Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

3.82 avg rating
( 31,762 ratings by GoodReads )
 
9780060594671: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

“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.”
   — David Wroblewski

 

“A new Tom Franklin novel is always a reason to get excited, but Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is more—a cause for celebration. What a great novel by a great novelist.”
—Dennis Lehane

 

A powerful and resonant novel from Tom Franklin—critically acclaimed author of Smonk and  Hell at the BreechCrooked Letter, Crooked Letter tells the riveting story of two boyhood friends, torn apart by circumstance, who are brought together again by a terrible crime in a small Mississippi town. An extraordinary novel that seamlessly blends elements of crime and Southern literary fiction, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is a must for readers of Larry Brown, Pete Dexter, Ron Rash, and Dennis Lehane.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Product Description
Edgar Award-winning author Tom Franklin 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 son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town.

More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades.

A Q&A with Author Tom Franklin

Q: Tell us a bit about your latest book Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. How did you come up with the title?

Franklin: Title's a pneumonic device used to teach children (mostly southern children) how to spell Mississippi. M, I, crooked-letter, crooked-letter, I, crooked-letter, crooked-letter, I, humpback, humback, I.

Q: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is a bit of a departure from your previous two novels—Smonk and Hell at the Breech—in that it is set in contemporary times and the story line is a bit less dark. What inspired the premise for this novel and the departure from a more historical setting?

Franklin: I'd been wanting to write about a small town police officer, and I'd long had the image of a loner mechanic in my mind. When I put the two together, the story began to form. I used a lot of autobiographical stuff for Larry, the mechanic.

Q: A review in USA Today (for Hell at the Breech) stated that, “he also makes his characters rise up from the pages as if they were there with you.” …and this is certainly true in your latest novel. How do you approach the task of developing your characters and bringing them to life? Are the characters in Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter based on anyone in particular?

Franklin: They're both a combination of different facets of different people, a conglomeration of fact and fiction. I usually try to just let them begin to do what they want to do, just put them in a situation and see what they do. When they begin to surprise me, do things I hadn't anticipated, that's when it's working.

But the character of Silas "32" Jones is very loosely based on the sole police officer of the hamlet of Dickinson, Alabama, where I grew up. This guy was actually the law in a nearby mill town, and my hamlet of Dickinson fell in his tiny jurisdiction. I've always loved the idea of small town cops, especially one who might be a kind of underdog to the police forces of nearby larger towns.

Q: In Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter your two main characters are anything but stereotypical—the young black boy goes off to college to play baseball and comes back to be the town constable and the young white boy is the accused murderer and the town outcast. What, if anything, prompted you to portray these characters this way?

Franklin: No real person is a stereotype, and I try to make my characters as real as I can. We're all a mess of contradictions and secrets, strangenesses and desires, and nobody's all good or all bad. We're all somewhere in the spectrum between absolute good and absolute evil. So I just try to find a character who's fairly normal, and put him or her in a fix and see how he or she negotiates it to see, as Kurt Vonnegut says, what he or she is made of. In this case, the story as I came to understand it called for Larry to stay home and Silas to leave. If it had been the other way around, I'd still work to make the characters unstereotypical.

Q: Without giving away too much of the story, what is one thing (emotion, thought) that readers can expect to walk away with after reading this book?

Franklin: It's a sad book, but it's full of hope. Hope is what I want a reader to leave with.

Q: Historically the South has not always had a positive image in other parts of the country. How has your experience growing up and living in the rural South shaped your talent as a writer? And have you ever felt the need to justify or redeem the South’s past in any of your works?

Franklin: I think growing up in the south made me the person I am, and the writer I am comes from that. So, yes, the south's made me the writer I am. It taught me to listen to the cadences and rhythms of speech, and to notice the landscape. It also has this defeated feel, a lingering of old sin, that makes it sweet in a rotting kind of way. Much of it is poor, much is rural, and that's an interesting combination, a deep well for stories.

Q: Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer? Who are some writers, past and present, that you admire or have inspired you?

Franklin: I always knew I wanted to tell stories, one way or another. If I'd had a video camera in the mid 1970s I'm sure I'd be a filmmaker now. But I just had a portable typewriter, and so the stories I could tell were ones on paper.

