Smonk by Tom Franklin
A Novel

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It's 1911 and the townsfolk of Old Texas, Alabama, have had enough. Every Saturday night for a year, E. O. Smonk has been destroying property, killing livestock, seducing women, cheating and beating men, all from behind the twin barrels of his Winchester 45-70 caliber over-and-under rifle. Syphilitic, consumptive, gouty, and goitered—an expert with explosives and knives—Smonk hates horses, goats, and the Irish, and it's high time he was stopped. But capturing old Smonk won't be easy—and putting him on trial could have shocking and disastrous consequences, considering the terrible secret the citizens of Old Texas are hiding.


About Tom Franklin

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Tom Franklin is the author of Hell at the Breech and Poachers. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife, the poet Beth Ann Fennelly, and their three children. He teaches at the University of Mississippi.
Published October 13, 2009 by William Morrow. 274 pages
Genres: History, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Westerns. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Smonk

Kirkus Reviews

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Smonk, a syphilitic and (despite his resemblance to a snuff-dipping orangutan) sexually irresistible murderer, who opens the story by walking into a kangaroo court that the town of Old Texas has arranged for his trial and blowing away the mob ready to lynch him.

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Publishers Weekly

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After Smonk's goons assault the Old Texas courthouse and kill the town's menfolk, reformed former Smonk associate turned lawman Will McKissick pursues Smonk.

Jun 05 2006 | Read Full Review of Smonk: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

It's a measure of Franklin's skill that he makes his protagonist — a one-eyed, child-kidnapping, murdering ''immense dwarf shape'' — not just believable but kinda lovable in his scabrous way.

Aug 18 2006 | Read Full Review of Smonk: A Novel

USA Today

Now the town is at war with a new nemesis in the person of Eugene Oregon Smonk, a killer without conscience.Smonk is one of the more corrosive villains in recent literature: an explosives expert trained during the war with Spain, who, despite his dwarfed stature, missing eye, immense goiter, "par...

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Southern Lit Review

Franklin leaves several subplots underdeveloped or unresolved, characters disappear without explanation, and the denouement, engorged with New Testament allegory, departs so far from plausibility that it renders the previous savagery void of credibility, as if this were just a well...

May 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Smonk: A Novel

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