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Fourth of July Creek [Kindle Edition]

Smith Henderson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $26.99
Kindle Price: $13.59
You Save: $13.40 (50%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


“This book left me awestruck; a stunning debut which reads like the work of a writer at the height of his power…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)

Fourth of July Creek knocked me flat. This gorgeous, full-bodied novel seems to contain all of America at what was, in retrospect, a pivotal moment in its history...Smith Henderson has delivered nothing less than a masterpiece of a novel.” (—Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk)

Fourth of July Creek cannot possibly be Smith Henderson’s first book. Its scope is audacious, its range virtuosic, its gaze steady and true. A riveting story written in a seductive and relentlessly authentic rural American vernacular, this is the kind of novel I wish I’d written.” (—Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Battleborn)

Fourth of July Creek is an astonishing read. The writing is energetic and precise. Henderson has a mastery of scale that allows this particular place and these particular people to illuminate who we are as Americans...I could not recommend this book more highly.” (—Kevin Powers, bestselling author of The Yellow Birds)

Product Details

  • File Size: 982 KB
  • Print Length: 485 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062286447
  • Publisher: Ecco (May 27, 2014)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FJ37BWI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,701 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing May 21, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Henderson's novel is an incredibly powerful tale. Set in rural western Montana, it all begins when a young boy is found wandering through their very small town and local social worker, Pete Snow, is called in to help. Trying to return the lost (or just wandering) boy to his parents who live outside of town in what can only be described as an isolated compound, Pete has his first run-in with the boy's father, Jeremiah, an extremely violent, anti-government fanatical religious fundamentalist.

Pete, though he has his own demons, decides to see if he can make any progress with Jeremiah in the hopes of offering the help/assistance his family so desperately requires ---- poverty and desperation is no good upbringing for a child. He begins the long and patient process of trying to earn Jeremiah's trust. And he might be successful --- until the FBI becomes involved and all hell breaks loose.

I was blown away by intensity of this novel. There are so many themes at play here, but through it all is one darned fine story. The characters are larger than life....full of faults, yes, but aren't we all? Of course we all have thoughts of Ruby Ridge and the Koresh disaster when this topic comes up, but Henderson is very sensitive to the subtleties at play here. Rarely in life is any situation black and white, and Pete's dilemma, Jeremiah's mental illness...these are subjects that deserve an introspective look. Henderson accomplishes this admirably and never lets the pace of the plot flag for a moment. I was turning pages late, late into the night with this novel. Highly recommended.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TALENTED WRITER WRITES A NOVEL FULL OF HEART May 24, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Fourth of July Creek is Henderson's first novel but it reads like he's been writing and publishing fiction for years, so good is it. In summary, it sounds like a horror show. Pete, a falling-apart on-again-off-again-drunk Montana social worker encounters an eleven-year-old wild child and his survivalist father and forges a bond of sorts with them. Pete would like it to become friendship but the father, Jeremiah Pearl, is paranoid, maybe insane: trust beyond the most tentative is impossible between them. No matter how Pete tries to help the Pearls -with food, vitamins and medicines, clothes--Jeremiah sees him as the agent of the occupation, ZOG --for those who don't know, ZOG stands for Zionist Occupational Government, which some survivalists see as the visible manifestation of the Jews' takeover of America. Jeremiah is always waiting for the black helicopters to swoop down on him. Everything he sees or hears is a sign: of the arrival of the antichrist, the impending Apocalypse, the hidden controls a Satanic government and a damned people impose on the few remaining pure. What happens between them is scary.

Pete's life away from the Pearls is heartbreaking. His ex-wife is a good time girl who lives on a diet of drugs, alcohol and short-term sex. Her daughter Rachel runs away, partly to escape her mother's "boyfriends," partly just to get free of her mother. Pete searches for her, to no avail. Alternating chapters narrate Pete's story and Rachel's. (She calls herself "Rose" now.) Rachel's is told in the form of an interrogation: a neutral third party voice questions her and she answers. She's had no positive role models in her life except her loving but absent, inarticulate and alcoholic father Pete. She has no money. She has to depend on strangers she meets for food and shelter.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lately it seems like the publishing and book-buying world can’t seem to get enough of dark, gritty stories with hardened protagonists that have nothing to lose; think Wiley Cash’s This Dark Road to Mercy, or Darragh McKeon’s All That is Solid Melts into Air. Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson is another book that fills that void, and its incredible. Honestly one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Smith HendersonSet in the backwoods of 1980s Montana, Fourth of July Creek has all the elements needed for a literary thriller: hardened protagonists, graphic writing, suspense. With these elements, Henderson spins an unsettling tale. At the crossroads of three storylines is social worker Pete Snow. Estranged from his wife and teenage daughter, Pete is nursing a drinking problem and has given up on being named “Father of the Year” or “Husband of the Year.” Instead, this down on his luck protagonist retreats to a cabin in rural Montana to focus on his work.

As a social worker Pete sees the garden variety of bad parents: unemployed mothers with too many children to feed and take care of; meth-rattled anarchists with grudges against the Feds; born-again Christians who live on the fringe of society with no electricity or plumbing. While these people are the definition of bad parents, they don’t want handouts and they don’t want the government stepping in. It’s Pete’s job to convince them that they need the help.

And help he does. Pete “rescues” 15-year-old Cecil from his drug addicted mother, only to have the boy wind up in a juvenile detention facility. Pete’s attempts to help and save are not always successful.

The second storyline involves Rachel, Pete’s daughter. She is whisked off by her mother to Texas for a better life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 13 hours ago by Kathryn D.
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish it. Not that well written.
Couldn't finish it. Not that well written.
Published 3 days ago by Ellen Brennan
1.0 out of 5 stars Plodding and NOT for Entertainment!
As a NY social worker who hated her job working for the Bureau of Child Welfare, I REALLY hated this book which was not only a story about terribly dysfunctional families, but also... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Lulu
4.0 out of 5 stars Good writing
This is a well-written book, and I look forward to more from Smith Henderson. The storyline had my attention, and enjoy his writing style, but then the plot got a little... Read more
Published 4 days ago by stevi
1.0 out of 5 stars I found it very hard to read about all these ...
I found it very hard to read about all these dysfunctional people and what they went through. probably because they are so far removed from anything I have witnessed. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Thalia A. Swinyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
kept me on the edge of my many twists and turns
Published 6 days ago by Johnna McClain
4.0 out of 5 stars good book
Well Written
Good tempo
A page turner and a story I could identify with
Read it and I hope you'll enjoy it too
Published 6 days ago by scott r beaty
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Beyond Expectation, What A Debut!
Had I not known otherwise, I would have sworn that this could not possibly be a debut novel. It has the maturity, intensity, depth and writing style of someone who has spent years... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Lauri Crumley Coates
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a great book
just read it.
Published 7 days ago by susan kushner resnick
4.0 out of 5 stars Populated by flawed characters somehow united in their humanity by the...
A difficult book to read due to the meticulous depiction of each character's flaws and the difficulty in the beginning of empathizing with any of them. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Kathryn Allen
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More About the Author

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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