The Sweetness of Water (MP3 CD)
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A not-to-be-missed extraordinary first novel. Set in Old Ox, Georgia during post-Emancipation, this is the story of the unlikely bonds between two brothers who are freed slaves and a white couple (originally from Nantucket) who hire them at a fair wage to help work their farm. Their kinship rings true in the face of abuse, racism, horror, and sadness. This is a realistic story of both formerly enslaved and white people in the Deep South that, as Richard Russo has written, manages in a sense to “unwrite Gone With the Wind.” With rich language and exquisite detail, Harris is a remarkable talent and one to watch!— Carolyn
July 2021 Indie Next List
“I was holding my breath through this beautifully woven story of love, family, belonging, and loss set in the South at the end of the Civil War. There's so much heart and soul in this book. It is destined for awards.”
— Jamie Southern, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC
In the spirit of The Known World and The Underground Railroad, a profound debut about the unlikely bond between two freedmen who are brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, foreverIn 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 their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys. Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community. In the aftermath of so much turmoil, it is Isabelle who emerges as 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 is moving, The Sweetness of Water is an epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances.