, and the book as a whole was one I can highly recommend.
bellasgranny avatar reviewed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on + 468 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I could not put this book down. It is every bit as wonderful as all the reviews say it is. It cannot be labeled by genre, as it is more than a murder mystery. It is also a beautiful, sad and poignant story about friendship, racism, isolation and loneliness. It is beautifully written literary fiction, with a terrific cast of characters and a vivid sense of place. Very highly recommend.
mjsocd avatar reviewed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I understand why this book has received high praise - it is well written and deals with "heavy" issues. It's a fairly quick read and kept my interest. It is one of those books you appreciate having read, but it is not a cheery story and I can't picture wanting to re-read.
Read All 17 Book Reviews of "Crooked Letter Crooked Letter"

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maphil avatar reviewed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on
An enticing murder mystery. I have to admit that I was kept guessing.
kdurham2813 avatar reviewed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on + 753 more book reviews
A read for my book club at One More Page bookstore, it is definitely not one I would have picked off the shelf myself, but that is why I belong to book clubs. So on to my review. I am writing this review a full week after finishing the book and a few days after book club, why you say? Because I still have no clue as to what I make of it.

Confession - the story is about a black boy and a white boy and their relationship as it evolves over time. WELP this girl got the characters mixed up and had to back it up a few (50) pages and re read to get myself on track. So read closely and make sure you know who is talking!

Maybe because of my character mix up or because I just wasn't connecting with the story - I thought the characters were endearing and the story believable and interesting, but I just wasn't drawn to find out what was going to happen next.

Some people at book club empathazied with Larry, while I saw him as meek and a boy/man with very low self confidence. There were several times where I was trying to play therapist and give Larry some pep talks to buck up and confront the townspeople, but alas he just kept keeping on. I guess don't upset the apple cart!
Now without using too many more cliches, I am going to say that it was enjoyable, the writing was very descriptive, but not overbearing and it was worth picking up.


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