Thursday, 20 January 2011

Customer tip No.2 "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" by Tom Franklin

Well, so far, so very good with customer recommendations. This book is a gripping read and I have no nails left to prove it. It fits into the increasingly popular "literary crime fiction" genre - not one I am hugely familiar with, although I have read a few recently (my favourite so far being "Black Water Rising"). Set in deepest rural Mississippi, yall find it real hard to put down once you've gone picked it up. Yall also be talkin to yoselves in southern drawl for days to come.

The story centres around an oddball loner, Larry who locals suspect was involved in the disappearance of a young girl ten years previously. Focus comes back onto him when another girl goes missing and he is found bleeding from a gun wound in his own home. Local cop Silas knew Larry from school and his investigations lead to him confronting his own past, as the story flashes back to their days as young boys growing up in the woodlands - one a middle-class white boy, the other poor and black. This is the real beauty of the book for me - the journey it takes back through their lives in a tough, rural landscape with its rednecks and its racial tensions, as mistakes are made that resonate long into the future.

The prose is delicious, it really is. His sense of place is incredible - I was completely immersed in the humid summers of the south - the dust-track roads, the mosquitos, the greasy diners, the squawking chickens and lonely road-side motels. For all the harshness of the backdrop though, it has a warmth and humanity it could easily have lacked - a deep sense of goodness and ultimately of love. His rich characters remind me of something from an Annie Proulx or Cormac McCarthy novel.

So thank you Mr W and Mrs S for the recommendation. A big thumbs up from me and one of those rare books that are likely to be just as popular with men and women. It's been shortlisted for the Edgar Awards in the states and will be keeping my fingers crossed for it.

Vlashka isn't around tonight to help me choose my next read from my "customer tips pile" so I will get back to the brilliant "Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen - a hefty tome that lives by my bedside being slowly digested in between customer tips.

Please keep the suggestions flowing.
Mrs B

1 comment:

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

So far so good. I know you enjoyed the first. I thought the novel would be those good books that hardly become popular. However, for it to be nominated for an award means it is already known to people.