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The Tilted World

The Tilted World [Kindle Edition]

Tom Franklin , Beth Ann Fennelly
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'A new novel from Tom Franklin is always a reason to get excited, but a novel from Franklin and Fennelly is just cause to throw a block party' Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestselling author

'The Tilted World is everything I hold dear in a novel—a raucous, page-turning story with grit, utterly steeped in the land and people, and told in such poetic language that I kept forcing myself to slow down so I could enjoy the writing. It’s hard to remember that this novel is the work of a team rather than a singular, inspired mind. I hope this is the first of many novels from Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly—together they offer a unique and captivating voice' Eowyn Ivey, bestselling author of the The Snow Child

‘Sometimes a crime writer comes along who shakes the genre so that all the clichés come rattling out like loose nails, leaving something clean and spare. Tom Franklin proved to be such a writer with his atmospheric Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (2010), set in rural Mississippi. But is Franklin even a crime writer at all? Or is he, like his great predecessor William Faulkner (a clear influence), using the trappings of the crime novel for literary ends? This gritty, vivid tale is even more impressive than Crooked Letter’ Financial Times

‘Tom Franklin’s wonderful Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter was one of the finest novels published in 2010. The Tilted World, written with his wife, the poet Beth Ann Fennelly, is set in the Deep South in 1927 against the backdrop of the Great Mississippi Flood . . . What follows is an epic tale of loyalty and betrayal that plays out in the shadows of the artificially heightened levees as a potentially biblical flood threatens to wreak unimaginable devastation across the delta. The dirty realism that characterised Franklin’s language in Hell at the Breech (2004) and Smonk (2007) is here complemented by Fennelly’s poetic flourishes as she conjures up the surreal, apocalyptic landscape in which Ingersoll and Dixie Clay scrabble for survival, although the most satisfying aspect of the novel is the vivid characterisation as Dixie and Ingersoll struggle to dovetail their respective interpretations of right and wrong’ Irish Times

‘This enthralling novel, written by a husband and wife, both of whom are winners of literary prizes, is set against a background of the worst natural disaster America has ever endured . . . The landscape is brilliantly described, the major characters and the bit parts all spring to life vividly . . . it is my tip to win a major literary prize’ Literary Review

‘Just like his Gold Dagger award-winning tale of a murder, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, Tom Franklin's new thriller The Tilted World, written with his wife, the poet Beth Ann Fennelly, immerses its readers in America's deep south. It's a thriller for those who like their fiction literary, or literary fiction for those who like their thrills . . . There are thrills and nail-biting aplenty in The Tilted World, as Dixie Clay finds herself spiralling deeper into danger, and as the Mississippi lunges for the top of the levee where the sandbaggers struggle to contain it. But from the chilly descriptions of the rain that drip from its pages, to its effortless recreation of prohibition-era America – The Tilted World is a thriller to savour, not to rush through. Franklin and Fennelly's characters are each beautifully, fully realised, from Dixie Clay in all her tough isolation and her longing for a child – Franklin wrote loneliness well in Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter too – to Ingersoll, the blues-playing orphan. The threat of the rising Mississippi is fabulously ominous, the villains of the piece also suitably disturbing. Franklin comes garlanded with praise from the likes of Philip Roth and Dennis Lehane. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter was eminently worthy of its best crime novel of the year gong back in 2011, and teaming up with the prize-winning Fennelly for The Tilted World has created another novel whose presence stays long after it is put aside. This is a drowning world of "murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, dynamite and deluge" Franklin and Fennelly have given us and, as autumn draws in and the rain keeps falling, it's one to dive into with gleeful foreboding’ Observer

‘The Tilted World is a captivating Deep South drama that unfolds in the spring of 1927 as the rising, roiling waters of the Mississippi River head toward an epic and catastrophic flood. It also is a beautifully written, smartly crafted thriller that offers many delights, among them its hard-luck heroine, Dixie Clay . . . With romantic twists and tense scenes that make it hard to put down, the book is a pleasure to read. The writing is deft and memorable, at times potent with emotional punch. Collaborating on a novel might seem to create prickly problems, but Franklin and Fennelly write almost seamlessly, rarely allowing the rhythm of the narrative to shift when the writer's baton is passed from one to the other’ Huffington Post

Product Description

From the author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter - winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year

April 1927. After months of rain, the Mississippi River has reached dangerous levels and the little town of Hobnob is at threat. Residents fear the levee will either explode under the pressure of the water or be blown by saboteurs from New Orleans, who wish to save their own city.

But when an orphaned baby is found the lives of Ingersoll, a blues-playing prohibition agent, and Dixie Clay, a bootlegger who is guarding a terrible secret, collide. They can little imagine how events are about to change them - and the great South - forever.

For in the dead of night, after thick, illusory fog, the levee will break . . .

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 678 KB
  • Print Length: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Mantle (26 Sep 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CYM196Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #34,776 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Goin' down 24 Sep 2013
By Quiverbow TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In the few months between the end of 1926 and spring of the following year, unprecedented rainfall caused the Mississippi to swell to dangerous levels. It was only a matter of time before the banks of the river collapsed and flooded the Delta. On Good Friday, 1927 it did just that.

Set in the fictional town of Hobnob, after being given the task of closing down a moonshine still, two prohibition agents are missing so another pair are sent to find out what happened to their predecessors. This isn't really a crime/thriller, as everyone knows what has happened, as the local moonshine supplier, Jesse, has the whole town on his payroll, including the police. It's more of a what's-going-to-happen-to-one-of-the-agents-and-Jesse's-wife story. Unfortunately, when agent Ingersoll hands over an orphaned child to the wife, Dixie Clay, you'll telegraph it all from way off.

