The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris – 2021 Booker Longlisted title. Our Review
The country is in chaos. The Civil War between the North and the South has just resulted in the African American slaves being freed. Plantation owners are bitter at the loss of labour and the freed slaves are starving and homeless.
Into this backdrop of the first days of freedom and liberty, we meet brothers Landry and Prentiss. Hiding out in the dense forest abutting their former plantation, they spend their days scavenging for food and shelter when they come to the notice of George Walker, a neighbouring gentleman farmer reeling from the recent loss of his son in the civil war.
He convinces the brothers to come reside on his land as free men and help him rekindle the lifeblood of the neglected farm. But not all in the township take kindly to his enlightened views and he has trouble brewing closer to home within his own family.
Tender and beautiful, this is a stunning story of empathy, of human capacity for forgiveness and the great will to live.
Currently long-listed for the Booker Prize, the writing is exquisite.
Five stars, an outstanding read.
Review by Nicole @ Great Escape Books
‘[A] highly accomplished debut’ Sunday Times Readers have been swept away by The Sweetness of Water: ‘Such a powerful, magnificent book; I urge you to read it. The comparisons with Colson Whitehead are justified’ ***** ‘A staggering debut and a story that stays with you’ ***** ‘Thought-provoking and moving . . . a gripping and compelling novel that exposes flaws, mixed emotions and imperfect relationships, and yet it holds on with determination and hope. It fully deserves a 5-star rating’ ***** ‘Outstanding . . . A book that deserves widespread recognition and a wide audience’ *****