Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Tilted World” as Want to Read:
The Tilted World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Tilted World

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  3,721 Ratings  ·  646 Reviews
Set against the backdrop of the historic 1927 Mississippi Flood, a story of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, dynamite and deluge-and a man and a woman who find unexpected love-from Tom Franklin, author of the bestselling Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and his wife, Pushcart Prize-winning poet Beth Ann Fennelly

The year is 1927. As rains swell the Mississipp
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by William Morrow (first published 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Tilted World, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Tilted World

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 01, 2013 karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free-from-work
this was just beautiful. i knew i was going to love it, having read two books by franklin and one by fennelly (and for me to give four stars to a poetry book is unusual), but it really exceeded my expectations. and for those of you who are wary, as i usually am, of books written by two authors, know that in this case, when both of the authors are excellent at their craft, it can be a really magical experience.

it takes place in 1927, when the mississippi river is about to burst through its levees
Will Byrnes
Dixie Clay woke past noon, and even waking she noted that the world sounded different from when she’d retired at dawn. As she swung her feet off the bed and into rubber boots, she looked out her window. The rain lashing Hobnob had slowed, now just fat drops plopping from greasy-looking leaves. By the time she was drinking instant coffee in her kitchen, the sun was coming out. This had happened a few times since the big rains had started in November, but Dixie Clay no longer ran to the door. She
1927. Hobnob Landing, Mississippi, population 3244. The town was nestled where the Mississippi doubled back like a black racer fixing to bite its tail.

Who could have predicted, when the engineers corseted the river, straightened it out, that a flood of this magnitude would reclaim the original flow, destroying the government levees which was suppose to defy God's ideas about this mighty river?
"It is time to tell you a story, a story that will surprise you. The year was 1927, and Lord, the rains
Oct 25, 2013 Lawyer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Lawyer by: If Franklin writes it, I read it. Now if Franklin and Fennelly write it, I read it.
The Tilted World: Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly's Tag Team Novel

I've followed the career of Tom Franklin from his initial anthology Poachers. He is a dizzying wonder of the genre that has become known as "Grit Lit." These are the stories of the Rough South hearkening back to Harry Crews, Tim McLaurin and others. He's provided the introduction to Grit Lit: A Rough South Reader that gives about the best explanation of this growing subgenre of Southern Literature I've read.

Read through his c
Diane S ☔
Sep 29, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
The Tilted World The 1920's was a time for a great many changes, it also ushered in a tremendous opportunity for crime. Prohibition, bootleggers, saboteurs, and revenue men all have a prominent role in this book. There was also one of the greatest natural disasters to ever strike the United States which happened in 1927 and affected those along the Mississippi River, from Cairo, Illinois all the way to Mississippi.
Loved the history behind this book, but also loved the characters. The Civil War h
Dec 09, 2013 Snotchocheez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've consistently sung the praises of Tom Franklin's lofty brand of deep Southern (US) fiction. From his Grand Guignol splatter-fest historical fiction (Hell at the Breach and Smonk), to his short stories (Poachers), to his contemporary look at race relations, cloaked in a murder mystery (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter) I've enjoyed everything he's written. I was really leery, though, about The Tilted World, and put off reading it for nearly a year, mostly because I just could not envision a co ...more
Sep 25, 2013 ☮Karen rated it really liked it
The history of the 1927 flooding of the Mississippi River was fascinating, and evidence that Mother Nature knew how to wreak havoc back then same as today. The writing and word choices were delightful. I loved the Revenuers' stories, the bootlegger/antagonist, and his wife Dixie Clay, "a woman married to the wrong husband, who died a little every day." The flood is a major part of the story, what these people were doing leading up to it and after, "sandbagging and sabateurs, dynamite and deluge. ...more
Aug 01, 2013 Josh rated it really liked it
Great job Tom.....or great job Beth Ann.....who knows? Regardless of the author, or combination, I liked it. My guess is that the Mrs. had much to do with this work. Tom has proven to me he can rip my guts out and make me smile (Poachers is a personal favorite) and he has a soft side as well (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter has emotions out the wazoo), but something about this one gave me a different take? Did the barrel age on a different rack or was it a different mash bill? I suspect a little ...more
Matt Brady
Moonshine and murder in backwoods Mississippi on the eve of the Great Flood of 1927, one of the worst natural disasters America has ever suffered, an event that has been largely forgotten today. It's a great setting for a novel, which is part of the reason I was annoyed that so much of the page count was taken up describing a goddamn baby. You know what's cool and interesting? Redneck moonshiners matching wits against undercover revenue agents on the banks of a rapidly swelling river threatening ...more
Jan 26, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Even though I read and loved Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, I wasn’t sure that this one would be as interesting because it’s about a 1927 flood in Mississippi. I shouldn’t have been concerned. Tom Franklin is a wonderful storyteller. Apparently his wife is too. They collaborated on this novel. This was a well-researched historical novel about a natural disaster that forever altered the lives of countless flood victims along the banks of the Mississippi. Surprisingly, it is also an unlikely but ...more
Sonja Arlow
Set against the backdrop of the Mississippi flood of 1927 for some reason I expected a much heavier read but there was a lot of feel-good to be had here. The story is set in Hobnob, 3,000-odd people "nestled where the Mississippi doubled back on itself like a black racer fixing to bite its tail"