As much as the premise of this novel made it an interesting attraction, that it's set in the southern states makes certain passages of the text impenetrable for non-natives. That isn't the sole reason for it being a difficult book to read; I thought parts of it to be quite tedious. The word pictures for the environments didn't do much for me and parts of the dialogue seemed a bit risible. (That may be a consequence of being English.) I couldn't generate any excitement for what was going on; there was no enthusiasm for any of the characters, and I certainly didn't care what happened.

The title arises from a translation of what the local Indians called a particular stream near to where Dixie lives and this is the USA version. The authors' UK editor helpfully suggested some changes in the text to prevent embarrassment when this book is published here.
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Set against the backdrop of the historic 1927 Mississippi Flood, this is a story of murder


Rains swell the Mississippi, and all those who live beside it fear flooding

Federal revenue agent Ted Ingersoll and his partner, Ham Johnson arrive in the tiny hamlet of Hobnob, Mississippi, (fictional) to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents on the trail of a local bootlegger,

But what they find is an abandoned baby boy and so need to find him a home – and so they find him a home with Dixie Clay Holliver. Dixie is married to a philanderer but she lost her own child to motherhood and so desperately wants to have a second chance at rearing a child.

Ingersoll and Clay are immediately attracted to each other but this could lead to problems as it turns out that she is the best bootlegger in the country and could know a great deal about what Ingersoll and his partner are looking for. she on the other hand is well aware of Ingersoll, who he is, what he stands for and what danger he could bringing to her.

Meanwhile, rich entrepreneurs are growing ever fearful of the river flooding and so plan to burst the levee at Hobnob, down stream from their home of New Orleans – to protect themselves and send the risk elsewhere.

The setting

The historical setting of the 1927 floods makes for quite a read. It is an oppressive atmosphere but one which comes to life in shockingly realistic detail. Downpours here are not like any others in the world – they are almost like weapons blasting and flattering those below on earth. The rain -almost that of biblical proportions is reflected in the language

….the rain fell horizontal straight at her…

…..his face obscured behind that dripping veil….
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I enjoyed the sense of 1920s American Deep South with it's themes of prohibition and bootlegging. The scenes of natural catastrophe, the great Mississippi flood of 1927, are well evoked and the characters credible.

I enjoyed the building relationship between Ingersoll, prohibition agent, and Dixie Clay, bootlegger which was never going to be easy and is nicely played out against the growing danger and revelations as the waters continue to rise but; those elements of tension and anxiety didn't seem to build to the necessary level to hook me in. I felt there was something missing all of the way through this novel.

Not enough happens and what does happen is dealt with lightly. In the face of a natural disaster of this magnitude I expected scenes of terrific energy and movement. The novel uses some of that but it's painted into the background and remains too subtle for my own personal taste.

The Tilted World is well written and well planned and has a decent sense of history unfortunately; the story at the heart of all of that work didn't grip me and I read the book without ever feeling involved.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) `Murder and moonshine' 30 Sep 2013
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mississippi, 1927: in an age of Prohibition Dixie Clay is a bootlegger, brewing illegal alcohol. When Prohibition agent Ingersoll comes into her life, it's to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his colleagues - but a motherless baby, and the rising flood of the Mississippi itself will force them into a relationship that will change their lives.

This is one of those books which I admired but which failed to move me emotionally. Steeped in a sense of time and place, this has an epic sense of 1920s American deep south gothic about it - and yet, somehow, there's something missing at its heart. Despite the lovely writing, this book never surprised me, or caught me up in its world, or made me catch my breath, or kept me awake when I should have been asleep.

The plot of human relationships played out against an uncaring natural world is one which also permeates Ann Weisgarber's The Promise, a book I read recently and which captured my imagination in a way that this never quite managed. So a good read but one which sadly lacked the emotional potency that I expected.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Tale within a Great Drama
The central character is Dixie Clay, wife of a moonshiner with political ambitions. Around her the major players of the novel rotate, as though in a whirlpool, drawing ever closer... Read more
Published 1 month ago by mesmh
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best books I have read this year. Lovely characterisation & superb description.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice period piece, great characters and strong plot
If you liked Boardwalk Empire, you'll like this. Complex relationships on both sides of the law, bootlegging, crime, incredible weather (storms, floods, devastation). Read more
Published 2 months ago by L. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Oh, where to start.....I absolutely loved The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly! I literally started the book on a Sunday morning and feverishly read until I... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Luanne Ollivier
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tilted World
Authors, Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly;s 'The Tilted World' could be described as 'simmering'. An oft used description of any work set in the deep South of the USA. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Clem Fandango
5.0 out of 5 stars poetic
Wonderful insight into a forgotten tragedy. Powerful narrative and vivid characters. Highly recommended. Read also Crooked Letter Crooked Letter.
Published 6 months ago by helen bettinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Two words – ‘cracking story’!
It sets the scene very effectively and the characterisations are well rounded. In some senses it is not an overly demanding or thought-provoking tale but its description of the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lily
5.0 out of 5 stars A goodly tale well told!
This is an exciting, fast moving and well written novel describing the frightening natural and human forces exposed as rising river levels threaten the levees of the Mississippi of... Read more
Published 7 months ago by G. Wylie
4.0 out of 5 stars When the Levee Breaks
At first glance, I thought this book was named 'The TITLED World' and I began reading it believing all the characters would be called Sir this, or Lady that, or The Duke of... Read more
Published 10 months ago by G. J. Oxley
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
I quite enjoyed this. It is a bit different from the usual crime/thriller books though the setting is a common one. Read more
Published 11 months ago by The Emperor
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