Thursday, August 9, 2007

Smonk - Tom Franklin

If we assembled a list of our booksellers' favorite books of 2006, my guess is that Smonk would receive twice the votes of any other title.

Here's what our booksellers are saying about Smonk:

"In the town of Old Texas, Alabama, a series of horrific events is unleashed by the trial of the gruesome killer E. O. Smonk. If you can imagine the absurd but inspired styling of Cormac McCarthy mixed with Kurt Vonnegut, you are ready for an exhilarating ride that explodes from the first page."

- Dan Roubik, Bay View

"Shockingly bad people roaming Hell on Earth, committing unspeakable acts against each other. It isn't 'feel good,' but it is fantastic. At the risk of understatement, I would call Smonk a sense-shattering, soul-jarring, gut-wrenching work of profane excellence."

- Justin Riley, Downer

"Disgusting and despicable murderers and whores that you find yourself caring about - an unthinkable story that you buy into page after page. Like nothing I've ever read."

- Doug James, Downer

"There was a feverish, outlandish quality to the days I spent lost in the pages of Smonk. It's as if Tom Franklin filmed the most amazing Western imaginable and adjusted all of the settings to 'insane.' Reading Smonk forces us to recalibrate the instruments we rely upon for navigating fiction. Epic, horrific, visceral, violent, and yet somehow still aware of itself, Smonk is well crafted and believable for all its mythic monstrosity."

- Joe Lisberg, Downer

"It's dark, it's dirty, it's gritty, it's insane, it's vulgar... basically, it's fantastic."

- Taylor Rich, Bay View

"A page-turner not for the faint of heart. I read it almost in spite of myself. I lay awake after finishing it, the story's revelations not letting my brain rest."

- Colleen White, Shorewood

"Like a cross between Pulp Fiction and High Plains Drifter on an exponential scale. A bone-shattering, brain-fever trip to Hell and back. Smonk is something else."

- Carl Hoffman, Downer

"Some of the story is so violent that I found myself smiling. It's like Jesse James meets 'Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown.' I loved it."

- Jerry Kannel, Brookfield

"Read it. Loved it."

- Conrad Silverberg, Downer

"Sin City in the Old West... or at least West Alabama. Outstanding."

- Eric Gesell, Bay View

"Base, ribald, quixotic. No redeeming value other than a damn fine book!"

- Bishop Hadley, Bargain Book Buyer

Smonk is one of those rare books that gets passed from bookseller to bookseller, ending in a tattered ARC, smudged with the fingerprints and stains of intense and marathon reading sessions. I read it almost a full year ago; it's influence on the subconscious is evidenced by the bizarre dream I had a few weeks ago, in which a squat, knobby man tried to pop my eye into his mouth. Read Smonk - and you'll understand.

Tom Franklin's other works, which are similarly admired, are Hell at the Breech (available for a limited time as a $6.99 Bargain Book) and Poachers.


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