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Publisher's Summary

The remarkable debut from Plimpton Prize winner Kelli Jo Ford, Crooked Hallelujah follows four generations of Cherokee women across four decades.

It’s 1974 in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and 15-year-old Justine grows up in a family of tough, complicated, and loyal women, presided over by her mother, Lula, and Granny. After Justine’s father abandoned the family, Lula became a devout member of the Holiness Church - a community that Justine at times finds stifling and terrifying. But Justine does her best as a devoted daughter, until an act of violence sends her on a different path forever.   

Crooked Hallelujah tells the stories of Justine - a mixed-blood Cherokee woman - and her daughter, Reney, as they move from Eastern Oklahoma’s Indian Country in the hopes of starting a new, more stable life in Texas amid the oil bust of the 1980s. However, life in Texas isn’t easy, and Reney feels unmoored from her family in Indian Country. Against the vivid backdrop of the Red River, we see their struggle to survive in a world - of unreliable men and near-Biblical natural forces, like wildfires and tornadoes - intent on stripping away their connections to one another and their very ideas of home. 

In lush and empathic prose, Kelli Jo Ford depicts what this family of proud, stubborn Cherokee women sacrifices for those they love, amid larger forces of history, religion, class, and culture. This is a bighearted and ambitious novel of the powerful bonds between mothers and daughters by an exquisite and rare new talent.

©2020 Kelli Jo Ford. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Crooked Hallelujah

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Couldn’t end quickly enough

Reading the novel felt like visiting some poor country cousins and getting trapped in their despairing world of domestic abuse, trailer park poverty, and dead-end lives that repeat from generation to generation. One admires the women’s endurance but really can’t wait to get to the end of the story.

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Excellent telling of a southern matriarchy

This book resonated with me. It does an excellent job of telling the story of the complicated relationships inherent for mothers and daughters, especially those in the south.

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I wish I knew about the culture. I'll learn!

Interesting, and want to read more. This was also lots of the characters compare, and connect with other cultures.

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A well- rounded experience

Stories interwoven and time lapsed give a nice blend of perspectives to the lives of a family familiar with struggles, loves, and loyalties that propel them forward and pull them back again and again.