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Ebook The Tilted World by Tom Franklin read! Book Title: The Tilted World
The author of the book: Tom Franklin
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Reader ratings: 7.1
Edition: Not Avail
Date of issue: September 26th 2013
ISBN: 0230766145
ISBN 13: 9780230766143
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 947 KB

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this was just beautiful. i knew i was going to love it, having read two books by franklin and one by fennelly (and for me to give four stars to a poetry book is unusual), but it really exceeded my expectations. and for those of you who are wary, as i usually am, of books written by two authors, know that in this case, when both of the authors are excellent at their craft, it can be a really magical experience.

it takes place in 1927, when the mississippi river is about to burst through its levees and flood 27,000 square miles of land, destroying everything in its path. this year is also at the height of prohibition, when revenue agents were roaming the land, searching for illegal stills and grabbing up bootleggers. moonshine, moonshine everywhere….

this is kind of a romeo and juliet story with bootleggers. we have dixie clay, married to a slimy, cheating bootlegger named jesse, who has swept her away to a lonely existence and given her a son to whom she devoted all of herself until he died of smallpox. desperate for distraction, she begins making the 'shine herself, while jesse becomes the businessman, taking long trips to "make sales" while she is left behind, desolate and lonely on the edge of a town that looks down on her for her illegal activities, while still buying her wares. her life is routine, mourning, and regret.

ingersoll is a man who grew up in an orphanage, went directly from there into military service, and from there into a job as a revenue agent, with no pauses for family or companionship. his closest friend is fellow-agent and former officer ham, with whom he comes to hobnob, a town in which two revenue agents have mysteriously disappeared, and where they expect to find the bootlegger responsible.

hobnob is a town aflutter with problems before the agents even arrive. with the river rising and fear of a flood rising with it, a group of bankers out of new orleans had offered money to hobnob to allow them to buy the town, clear it out, and deliberately flood it to relieve the water pressure and hopefully prevent their own land from flooding. but hobnob was torn with indecision, with a bunch of down-on-their-luck farmers who felt they should struggle and die on the same land where their parents had stubbled and died, and no one was able to agree on how the money was to be distributed. so the offer was rejected, but the threat of the flood is still very real to everyone living along the river. rumors of saboteurs and stolen dynamite are flowing and those who can are evacuating, taking their children and valuables away from the danger.

when ham and ingersoll arrive in town, they walk into the aftermath of a store looting, which has left behind several dead bodies, and one very alive baby. they can't risk blowing their cover, but ingersoll has a soft spot for orphans, and when he learns that the orphanage has been evacuated, he asks around town and learns about dixie clay, a woman who has lost her son, and who might be very glad to have one to care for again. ingersoll brings her the baby, and is struck by her beauty and demeanor, not realizing that it is her husband they are in town to track down, nor that she is the one making the 'shine.

and the waters rise.

and i gotta say, i am really shocked by the mediocre response to this one so far, because i loved every page of it.

they created characters that i cared about, they resurrected a largely forgotten tragedy and gave it immediacy and poignancy, they layered the story with human frailty and strength, with betrayal and hope, with stark realities and fairy-tale possibilities. it is lyrical and poetic but also harsh. it just…sings.

like this:

She wasn't the same proud girl she'd been, prettiest in all the piney woods, or so folks said, engaged to the prettiest fellow. She saw now that she'd married Jesse while knowing only the pretty part of him. She'd read so many books she'd simply filled in the rest.

that says so much to me, in so few words. not just about the state of her marriage, but also the kind of person she is - accustomed to a certain treatment because of her smalltown beauty, dreamy and romantic and ambitious because of her bookishness… but it is so economical. and affecting.

and every scene with dixie clay and willy, her foundling son, is just beautiful. i am attributing all of these scenes to fennelly's pen, on the strength of what i read in her poetry book tender hooks, which was all about motherhood, and equally lovely.

That's right, God: give me a son and then set a match to him.

it's hard not to fall in love with ham, with his bluff attitudes and his appetites and humor. and it's hard not to root for dixie clay and ingersoll. and the constant rising of the river forming the backdrop to their story, while the panic and resignation and plots of others weaves through and through…

for me, it is an easy five stars. and i would love to see more collaborations from these two lovebird-writers, please.

i said please, so it has to happen now. those are the rules.

also a huge thank you to joel for stealing his mom's copy and sending it to me. i am mailing it back, although it wounds me to do so...

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Read information about the author

Ebook The Tilted World read Online! Tom Franklin was born and raised in Dickinson, Alabama. He held various jobs as a struggling writer living in South Alabama, including working as a heavy-equipment operator in a grit factory, a construction inspector in a chemical plant and a clerk in a hospital morgue. In 1997 he received his MFA from the University of Arkansas. His first book, Poachers was named as a Best First Book of Fiction by Esquire and Franklin received a 1999 Edgar Award for the title story. Franklin has published two novels: Hell at the Breech, published in 2003 and Smonk published in 2006. The recipient of the 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship, Franklin now teaches in the University of Mississippi's MFA program and lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his wife, the poet Beth Ann Fennelly, and their children.

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