Hello, for those who have just met me I’m Seraphim and I am a Worcestershire Library worker. I wasn’t always a big reader but now I can’t stop. Sometimes it’s hard to pick your next book as it’s a lot of time and energy you are giving to another world. So to help folks out I’m posting what I think of the titles I’ve tackled.
This week in honor of the LGBTQ+ Month I picked up an new title from a debut novelist.
The Sweetness of Water is Nathan Harris tribute to the lost history that most or at least for many Black Americans is missing. “All Black writers are drawn to filling in their past,” he says. The Main theme deals with the end of the Civil War in America and with the newly emancipated slaves. Harris really gets you thinking about the repercussions of the enslaved suddenly becoming free, and what that freedom meant when there were no guidelines to help navigate the change.
Opening with the main character George Walker, a decent, moral man transplanted to the south from New England, wandering in the woods. He is searching for a monster: “A black coat of fur that clung to the shadows, moving fluidly as if it were part of the darkness itself.” Instead, he meets the two brothers, Prentiss and Landry, recently freed from under the yoke of a villainous neighbor.
Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community. In the aftermath of so much turmoil, it is Isabelle who emerges as an unlikely leader, proffering a healing vision for the land and for the newly free citizens of Old Ox
A personal and political twin tale, this is a far from traditional renderings of post-Civil War America. Harris is writing with both passion and thorough research, this gives us a compelling story which I really enjoyed.