Sweetness of Water, The

Harris, Nathan

  25 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.



STEW 001
Enjoyed the way the characters developed and expanded as the story progressed. Tragic events were counter balanced by the hopefulness of the ending.
AUCK 014
Some found the book a bit slow to start but almost all became gripped by the strong, compelling narrative that revealed itself as the story developed. Gloriously lyrical and evocative from a such a young author...with themes that are just as powerful today.
RICH 005
An amazing debut novel for such a young author! Two thirds of our group loved the book whilst a third found the subject matter of slavery too difficult to read about. Topics of distant marriage, race relations and tension, murder, gay romance, bullying and corruption, but above all hope, made this book hard to put down.
CHCH 553
Very varied response from our group. Some really enjoyed it and others really didn't. Lots of interesting conversation about being a first novel. Some felt there were too many themes crammed into one book.
Once we got into it, we universally loved this book. The writing was lyrical and compelling. After some initial worries about cliches, the characters came alive and were interesting, 3 dimensional, and open to plausible change and growth. Isabel especially. This was a vivid depiction of a point in time not usually explored in this depth. Strong issues explored through the characters, not didactic. An impressive first book.
ASHB 004
A pretty tough read in places! However we all enjoyed it and and had a lot of thoughtful discussion around it. Beautifully written and cleverly crafted for a debut novel. The reality of being suddenly freed, but with nowhere to go and with no resources, was so well revealed. Well rounded characters, and the various relationships were beautifully portrayed. A powerful read.
We loved this book!
Everybody loved the book - a 'different' subject and excellent writer. We look forward to reading more of his books.
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!!