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  1 The Sweetness of Water: A Novel (Use 9780316362481, Oprah Title)
Author: Harris, Nathan
    Series: Oprah's book club
Class: Fiction
Age: Adult
Language: English
Demand: Average
LC: PS3608.A

Print Run: 50000
ISBN-13: 9780316461276
LCCN: 2021936041
Imprint: Little, Brown and Company
Pub Date: 06/15/2021
Availability: Out of Stock Indefinitely
List: $28.00
Physical Description: 363 pages ; 25 cm H 9.55", W 6.35", D 1.55", 1.28 lbs.
LC Series:
Brodart Sources: Brodart's Diverse Titles: Black & African American (Adult)
Brodart's Diverse Titles: LGBTQ+ (Adult)
Brodart's Insight Catalog: Adult
Awards: Booklist Starred Reviews
Publishers Weekly Starred Reviews
Starred Reviews: Booklist
Publishers Weekly
TIPS Subjects: Historical Fiction
African American & Black
Southeastern U. S.
BISAC Subjects: FICTION / African American & Black / Historical
FICTION / Historical / Civil War Era
FICTION / Small Town & Rural
FICTION / Southern
LC Subjects: Brothers
Brothers, Fiction
Farmers, Fiction
Freedmen, Fiction
Gay fiction
Gay military personnel
Gay military personnel, Fiction
Georgia, History, Civil War, 1861-1865, Fiction
Historical fiction
Interpersonal relations, Fiction
Murder, Fiction
SEARS Subjects: Brothers, Fiction
Homicide, Fiction
Reading Programs:
ONIX annotations | 07/20/2022
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER / AN OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK ONE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2021  Winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence Winner of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction Shortlisted for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize Longlisted for the 2022 Carnegie Medal for Excellence Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Longlisted for the Crook's Corner Book 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 brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever-from "a storyteller with bountiful insight and assurance" (Kirkus) A Best Book of the Year: Oprah Daily, NPR, Washington Post, Time, Boston Globe, Smithsonian, Chicago Public Library, BookBrowse, and the Oregonian 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 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.
Starred Reviews:
Booklist | 05/15/2021
The Civil War has just ended. Near Old Ox, Georgia, resentful whites grieve their loss and formerly enslaved Blacks tentatively, hopefully turn their eyes towards freedom. Two broken families come together. George and Isabelle Walker, mourning their son Caleb's death in the war, take in Prentiss and Landry, two young brothers formerly enslaved on the neighboring plantation, who dream of reconnecting with their mother, who was long ago sold away. Their connection to the Walkers bemuses and disgusts other white residents, especially the aristocratic Weblers, whose son, August, had been Caleb's best friend. As the summer advances, secrets and hidden desires come to light, some as sweet as Isabelle's peach preserves, others bitter and terrifying. A climactic revelation in the woods on a dark night throws the entire community into chaos, pitting neighbor against neighbor and father against son, suggesting that the war has not actually ended. Harris' lucid prose and vivid characterization illustrate a community at war with itself, poisoned by pride and mired in racial and sexual bigotry. Prentiss and Landry are technically free, but they remain trapped by a lifetime of blighted hopes and broken promises. Reconstruction will prove to be yet another lie. Harris' first novel is an aching chronicle of loss, cruelty, and love in the wake of community devastation. Lesley Williams. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2021.
Publishers Weekly | 05/24/2021
Harris's ambitious debut explores the aftermath of the Emancipation Proclamation in rural Georgia. In the small town of Old Ox, eccentric George Walker, whose land borders a plantation, is grieving for the son he believes to have been killed in battle when he meets up with two young brothers who until recently had been enslaved at the house next door. Talkative Prentiss and his silent brother Landry have been attempting to live off the land while figuring out their next move, and they accept George's offer of work converting his land to a peanut farm. When George's son, Caleb, returns, the balance in the household is upset, and violence ensues after Landry is caught witnessing a secret sexual rendezvous between Caleb and sadistic August Webler, heir to one of the richest families in the county. Harris peoples the small community with well-developed characters, including George's quietly determined wife, Isabelle, and a mixed-race prostitute with whom George shares the secrets he can't confide to Isabelle. Harris writes in intelligent, down-to-earth prose and shows a keen understanding of his characters, and while the plot leads to several tragic events, there's a tinge of hope at the end. This character study is credible and deeply moving. Agent: Emily Forland, Brandt & Hochman. (June). 400p. Web-Exclusive Review. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2021.
Journal Reviews
Kirkus Reviews | 06/01/2021
Though the Civil War is over when this novel opens, the threat of violence and the persistence of bigotry still loom over a Georgia town. Somewhere between the Confederacy's surrender at Appomattox and the beginning of Reconstruction, George Walker and his wife, Isabelle, live alone and emotionally estranged from each other on their family homestead just outside the village of Old Ox. They are mired in grief over the presumed death of their only son, Caleb, a missing Confederate soldier. At this low point in the Walkers' lives, Prentiss and Landry, Black brothers freed from slavery, wander onto the couple's barren land seeking little more than temporary shelter on their northbound trek in search of their mother, who was sold away from them in childhood. George reaches out to the two Black men for help in restoring his farmland with a peanut crop. In return, he offers to pay them whatever he can to help subsidize their journey. Warily, the brothers agree to George's request, and eventually the three of them succeed in coaxing plants from the reluctant ground. Then one windy morning, Caleb returns home bearing an ugly facial scar and stories of his incarceration in a Union prison camp. What he doesn't tell them is that he was beaten with a rifle butt by his captors because he'd deserted his own side and in the process, also deserted his wealthy boyhood friend and secret lover August Webler, now also a war veteran returned to Old Ox and soon to wed a local girl by a prearranged agreement. Despite his fury over Caleb's betrayal and his impending marriage, August rekindles their romance, which sets off a series of tragic events involving murder, injustice, and, eventually, wholesale destruction. Throughout the tumult, all three members of the Walker family discover reserves of unexpected courage and resolve--and one can't help believing that if most of the other characters carried within them the empathy and grace displayed by the author of this compelling postbellum saga, most of the awful things that happen to them and their immediate surroundings would have been avoided. An impressive debut by a storyteller with bountiful insight and assurance. 368pg. KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2021.
Library Journal Prepub Alert | 01/13/2021
In a debut from Michener Fellow Harris, recently emancipated brothers Prentiss and Landry need money so that they can search for their mother up north. They are hired by white farmers George and Isabelle Walker, who find them a comfort after their only son's death. Meanwhile, a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers explodes into the open. In-house enthusiasm; with a 50,000-copy first printing. Barbara Hoffert. 400p. LJ Prepub Alert Online Review. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2021.