The Sweetness of Water (Oprah's Book Club) - Nathan Harris

The Sweetness of Water (Oprah's Book Club)

By Nathan Harris

  • Release Date: 2021-06-15
  • Genre: African American
3.5 Score: 3.5 (From 1,224 Ratings)



Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

In the spirit of The Known World and The Underground Railroad, “a miraculous debut” (Washington Post)​ and “a towering achievement of imagination” (CBS This Morning)about the unlikely bond between two freedmen who are brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever—from “a storyteller with bountiful insight and assurance” (Kirkus)

A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
A July Indie Next Pick

In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry—freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys.
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.
With candor and sympathy, debut novelist Nathan Harris creates an unforgettable cast of characters, depicting Georgia in the violent crucible of Reconstruction. Equal parts beauty and terror, as gripping as it is moving, The Sweetness of Water is an epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances.


  • The Sweetness of Water

    By ?A?n?d?r?e?w
    One of the best books I have read in a long time. So beautifully written. I loved the characters. I did not want it to end.
  • Not a Bad First Effort, But….

    By juliusa
    This was a slow read that took a long time to get somewhere. It’s ok, but honestly it seems contrived, with over wrought writing, and a mostly unbelievable storyline. Worth a read if you suspend belief. But the impression is left that history was ignored to write this. Surprised it’s an Oprah pick.
  • Almost, but not a total waste of time.

    By relms
    I wanted to like this book, I really did, but unfortunately the zing I expected never materialized. Unfortunately I recommended it to a couple of friends before I got no more than halfway into it, expecting better things to come, but they never arrived. Friends, please forgive me for jumping the gun on this one.
  • Good enoigh

    By laracass
    A great story, but the prose of the text was sometimes hard to follow.
  • 👇🏾

    By kandy girl332
  • Best Book I’ve Read in a Long Time

    By I'd rather be reading
    What an incredible first novel! This is the most memorable story I’ve read in a long time. Characters you care about, and a setting and circumstances that draw you in and hold you until the final page. Thank you, Nathan Harris!
  • The Sweetness of Water

    By Nightread
    Musings a lifetime away from my thoughts. The solitary loneliness and the connections… the time and place so separate … and yet… Thank you for a fine read.
  • Amazing

    By evemama
    Have you ever wished that books would reveal themselves to you on the shelf? I am beautifully written, full of characters that will befriend you, and a story that you won’t be able to put down, the book would say.... I am only on Ch. 5, but I have not been able to put The Sweetness of Water down. Listen when this one book beckons you—you will not be sorry.