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**AN OBAMA SUMMER READING CHOICE AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**

‘A fine, lyrical novel, impressive in its complex interweaving of the grand and the intimate, of the personal and political‘ Observer

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 . . .

‘[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’ *****


(P)2021 Hachette Audio

Reviews

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
An insightful first novel... [a] highly accomplished debut
Sunday Times
As beautiful as it is violent, this moving novel explores how love can bloom even in the most harrowing of circumstances
Buzzfeed
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
Harris is a writer of great lyricism and power . . . an arresting debut
The i
Harris's tender debut novel captures the yearning for human connection and the risks of departing from social norms
New York Times
A work of great depth and beauty.
Culturefly
This debut novel astonished us as much for its wise, lyrical voice as for its dense realisation of a fictional small town in the American South at a rarely written about moment... We were incredibly impressed by the way it probes themes of trans-historical importance - about race, sexuality, violence and grief - through meticulously-drawn characters and a patient examination of their relationships
The Booker Prize Judges
An arresting debut
Scotsman
[An] ambitious debut novel . . . this is impressive stuff
The Times
In the right hands, historical fiction can often capture the truth of our own times more successfully than many contemporary attempts. . . Readers will often forget that this is a debut novel; one of Harris's greatest gifts, aside from those beautifully wrought sentences, is his empathy, his ability to slip inside the skins of these men and women . . . in his unsparing examination of both hatred and deep love, Harris will win over the hearts of many readers
Financial Times
Absolutely stunning, full of vivid descriptions, gripping tension, dynamically complex characters, and a well-woven story
Yvonne Battle-Felton
What a gifted, assured writer Nathan Harris is. He does what all novelists are supposed to do-give birth to vivid characters, people worth caring about, and then get out of their way. The result is better than any debut novel has a right to be. With The Sweetness of Water, Harris has, in a sense, unwritten Gone With the Wind, detonating its phony romanticism, its unearned sympathies, its wretched racism
Richard Russo
To open Nathan Harris's first novel is to enter a trance. I can't think of any other book out there quite like it. The richness of his language and the exquisite details of the lives he creates produce a kind of waking dream, equally lyrical and threatening
Luis Alberto Urrea
Harris' lucid prose and vivid characterization illustrate a community at war with itself, poisoned by pride and mired in racial and sexual bigotry. . . Harris' first novel is an aching chronicle of loss, cruelty, and love in the wake of community devastation
Booklist, starred review
[An] ambitious debut . . . Harris writes in intelligent, down-to-earth prose and shows a keen understanding of his characters . . . Credible and deeply moving
Publishers Weekly, starred review
An impressive debut by a storyteller with bountiful insight and assurance
Kirkus
[The book's] grave beauty is evident immediately
Library Journal
This stunning debut novel probes the limits of freedom in a society where ingrained prejudice and inequality remain the law of the land
Oprah Daily