Fourth of July Creek: Book summary and reviews of Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Fourth of July Creek

A Novel

by Smith Henderson

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
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  • Published in USA  May 2014
    480 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

In this shattering and iconic American novel, PEN prize-winning writer, Smith Henderson explores the complexities of freedom, community, grace, suspicion and anarchy, brilliantly depicting our nation's disquieting and violent contradictions.

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, Pearl's activities spark the full-blown interest of the F.B.I., putting Pete at the center of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Dark, gritty, and oh so good." - Booklist

"Fourth of July Creek is an extremely dark book, but Henderson's lyrical sentences lend an elegance-an importance-to the lives of his fictional children. By tenderly portraying horrible family secrets, Henderson is able to illuminate the richness and possibility in even the most painful lives." - Kirkus Reviews

"First novels don't come much more confidently written or fully imagined than this." - New York Times

"This is a hell of a great book." - Esquire

"Breathtaking...heartbreaking…Henderson's immersive, colorful style makes this scenic journey worthwhile. He's a curious kind of hard-boiled poet - part Raymond Chandler, part Denis Johnson." - Entertainment Weekly - Grade A

"The best book I've read so far this year...Henderson choreographs these parts so masterfully that the novel is never less than wholly engaging… All week I was looking for opportunities to slip back into these pages and follow the trials of this rural social worker." - Washington Post

"...a masterful debut...we find ourselves rooting for these deeply human characters in the end." - The Oregonian - Portland

"On a political level, Henderson skillfully presages the contemporary political environment in his portrayal of the America of three decades ago. On a deeper level, this dark, compassionate novel finds in Jeremiah's-and Pete's-pain a mirror of everyone's. This is a significant debut." - Library Journal

"Born and raised in Montana, author Smith Henderson knows the terrain and its people, crafting a profoundly American tale that explores our love for freedom, our individualism and the price people sometimes pay." - AARP

"[A] remarkable first novel..." - Shelf Awareness

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More Information

Smith Henderson is the recipient of the 2011 PEN Emerging Writers Award in fiction. He was a 2011 Philip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University, a 2011 Pushcart Prize winner, and a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas. He currently works at the Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency. His fiction has appeared in American Short Fiction, One Story, New Orleans Review, Makeout Creek, and Witness. Born and raised in Montana, he now lives in Portland, Oregon.

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