I know, I know…. It’s all about Station Eleven (loved it) and All the Light We Cannot See (why have I not gotten to it yet?) when booksellers talk about the best book of the year.
But we all have that one book we adore, the one we want to press into readers’ hands. So here’s a wee shout out for my favorite Harper novel of 2014—Fourth of July Creek. And I’m not a voice crying in the wilderness; it hit several year-end best of the year lists: The Washington Post Book World’s “Ten Best Books of 20-14”, Entertainment Weekly’s “Top 10 Books of the Year” and Janet Maslin’s “10 Favorite Books of 2014” in The New York Times. Please give it another chance on the display tables as customers go browsing for big, chewy midwinter reads.
The myth of rugged individualism crumbles like so much shale at the side of the body of water that gives Henderson’s debut novel, Fourth of July Creek, its name. Pete Snow is a social worker in the early ‘80s trying to save a young boy living in the Montana wilderness with his deranged, and possibly dangerous, father, a self-styled doomsday prophet who is quick to bite helping hands. Henderson’s saga of looking for salvation by way of saving others is lyrical, suspenseful, and heartbreaking. Not all can be rescued, but we can all be redeemed.”
— Entertainment Weekly, #3, Year’s Best Fiction
Fourth of July Creek (9780062286444) by Smith Henderson. $26.99 hardcover.