This is a place full of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, dynamite and deluge and all the characters leapt off the pages. The telling is split between Dixie Clay, a bootlegger who lost her
(3.5 stars for story, 4.5 for narration, 4 for history.) I listened to narrator Brian D'Arcy James. This is fictionalized history with a strong romance thread.

A Tilted World is set in April of 1927, when moonshine was prohibited and the Mississippi River flooded seven states -- to date the worst river flood in US history. The town in this photo (Greenville, Mississippi) features prominently in the book. It's located 30 miles from the book's fictional setting of Hobnob Landing.

Contents include
Jane Stewart
Good story. Engaging. Interesting characters and conflicts. But too many flashbacks.

This could have been 4 or 5 stars, but the frequent use of flashbacks was annoying and kept making me angry. Who is telling authors to use flashbacks?????? It’s criminal. “Stein on Writing” is my authoritative source which says: “Flashbacks break the reading experience. They pull the reader out of the story to tell what happened earlier.”

Here’s how the flashbacks went. When I say current day, I mean Ap
Feb 14, 2014 Jeanette rated it liked it
The historic locale and dire flood in hard, hard times tone was perfect. But that's about the only thing that was, for me. The writing was conducted in this novel by the current fad mode of using continual or alternating time and place hops. And with different focus of "eyes" description and dialog styles in varying chapters on top of it. Well, it ruined the entire connection of interest and plot tension as a reader, in my case. Beyond that, the story was so contrived and unrealistic in the time ...more
Feb 23, 2015 LeAnne rated it really liked it
Tom Franklin's books have always pleased me, and this one did not disappoint. Living in New Orleans, the idea of massive levee failures and widespread flooding is something that I can relate to, and the background tension that Franklin built in to the novel was palpable. The scene where Ing's horse, Horace, feels reverberations from the levee underfoot, while brief, spoke to me. He painted that frightening suspense throughout the novel quite well.

If you've never read any of Franklin's works, I w
Aug 02, 2013 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set against the backdrop of the historic 1927 Mississippi Flood, a story of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, dynamite and deluge-and a man and a woman who find unexpected love-from Tom Franklin, author of the bestselling Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and his wife, Pushcart Prize-winning poet Beth Ann Fennelly

The year is 1927. As rains swell the Mississippi, the mighty river threatens to burst its banks and engulf all in its path, including federal revenue agent Ted Ingersoll an
Laura Lilly Cotten
Sep 03, 2013 Laura Lilly Cotten rated it really liked it
In April of 1927, the Volstead Act was as weak to moonshine as levees were to the rising Mississippi River. Set against Prohibition and the Mississippi Flood, The Tilted World tells the story of Dixie Clay Holliver, a sharp shooting shiner with a too slick husband, and Ted Ingersoll, a Great War sniper turned fed with a Temperance mission from Hoover. They’re both good at shooting, both lonely and underappreciated, and both want out of their careers. It’s only a surprise to them when they fall i ...more
Oct 06, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cheryl by: Advanced Reader Copy
Started slow but before I knew it, I was absorbed into the story. The authors seemed to intend this as a romance but I really felt the romance was really just background for the real story. A very good read for a cloudy day after a long, busy week. One problem, am now very, very hungry for a great rack of ribs!

Since the book did let us know the information about that era and its bootleggers was based on facts (the town and people are fictional), I learned something too. It reminded me that desp
Rob Slaven
Jun 27, 2013 Rob Slaven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
As usual, I received this book free in exchange for a review. Despite that kind consideration, my candid thoughts appear below.

Our story begins with a bootlegger's wife in the 1930s. Her world is a city on the brink of disaster as the flooding Mississippi threatens to surge over its banks and turn her home into a lake.

In general I tend to be rather hard on historical fiction. A lot of what is on offer from that genre is rather forced and authors seem to just be decorating a modern story with a f
LynnDee (The Library Lush)
Nothing pains me more than when an adult novel features instalove. Also, the ending wrapped up a little too nicely for my liking. I did enjoy the writing and the setting, but with the instalove, too nice ending, and seemingly flat (IMO) characters, I can't give this more than 2 stars.
“This is a story with murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, dynamite and deluge. A ruthless husband, a troubled uncle, a dangerous flapper, a loyal partner. A woman married to the wrong husband, who died a little every day.”

