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Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
  

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Winner of the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award 2015.

Rural Montana in the 80s. Pete Smith is a young social worker with huge problems of his own. In attempting to return a near-feral lad to his family he becomes obsessed with the reclusive mountain people fearing the end of the world. All the way through this impressive book Pete is rescuing children from dysfunctional homes. The tale is told in a gentle rural vernacular that sings. Beside it is an interview or confession questioning his daughter’s reaction to we know not what. These sections build the mystery. It is an amazing book, multi-layered, hypnotic, compulsive and beautifully written. A big American novel not to be missed.

The CWA judges said of the book: "A powerful evocation of the rural America time has forgotten and the casualties in its wake. Both harrowing and life enhancing, a towering achievement and insight into a world many of us would rather ignore."

If you like Smith Henderson you might also like to read books by Philip Meyer, Cormac Mccarthy and thomas edison.

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Synopsis

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

This is a dark and powerful debut novel set in the hardscrabble American heartlands. 'If I knew for a certain'ty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life...' After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face-to-face with the boy's profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah. With courage and caution, Pete slowly earns a measure of trust from this paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times. But as Pete's own family spins out of control, Jeremiah's activities spark the full-blown interest of the FBI, putting Pete at the centre of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed. In this shattering and iconic novel, Smith Henderson explores the complexities of freedom, community, grace, suspicion and anarchy, brilliantly depicting America's disquieting and violent contradictions. Fourth of July Creek is an unforgettable, unflinching debut that marks the arrival of a major literary talent.


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Reviews

'This book left me awestruck; a stunning debut which reads like the work of a writer at the height of his power. Begins with the story of one struggling man and his family and soon seems to encompass and address all of modern America's problems. Fourth of July Creek is a masterful achievement and Smith Henderson is certain to end up a household name.' -- Philipp Meyer, New York Times

'bestselling author of The Son An impressive book - deeply so. [Cormac] McCarthy's shadow may loom heavy across the prose, but the story this prose conveys, and the manner in which Henderson unfurls it, bears its own unalloyed power ... It's Pearl's story, more than anything else, that lock this novel in your hands ... [A] trenchant and vigorously empathetic novel.' New York Times Book Review

'An intense, mesmerising book that uses this surprisingly intimate relationship to explore grand themes about American culture ... Devastating and inspiring.' The Economist

'Stunning debut novel ... that crackles and lurches with the intensity of a Tom Waits song. Here, at the beginning of his career, Henderson has come within shouting distance of writing a great American novel.' Guardian

About the Author

Smith Henderson is the recipient of the 2011 PEN Emerging Writer Winner (in fiction). He was a 2011 Philip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University, a 2011 Pushcart Prize winner and a Michener Center for Writers Fellow. Henderson's short story manuscript was a finalist for the Flannery O'Connor Award and he was a two-time finalist for the University of Texas Keene Prize, the world's largest student literary prize. His fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, One Story, New Orleans Review, Makeout Creek, and Witness. He has worked as a prison guard and social worker, experiences which informed his first novel Fourth of July Creek, set in his native Montana.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th February 2015

Author

Smith Henderson

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Author's Website

www.smith-henderson.com/

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Publisher

Windmill Books an imprint of Cornerstone

Format

Paperback
480 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Thriller / Suspense
Literary Fiction

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780099559375

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