Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
In rural Mississippi, Larry lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion when his date went missing over 20 years ago. Silas, who was once a friend of Larry’s, is the town 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.
Book Club Ideas
The setting of Mississippi is an important aspect of the book. A Mississippi poster like the one below can greet your guests as they arrive for the book club party.
Silas has fond memories of listening to Al Green when he was younger (page 206).
Book Club Menu
At the mechanic shop owned by Larry’s dad, the soda machine had drinks that I had not seen in some time: Tab and Orange Nehi. I could not find these in the grocery store but they are still available at Amazon.
At the diner where Silas would eat, he loved the hot dogs, which were made with kielbasa and he would eat them with lots of ketchup, mustard, relish and chopped onion with a dab of hot sauce on top (page 93).
For dessert, try this gooey Mississippi Mud Cake. This is called a cake, but it is more like a pecan brownie covered with marshmallows and chocolate pecan icing. It is for people how like their desserts sweet and nutty.
Book Club Resources
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Goodreads: 3.79 stars (5733 ratings)|
|Amazon: 4.5 stars (168 ratings)|
|LibraryThing: 4.07 stars (111 ratings)|
|My Rating: 4 stars. This was an enjoyable, but at times quite depressing, novel set in rural Mississippi. There is a mystery to be solved, with one minor surprising twist in the novel for me, but it is primarily a story about friendships, racial tensions and making amends.|
- What is the significance of the title of the book?
- What did you think of Silas’ character? Could you understand why he kept quiet for so long? Would you forgive him if you were Larry?
- How about Larry’s character? Did he seal his own fate by not telling the whole story of the last time he saw Cindy Walker?
- Why did Larry befriend Wallace Stringfellow? Why was he able to overlook his flaws?
- Why do you think Larry stayed in the town that turned its back on him? Why did Silas return to the town?
- In the beginning of the novel, who did you think killed the Walker girl? Did your suspicions change over the course of the novel?
- Did you enjoy the ending of the novel? Did you feel like all the problems were resolved or were you left with unresolved issues?
- Discuss the racial tensions portrayed in this novel. Did the racial slurs make you uncomfortable?
Purchase Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter at your favorite bookseller
|Tom Franklin is the author of Poachers: Stories, Hell at the Breech, and Smonk. Winner of a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship, he 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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