This searing and beautiful debut still haunts me. It’s one of the very best books I read last year and does what really great literature does: reflects our humanity back to us–the darkness, the difficulty, the struggle, and the essential spark of kindness and resilience that defines us.
Fourth of July Creek landed on a number of best seller lists. Rather than recapping here, I’ll point you to my original coverage and several major national reviews to see why this is a book you don’t want to miss.
[A] not-to-be-missed first novel….Mr. Henderson has prompted comparisons to a long list of novelists who’ve written about grim, hardscrabble lives in eloquent prose; the editorial director at Ecco, his publishing house, suggests a mix of Richard Ford’s writing style with characters by Richard Russo. I’d add that there is much of early Russell Banks in Pete’s keen awareness of his failings and desperate yearning for the decency that remains just out of reach.”
— Janet Maslin, New York Times (from her original review; also on her list of top ten books of the year)
“Fourth of July Creek is the best book I’ve read so far this year….The product of more than a decade’s work, this richly plotted novel is another sign, if any were needed, that new fiction writers are still telling vibrant, essential stories about the American experience….The greatness of Fourth of July Creek stems from Henderson’s ability to subtly tie the struggles of one ordinary man to the broader currents of American culture, both its blessings and its evils. The result is a story that is simultaneously intimate and grand, written in a style athletic enough to capture a spectacular range of harrowing events.”
— Ron Charles, The Washington Post (from his original review and on his top ten list, too)
Fourth of July Creek (9780062286468) by Smith Henderson. $14.99 trade paperback. 3/10/15 on sale.