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LONGLISTED - MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2021
A powerful American debut set during the Civil War and portraying life after slavery in the vein of WASHINGTON BLACK and HOMEGOING
**AN OBAMA SUMMER READING CHOICE AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**
An extraordinary novel of life after slavery for readers of WASHINGTON BLACK, THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD and DAYS WITHOUT END.
In the dying days of the American Civil War, newly freed brothers Landry and Prentiss find themselves cast into the world without a penny to their names. Forced to hide out in the woods near their former Georgia plantation, they're soon discovered by the land's owner, George Walker, a man still reeling from the loss of his son in the war.
When the brothers begin to live and work on George's farm, the tentative bonds of trust and union begin to blossom between the strangers. But this sanctuary survives on a knife's edge, and it isn't long before the inhabitants of the nearby town of Old Ox react with fury at the alliances being formed only a few miles away . . .
Author: Nathan Harris
Paperback Published 15 June 2021 416 pages
The Sweetness of Water is 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. In presenting two narratives largely overlooked in traditional renderings of the war, Harris breathes new life into a period of history whose stories have grown stale with overtelling ― Observer
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 in Associated Press
That this powerful book is Nathan Harris's debut novel is remarkable; that he's only 29 is miraculous. His prose is burnished with an antique patina that evokes the mid-19th century. And he explores this liminal moment in history with extraordinary sensitivity to the range of responses from Black and White Americans contending with a revolutionary ideal of personhood. . . . Harris stacks the timbers of this plot deliberately, and the moment a spark alights, the whole structure begins to burn hot. If this is an era - and a genre - that has no room for encouragement, THE SWEETNESS OF WATER is finally willing to carve out a little oasis of hope ― Washington Post