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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom…

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Tom Franklin (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,0632254,592 (3.95)258
Title:Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Authors:Tom Franklin (Author)
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2011), Edition: Reprint, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (2010)

  1. 20
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (pdebolt)
    pdebolt: There is a similar poignancy to Larry Ott and Owen Meany as they struggle to find their place in their worlds.
  2. 20
    The Orchard Keeper by Cormac McCarthy (fuzzy_patters)
  3. 10
    A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne (aliklein)
  4. 10
    A Land More Kind Than Home: A Novel by Wiley Cash (sturlington)
  5. 10
    Citrus County by John Brandon (GCPLreader)
  6. 00
    Heaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Both are crime novels that have as their main character a man returning to his childhood home and also snakes.
  7. 00
    In the Heat of the Night by John Ball (VictoriaPL)
  8. 00
    Paris Trout by Pete Dexter (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Both books take place in the south, though in different states. The underlying racial tone is very similar.

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» See also 258 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 232 (next | show all)
Silas and Larry were once friends for a short time, though one was white and one was black. Larry's life is forever changed after he goes on a date with a girl who is never seen again. Silas and Larry's lives cross paths again many years later. The book is really well written, and though some things are foreshadowed, I was still surprised by some twists and turns. The inner of lives of Larry and Silas are very well handled, and you also get to meet a cast of secondary characters. My heart went out to Larry, especially the more I learned about him--though I also understood his treatment by the community. I also really identified with Silas, although of course he turns out to be imperfect. Aren't we all? So many lives so tarnished forever by things that could have so easily been different. And yet. ( )
  cherybear | Aug 15, 2018 |
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is Tom Franklin’s crime mystery that is so much more than that. I view this as much more a story about human nature, human failings, and human relationships than a who-done-it. At the heart of the novel are two boys, Silas (a black boy) and Larry (a white boy), who want to have a friendship despite family and community taboos, and find themselves in an interesting situation as adults, standing on opposite sides of the small town legal system.

Along the way, Franklin makes some astute observations about people and small town sensibilities.

“Sometimes he thought of Alice Jones, of Silas, how Larry’s mother had given them coats but not a ride in her car. How what seemed like kindness could be the opposite.”

It made me think about intent vs. action. How sometimes we cloak our worst impulses in fancier clothing and think no one recognizes the truth. Or perhaps we do not care if others see the truth as long as we have credible deniability.

”What’s missing out of you, Silas?” Courage, he thought.

Larry certainly had a kind of courage. He is portrayed as a weaker person, but what kind of courage does it take to stand up to injustice and not let it rot your soul? When is it too late to atone for a lack of courage that affects the life of another to the extent that we see here? And where along the line might one act of kindness or inclusion have changed the outcome completely? I could not help thinking about all the excluded, laughed-at kids who become outcasts and whose lives are ruined in high school because they have their self-confidence eroded and believe they are what others say they are.

The most heroic person in this book is poor Larry Ott, who bears his undeserved fate without hate or recrimination, who continues to want and seek a friend, who bears his lonely life by caring for his chickens as if all living things matter.

Kudos to Franklin. This is my second of his novels, but hopefully not the last.
( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
You can get the gist from the description.
When the story starts, someone has attacked Larry and Silas is on the case. Both need to confront their shared past, though they don't realize it yet.
I really liked it. Vivid characters and economical writing, the story told with flashbacks. These people and their town are as alien to me as a story set on Arcturus, one reason they're fascinating.
The extra matter included an essay by Franklin about how he came to write the book which added to it. The questions for readers, not so much. ( )
  piemouth | Jun 26, 2018 |
Really did not see anything special about this at all. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Reading progress update: I've read 274 out of 274 pages. Definitely sped through the last 60 or so pages! I was not ready for it to end.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I liked the way that the story was told from the perspective of the two main characters. This book touched on some issues such as racism and inter racial relationships but it was not too heavy. The author was able to carefully and beautifully weave beautiful story telling, sensitive issues, and even a bit of mystery. ( )
  1forthebooks | May 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 232 (next | show all)
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.
added by eereed | editWashington Post, Ron Charles (Sep 29, 2010)
added by lucy.depalma | editSCIS (pay site)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tom Franklinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barsøe, Søren K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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M, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, humpback, humpback, I.

—How southern children are taught to spell Mississippi
For Jeff Franklin
in loving memory
Julie Fennelly Trudo
For Jeff Franklin and in loving memory of Julie Fennelly Trudo
First words
The Rutherford girl had been missing for eight days when Larry Ott returned home and found a monster waiting in his house.
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Haiku summary
Black and white
secret kept, secret told
brothers to behold


No descriptions found.

"...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" --Publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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