Sweetness of Water, The

Harris, Nathan

  17 Reviews

When George Walker offers recently emancipated brothers Landry and Prentiss work on his land, he surely stirs up a hornet's nest in the nearby town of Old Ox, where everybody has an opinion about the fate of freed slaves. The return from the Civil War of two Confederate soldiers in a forbidden relationship precipitates a series of events that leave few in this Georgian community unscathed.

Powerful and engaging, this is a lyrical story of the American South with its unforgettable characters exposed to the best and worst of humanity.



CHCH 110
It was a divided response, either strongly enjoyed or strongly disliked. Most thought it was extremely well-written for a first novel, and unusual to have such detailed writing on that specific time in history. Couldn't put it down. Negatives were that it was slow starting, hard to read, long winded in parts and too long.
Everyone enjoyed the book immensely.
AUCK 037
We agreed this story was beautifully written from this first time author. We discussed racism, emancipation and justice. One member questioned Isabelle and George's decision to take in Prentiss and Landry, knowing the bigotry and disapproval in their community. An interesting insight into emancipation of slaves, and their 'owners'.
WELL 183
Great read, enjoyed by all. Good discussion.
CHCH 544
Style of writing old-fashioned but conveyed a sense of the times. Very flowery and descriptive. Learnt a lot about the history of slavery and the effect on people when this was abolished. Lots of depth and layers to the characters and the story. At times depressing and hard to get into.
WELL 041
A wonderful book to read. We all thought it quite amazing for a 'first' book. No holds were barred in the telling of this quite horrific story set in the dying days of the American Civil War.
For a number of members the book provided an insight into a period of US history they had known little about. The idea of telling a story of slaves who were suddenly freed, with no support or resources to lead a life of independence was a very strong one... We thought there were some excellent things in the book - the prose (most of the time), the characterisation, a new perspective on a period of history important in shaping the US today and some strong relationships; and it ended on a note of hope. Withal, we thought it too long and trying to do too much.
CHCH 282
Everyone who read the book enjoyed it, two people took it home to finish. Some were depressed and upset about the fact that nothing much has changed with the prejudices associated with religion, gender identity, class, money and race... It was a well-written book (poetic and lyrical in parts, everyone agreed) and it made it deep and intense, but very worthwhile to read. It was very real with nothing sensationalised. The book didn't seem like a novel, more of a social document which caused some discomfort to read. Average score was 4.5 stars.
MAST 003
Interesting discussion engendered. Many significant themes - too many We wanted to know the significance of the 'Beast' - a range of theories were advanced, but none convinced.
THAM 005
A time period we had never really read or thought about before. Well written!
Everybody was very interested in reading and learning about that time in American history. The story was gripping.
MAST 005
Excellent book set in a very short period of history - however it was a very turbulent and violent time of reconstruction and change. Interesting characters and plot.
All enjoyed this book for the writing, the interesting period (immediately post U.S. Civil War, and for the story. Some found the characters fascinating, while some found them a bit unlikely - but on the whole, all approved!
Generated good discussion and is worth reading. We enjoyed the interplay of relationships.
AUCK 076
Many found the topic of racism confronting. Powerful read.
WELL 016
We all enjoyed the book bar one.
AUCK 038
Like reading poetry, so fabulous!!