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Poachers: Stories Paperback – Bargain Price, May 30, 2000
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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"Poachers" is no ordinary tale of detection but rather a mood piece that will remind the reader of the best of James Lee Burke. Set in the swamps of the deep South, it is a riveting tale of three brothers who are so violent and amoral that they will kill anyone or anything in their path. One of their victims is a young lawman who was much loved, causing the locals to bring in their own hired gun, a game warden of legendary skill as a hunter of poachers. One by one, he tracks down the crazed brothers in a quest for justice.
The other stories in this beautifully produced little volume are also superb. While there is occasional humor, this is not a collection to read if you're in the mood for P.G. Wodehouse or Dave Barry. The dark woods and hollows and the unforgiving swamps and their inhabitants do not make for a sunshiny reading experience. As the old wooden sign in Poachers announces, "Jesus Is Not Coming." Franklin's first novel will be published in 2000 and I, for one, can't wait. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Other influences are apparent here, some non-Southern. One can see the presence of Cormac McCarthy, for instance, and his deliberate, blunt, unsentimental prose, or, inevitably, Hemingway's unmistakable minimalism. There is no magnolia-scented prose here; that would imply nobility and hope. Other reviewers have criticized Franklin because his stories often seem lopped off with their abrupt endings. I must admit that bothered me some too, until I realized that a nice, tidy, satisfying ending would be completely out of character with these Franklin's folk. Their restlessness and hopelessness end only when they die.
The celebrated title story impresses most, with its classic theme of survival and its combination of terror and pity. "Grit" comes in second, with its protagonist sucked into a scam and the charms of an exotic woman.
If you're looking for a happy ending, stay far, far away from this collection. If you want a glimpse into the desperate, funny, pathetic, hopeful, hopeless lives SOME white Southerners lead, proceed with caution.
Like the author, I occupied a liminal position in this lifestyle. Though I preferred books to bullets, I became a seasoned hunter by the age of 9. And yes, I was privy to the ceremonial bloodbath that accompanies one's first kill, and as grotesque as the experience was, even as a youth, I came to understand that this blood, my kill, was my passageway to respect from my family and the community.
Given all of this and my love for evocative, razor sharp imagery, "Poachers" occupies a certain spot in my heart. Rich in characterization and spot-on images of a society in varying states of decay (either moral, physical, or environmental), each of Franklin's stories has something to offer. Of the collection of stories, my favorite would have to be "Blue Horses," which is understated in its language and structure but powerful in its aftertaste. It will linger with you for days, to say the least. I was also fond of "Dinosaurs". Beneath its hardscrabble prose, imbued with cigarette smoke and grease, lies the essence of true filial commitment.
Given this collection was Franklin's literary debut, I am impressed with what he offers. Each story is worth reading, and most worth reading a few times over. Don't let the genre of "grit-lit" scare you from this undertaking because underneath all the grit, there is something raw and true that must be said.
But in this place with its entrenched poverty among a folk this degraded, when things can go bad, when dreams can go bust, they usually do. Spectacularly so. These stories from Tom Franklin are reliably violent, and suitably ill-fated, peopled with characters who, if they weren’t self-destructive it might be difficult to identify any other character trait they do possess. And yet this collection of faithless womenfolk, frugal hill-dwellers, skin and bones black poor, and colorfully named hunting dogs is somehow unsympathetic, the victims of being, perhaps, too carefully drawn.
Make no mistake, Tom Franklin can conjure up the bedraggled South – or at least how I imagine it must be – but too often the scenes that result have the feel of something created for the stage rather than the page. A hound dog by the fieldstone fireplace. The sound of raccoons scrounging in the garbage cans outside. Coyotes down at the pond hunting bullfrogs. The bullfrogs croaking in the mist. The toothless granny singing gospel hymns, her rocking chair thumping against the wide-plank pine floorboards. The divorcee granddaughter making grits in the kitchen while Junior shoots cats in the barn.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The collection of short stories in this book, are both dark and quirky... I liked this book so much, I bought some of his other books, that I enjoyed as much as this one!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The short story Poachers, in the book is extraordinary. It was astounding as I read it and still has me off balance days later. Read morePublished 4 months ago by feathers
Fantastic book, especially the title story. Most of the stories are about people and situations that would be foreign to a large fraction of the reading public, but are told with... Read morePublished 5 months ago by anne s.
I normally dislike short stories...too quick to really get involved unless the writer is brilliant. Tom is brilliant, damn him...Published 6 months ago by Gabrielle Oneill
I failed to notice that this was a short story collection and not a novel. Interesting reading but I was hoping for another "Crooked Letter...".Published 6 months ago by A.E. Pagano
Poachers by Tom Franklin is gloomy, bleak, melancholy… A kind of Southern Gothic noir, dark, at times brooding, offering no excuses and asking no forgiveness. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Devil_Monkey
I really liked “Poachers,” a book of southern short stories by Tom Franklin. It is my first book by Tom Franklin and I plan to read more. Read morePublished 8 months ago by D. Scott