Longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2021. Conjuring a world fraught with tragedy and violence yet threaded through with hope, Nathan Harris’ debut novel is enthralling and deeply moving.
In the dying days of the American Civil War, newly freed brothers Landry and Prentiss are cast penniless into the world. Hiding out in woods, they’re discovered by the land’s owner, George Walker, a man still reeling from the loss of his son in the war. The brothers begin to work on his farm, and tentative bonds of trust begin to blossom. But this sanctuary survives on a knife’s edge. It isn’t long before the inhabitants of the nearby town of Old Ox react with fury at the alliances being formed.
About the AuthorNathan Harris was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2021. He is a Michener fellow at the University of Texas. The Sweetness of Water is his debut novel.
You worry about whether you’re getting the story down properly. You anguish over the quality of the prose
William DeMeritt brings the audiobook of The Sweetness of Water to life.
Nathan Harris makes those extraordinary, still contested times comprehensible through an immersive, incredibly humane storytelling about the lives of ordinary people
The Sweetness of Water was chosen as the 91st pick for Oprah’s Book Club.
Speaking about choosing the novel, Oprah said: ‘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.’
As part of the book’s selection, Oprah met Nathan Harris and his father for lunch. Watch their conversation below.