The Sweetness of Water

The Sweetness of Water

Name - The Sweetness of Water

Reviews - 4.9/5

Pages - 368

By - Nathan Harris


About Book The Sweetness of Water


Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

In the spirit of The Known World and The Underground Railroad“a miraculous debut” (Washington Post)​ and “a towering achievement of imagination” (CBS This Morning)about the unlikely bond between two freedmen {who are|who're|that are} brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever—from “a storyteller with bountiful insight and assurance” (Kirkus)

A New York Times Book Review Editors'Choice
A July Indie Next Pick

In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry—freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by {the loss of|the increasing loss of|the increased loss of} their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping {through an|via an} unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan {to save|to truly save|to save lots of} money for the journey north and {a chance to|an opportunity to|to be able to} reunite {with their|using their|making use of their} mother, {who was|who had been|who was simply} sold away when {they were|they certainly were|these were} boys.
Parallel {to their|for their|with their} story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The {young men|teenagers|teenage boys}, recently returned from the war to {the town|the city|town} of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. {But when|Nevertheless when|However when} their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on {the entire|the whole} community. In the aftermath of so much turmoil, {it is|it's} Isabelle who emerges {as an|being an} unlikely leader, proffering a healing vision for the land and for the newly free citizens of Old Ox.
With candor and sympathy, debut novelist Nathan Harris creates an unforgettable cast of characters, depicting Georgia in the violent crucible of Reconstruction. Equal parts beauty and terror, as gripping {as it|because it|since it} is moving, The Sweetness of Water {is an|is definitely an|can be an} epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid {the most|the absolute most|probably the most} harrowing circumstances.

 Editorial Reviews 

“As I read this masterful novel I kept thinking—this young 29-year-old is a first-time author, so how did he do this?... As the best writers can do, Nathan takes us back in time, and helps us to feel we are right there with Prentiss and Landry as they get their first taste of freedom. I rooted for them, and feared for them too."—Oprah Winfrey, Oprah Daily

“Rich prose and such a beautifully imagined time and place… Amazing book by any account and that it’s a first novel makes it even more to be treasured.”—Bill Goldstein, NBC New York

“This is a debut novel, but the writing is so strong and gorgeous and assured, and the characters have so many layers to them, you'll keep reading just to see what's revealed next.”—Petra Mayer, NPR “Here & Now”

“A fine, lyrical novel, impressive at the level of the sentence, and in its complex interweaving of the grand and the intimate, of the personal and political.”—Alex Preston, The Guardian

“An extraordinary debut novel... Harris expertly introduces explosive plot twists across parallel threads... There’s an elegant interplay among all facets of the narrative that at once raises the stakes for all the characters while gesturing toward a larger world outside Old Ox. The overall effect is a dazzling world-building that makes the relatively compact novel feel much larger... Harris manages to weave emotion into the smallest of moments... The novel asks us to consider white-supremacist ideology not as a uniquely Southern phenomenon, but as an uncomfortable truth and feature of the entire American endeavor, especially of the criminal justice system. Old Ox is in Georgia, but it is also everywhere today. Harris writes with the confidence and command of a seasoned master of the craft. And, of course, the magic of his sentences is in the details—everything is historically accurate and painstakingly researched, whether he’s describing the reprieve of a fresh tick mattress or the complexity of growing peanuts in Georgia soil. This novel is simply the best I have read in years.”—Daniel Peña, Texas Monthly

“What a gifted, assured writer Nathan Harris is. He does what all novelists are supposed to do—give birth to vivid characters, people worth caring about, and then get out of their way. The result is better than any debut novel has a right to be. With The Sweetness of Water, Harris has, in a sense, unwritten Gone With the Wind, detonating its phony romanticism, its unearned sympathies, its wretched racism.”—Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Bridge of Sighs

About the Author

Nathan Harris holds an MFA from the Michener Center at the University of Texas. He is a recipient of the University of Oregon's Kidd Prize and was a finalist for the Tennessee Williams Fiction Prize. He lives in Austin, Texas. The Sweetness of Water is his first novel.