Monday, September 30, 2013

The Tilted World - Book Review

It rained for months and months during the winter of 1926-27 and the waters of the Mississippi River rose and threatened to spill over the stacks of sandbags on top of the levees protecting towns and cities and hundreds of thousands of people.

In The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly, Ingersoll and his partner Ham are revenue agents and have been sent by Hoover to Hobnob, Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of two agents who were close to discovering a local still. In Hobnob, Dixie Clay and her husband Jesse have made a fortune on moonshine even as their marriage crumbles. The paths of the federal agents and the bootleggers will cross as the flood water gush down on the community and drastically change all their lives.

The tale is intriguing. I'm always a sucker for a good moon shining story. The plot moves along steadily and then builds momentum to the moment the waters flood the area and the story surges forward on a frantic-paced, wild ride as the world washes away and the people are left with only the instinctive struggle to survive. I admit, I'm left hungry for more factual details of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 but The Tilted World does a tremendous job of showing the chaos and confusion from the perspective of people  experiencing the disaster.

With beautiful language, the language of a poet and mother, the scenes between Dixie and her newly adopted orphan baby are breathtaking and stunning in their understanding of a mother's rapidly expanding, encompassing love for an infant. I appreciated the eloquence of expression throughout the novel and since this is my first experience with either Franklin and Fennelly, I can't help but attribute the words to the poet.

With the understanding that I am being exceptionally critical because overall the novel is good enough to withstand my nitpicking, the supporting characters are at times weak and cliche. I would have liked Jeanette and Uncle Mookey to be treated with more depth.

I was mesmerized by The Tilted World and the journey back to the days of Prohibition, moonshine stills in the hills and the horrors of the Great Flood.

The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly is published by William Morrow and will be released on October 1, 2013.

**I received a complimentary copy of The Tilted World in exchange for my honest review. No additional compensation was received.**

No comments: