Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Southern noir

I'm reading Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin and can't. put. it. down. In a nutshell, it's a modern day mystery twined with a 30-year-old mystery, all set in Mississippi. The realism reminds me of a Dennis LeHane novel like Gone Baby Gone, but the grittiness is polished down by Franklin's Southern roots. That probably makes no sense, but just go read this book.

The dialogue is just...it's a revelation. Franklin is a genius at nailing the soul of a dialect without getting into clunky, hard-to-read (and often insulting) phonetically-spelled words. The rhythm of speech is spot-on for the region. Lovely, lovely writing. I won't even go into how well-rounded the characters are. I feel like I've met every one of them in person.

I'll post a more detailed review on the blog when I'm done. I haven't read anything by Franklin before, but you better believe I'm going to find his other books after finishing this one. Plus, the guy grew up here in my home state...represent and all that.

You can read a super-good interview with Franklin over at Allan Guthrie's Noir Originals. In it Franklin  explains what the title means, although if you grew up in the South and know the book's about Mississippi you can probably guess.

1 comment:

lotusgirl said...

I'm definitely going to have to check that out. I love well done Southern novels. Since I grew up in SC, bad representations can really ruin even a good story.