Q: You are one of the most celebrated writers in the field, and have been compared to the likes of Harper Lee, William Faulkner, and Elmore Leonard. What do you believe is the one thing that sets you apart from other contemporary writers in your genre?

Franklin: What sets me apart? I honestly don't know that I’m more "apart" from other writers of my generation. Landscape plays a large role in what I write, but that's true of many other writers. My stuff is set in the south, but that's true of others as well. I don't know, honestly.

Q: As a professor of English, what is one piece of advice that you would share with aspiring writers?

Franklin: Read, starting with the classics. Read all the time. If you don't read, you won't ever be a writer. Also, write. This seems obvious, but it's amazing how many "writers" don't write very much.

From the Back Cover:

In the 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals in a small town in rural Mississippi. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry was the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, black single mother. But then Larry took a girl to a drive-in movie and she was never seen or heard from again. He never confessed . . . and was never charged.

More than twenty years have passed. Larry lives a solitary, shunned existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has become the town constable. And now another girl has disappeared, forcing two men who once called each other "friend" to confront a past they've buried for decades.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Franklin, Tom
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN 10: 0060594675 ISBN 13: 9780060594671
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Orion Tech
(Grand Prairie, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description William Morrow Paperbacks. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0060594675 . Bookseller Inventory # HGT5042SWLC101116H0010P

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 2.47
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 2.95
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Franklin, Tom
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks (2011)
ISBN 10: 0060594675 ISBN 13: 9780060594671
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Book Deals
(Lewiston, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description William Morrow Paperbacks, 2011. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Long after the other 75 novels of suspense you ve read this year merge in your memory, you ll vividly recall this novel. Franklin has written not just a thriller of the first order, but a very fine novel, indeed. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0060594675

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.96
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Franklin, Tom
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks (2011)
ISBN 10: 0060594675 ISBN 13: 9780060594671
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Kbooks Online
(Scarborough, ON, Canada)
Rating
[?]

Book Description William Morrow Paperbacks, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New Paperback clean, tight, unmark, a fine unread copy -ss Pictures are available on request. All orders are shipped by Kbooks on Mon, Wed & Fri USPS Media Mail for American orders and Canada Post for Canada bound orders (from Toronto). Overweight books (>1 kg) dispatched outside North America may require additional shipping charges. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000164953

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.98
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From Canada to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Franklin, Tom
ISBN 10: 0060594675 ISBN 13: 9780060594671
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
BWB
(Valley Stream, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Bookseller Inventory # 97800605946710000000

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 9.63
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Franklin, Tom
Published by Avon A (2011)
ISBN 10: 0060594675 ISBN 13: 9780060594671
New PAP Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
Paperbackshop-US
(Commerce, GA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Avon A, 2011. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # VC-9780060594671

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 7.32
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Franklin, Tom
Published by Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN 10: 0060594675 ISBN 13: 9780060594671
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Collins Publishers. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0060594675

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 7.84
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Franklin, Tom
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks (2011)
ISBN 10: 0060594675 ISBN 13: 9780060594671
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description William Morrow Paperbacks, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060594675

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 7.86
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Franklin, Tom
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States (2011)
ISBN 10: 0060594675 ISBN 13: 9780060594671
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 196 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas 32 Jones were boyhood pals in a small town in rural Mississippi. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry was the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, black single mother. But then Larry took a girl to a drive-in movie and she was never seen or heard from again. He never confessed . . . and was never charged.More than twenty years have passed. Larry lives a solitary, shunned existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has become the town constable. And now another girl has disappeared, forcing two men who once called each other friend to confront a past they ve buried for decades. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060594671

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 11.98
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Franklin, Tom
Published by PERENNIAL (2011)
ISBN 10: 0060594675 ISBN 13: 9780060594671
New Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller
PBShop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description PERENNIAL, 2011. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days.THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # IP-9780060594671

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.44
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Franklin, Tom
ISBN 10: 0060594675 ISBN 13: 9780060594671
New Paperback Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller
BargainBookStores
(Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. This item is printed on demand. Item doesn't include CD/DVD. Bookseller Inventory # 2055728

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.60
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book