Nineteen-twenty-seven was a golden time for much of the nation – the affluent, jazz infused, flapper swinging, speakeasy Roaring Twenties - but not for those living along the Mississippi River and its tributaries like the Gawiwatchee. The only ‘roaring’ that reside
Oct 07, 2013 Vicki rated it it was amazing
Fiction based on extensive research of events all too real, The Tilted World tells the story of the great Mississippi Flood of 1927 from the perspective of two people who are brought together by this catastrophic event.

The book, co-written by a literary husband/wife team, tells the tale from alternating perspectives of the female protagonist, a surprisingly likeable moonshine whiskey brewer, and the male protagonist, a sharp shooting war hero turned Revenue Agent.

Ted Ingersoll and his senior par
Jai Francy
Oct 15, 2013 Jai Francy rated it it was amazing

I am about write something never written in a review by me..... I am sad I only had 5 stars to give it.

The Tilted World is an epic novel set against the dynamic backdrop of The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Being raised a Yankee, I have NEVER previously heard about this event in American History. Living in the day where tomorrow morning’s news shows will be on location at tonight’s disaster, it’s hard to imagine that there once was a time when no one showed up to such a catastroph
Sep 01, 2013 ☕Laura rated it really liked it
This review refers to an ARC of this book which I received for free through the Goodreads First Reads program.

In 1927, after months of unrelenting rain, the Mississippi river breeched the levee near Greenville, Mississippi, flooding 27,000 square miles in up to 30 feet of water, arguably the greatest natural disaster in US history. In the days leading up to this flood, as the river rises, revenue agents Ingersoll and Ham arrive in the fictional town of Hobnob Landing, charged with the task of un
{Enter Name Here}
I've read references to The Great Flood of 1927 in other books but this is the first one that focused exclusively on this historic event.

Tom Franklin succeeded in creating a dismal world in which heavy downpours lasted for months with no reprieve, sometimes receiving 13 inches of rain in one day. The physical and psychological consequences for those living through this were staggering.

So where did all that rain go? The levee system in Mississippi was inadequate to say the least. Can you imagine
May 24, 2013 Sam rated it it was ok
Set against the backdrop of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, The Tilted World tells the story of how the lives of a bootlegger, her shady husband, an orphaned baby, and two federal revenue agents will become entwined with one another.

Though I had high hopes for this novel, I ended up pretty disappointed. The main story feels rather flimsy as the authors insist on featuring too much of the lead characters' backstories, which by the way, aren’t even effective in imbuing them with much depth.
Diane Barnes
Nov 13, 2013 Diane Barnes rated it liked it
I gave this book 3 stars, but would like to add another 1/2 star. The reason I didn't rate it higher was because I loved Franklin's previous book, "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" so much that I very unfairly compared the two novels, and this one suffered for it. Larry Ott of Crooked Letter is one of my favorite fictional characters ever.
I'm not sure how Franklin and Fennelly (a married couple) divvied up the writing chores, but I never really saw a great difference in style. I agree with anoth
Feb 28, 2015 Clare rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 01, 2013 Penny rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Great book written by the author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and his partner.

This book takes place on the Mississippi during flooding in 1927. It follows a bootlegger and his wife and 2 prohibition agents who are trying to find illegal stills. In the meantime the river keeps rising and the levees may be breached at any moment.

Franklin is quick to draw you into the story - our main character Dixie Clay is at once fiery and sympathetic. The whole sense of drama and imminent catastrophe filte
4.5 rounded up to 5 stars. Partially because I love the name of the main female character, Dixie Clay.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Circle of Thirteen
  • Where They Bury You
  • Deadly Diamonds
  • Grains of Truth
  • The Black Stiletto: Stars & Stripes  (The Black Stiletto #3)
  • Secretariat Reborn
  • The Tenth Witness
  • The Loved and the Lost (The Verona Trilogy #3)
  • Jubilee's Journey (Wyattsville, #2)
  • Three Souls
  • Deviant
  • The Fall of Saints
  • Death of a Nightingale (Nina Borg, #3)
  • One Great Year
  • Cold Mourning (Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery, #1)
  • Grounded
  • Rogue (The Beloved, #2)
  • The Stuff of Nightmares
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 b ...more
More about Tom Franklin...

Share This Book

“Maybe she'd needed her dream to come true to realize it was the wrong dream.” 2 likes
“He was the kind of man who grew better looking the longer you knew him. Whereas Jesse began to tarnish the moment you took him off the shelf.” 1 likes
More quotes…