The Tilted World by Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Reprint edition (June 10, 2014)
Set against the backdrop of the historic flooding of the Mississippi River, The Tilted World is an extraordinary tale of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, and a man and a woman who find unexpected love, from Tom Franklin, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and award-winning poet Beth Ann Fennelly
The year is 1927. As rains swell the Mississippi, the mighty river threatens to burst its banks and engulf everything in its path, including federal revenue agent Ted Ingersoll and his partner, Ham Johnson. Arriving in the tiny hamlet of Hobnob, Mississippi, to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents who’d been on the trail of a local bootlegger, they are astonished to find a baby boy abandoned in the middle of a crime scene.
Ingersoll, an orphan raised by nuns, is determined to find the infant a home, and his search leads him to Dixie Clay Holliver. A strong woman married too young to a philandering charmer, Dixie Clay has lost a child to illness and is powerless to resist this second chance at motherhood. From the moment they meet, Ingersoll and Dixie Clay are drawn to each other. He has no idea that she’s the best bootlegger in the county and may be connected to the agents’ disappearance. And while he seems kind and gentle, Dixie Clay knows full well that he is an enemy who can never be trusted.
This was my first book by Tom Franklin, but I’ve heard so many rave reviews about Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, that when I was offered the chance to review it, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.
The beginning of the book not only grabbed my attention, but it also made me laugh over and over. The visions in my head of Dixie Clay “sloshing” through the mud, and then her husband Jesse talking his way out of the predicament he was in by pretending there were 3 men out there with Dixie Clay was genius!
But from there the book took a slight decline. I think the story would have had a better flow to it if it had been written by one author instead of two. Sometimes it seemed as if one thought ended and a whole other thought process was started. Other times a scene went on to long.
My favorite characters are Dixie Clay and Ingersole. I loved that Ingersole tried to hunt down a home for the baby. And the way Dixie Clay reacted to the baby was very touching.
The middle of the book seemed to drag a bit. The good part was that it was very descriptive, and I could see what I was reading. Then, even though the ending was a bit predictable, I still enjoyed it.
All in all this was a good read. I did learn some interesting things about the flood, and I think it would be a good choice for anyone who loves historical fiction.
About The Author
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.
When Ingersoll learns that a saboteur might be among them, planning a catastrophe along the river that would wreak havoc in Hobnob, he knows that he and Dixie Clay will face challenges and choices that they will be fortunate to survive. Written with extraordinary insight and tenderness, The Tilted World is that rarest of creations, a story of seemingly ordinary people who find hope and deliverance where they least expect it—in each other.
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