Nathan Harris

Cindy Seip

Nathan Harris holds an MFA from the Michener Center at the University of Texas. He is a recipient of the University of Oregon’s Kidd Prize and was a finalist for the Tennessee Williams Fiction Prize. The Sweetness of Water: A Novel (Little, Brown and Company) is his first book. 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 with grief over the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work the farm. Prentiss and Landry 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, conduct their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, it unleashes repercussions on the entire community that end in murder. The Sweetness of Water is an epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances. Publishers Weekly called it “deeply moving … Harris’s ambitious debut explores the aftermath of the Emancipation Proclamation in rural Georgia.”