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The Wettest County in the World: A Novel Based on a True Story Hardcover – 14 Oct 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company; 1 edition (14 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416561390
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416561392
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,010,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Interweaving the bleak portraits of Walker Evans, the charged landscapes of Annie Dillard, and the breakneck plotting of Cormac McCarthy, Matt Bondurant mines his own family history to offer a novel that's both a gritty, fast-paced tale of bootleggers and car chases and a timeless hard-knock ballad, a myth fixed in the amber of one small community's imagination. "The Wettest County in the World" is a suspense story dashed to tintype smithereens, each one a jewel." -- Elis Avery, author of "The Teahouse Fire"

"In his scintillating new novel, Matt Bondurant explores a crucial period in the history of Virginia and of his family. His gorgeous, precise prose brings to life an amazing cast of characters, including Sherwood Anderson, and the often deadly battles of Prohibition. "The Wettest County in the World" is a remarkably compelling, highly intelligent, and deeply moving novel." -- Margot Livesey, author of "The House on Fortune Street" and "Eva Moves the Furniture"

"Bondurant endows this gritty story with all the puzzle-solving satisfactions of a mystery. It's a gripping, relentless tale, delivered in no-nonsense prose." -- "Publishers Weekly" (starred review)

"Bondurant tells a distinctively American story. The gritty, suspenseful narrative gripped me and wouldn't let me go. It also touched my heart in all the right ways. Matt Bondurant's writing is as full of beauty as it is of verve and grit. Thank God it's legal to write so well." -- Lee Martin, author of River of "Heaven" and "The Bright Forever"

"Bondurant writes fiercely and passionately. Severe violence, thrillingly rendered, pervades this book, which will remind readers of hard-hitting Southern writers such as Cormac McCarthy and Larry Brown. ....The story Bondurant has to tell is riveting, detailed and historical. His knowledge of Southern culture is as deep as his ancestors' knowledge of making whiskey. We are aware from the first page that we are in the hands of a remarkable storyteller." -- "San Francisco Chronicle"

"Bondurant is a nimble writer, especially when it comes to depicting gore and guts. His descriptions of the warped and wounded (a man lying in a hospital bed with "skin blanched like boiled meat; the bedding stained with a yellowish fluid" can leave a reader queasy, but the liveliness of his writing makes it hard for even the most lily-livered to look away.....Bondurant's prose is lyrical.......who can deny the power of a narrative so deeply rooted in childhood imaginings, when a mild and quiet grandfather hung those brass knuckles on the wall?" -- "New York Times Book Review"

"Brilliantly conceived, and so close to home, this novel proves Matt Bondurant's burgeoning talent -- a book for thirsty American readers to guzzle down, a book for all young American writers to admire." -- Alan Cheuse, author of "The Fires"

"[An] utterly engaging fable of bootlegging, revenge and remorse...Bondurant will be compared to Cormac McCarthy. It's warranted: Both have a gift for describing brutality so clearly that we see beauty in the honesty." -Men's Journal

"[An] engrossing novel...[Bondurant is] wonderful at evoking hisotrical atmosphere--the elaborate stills camouflaged in the woods, the music, the drunken gatherings that explode into shattering violence." --Entertainment Weekly

"You have to go back to William Faulkner's novels about the Snopes clan to find the kind of cold-blooded Southern amorality that drives Matt Bondurant's second novel...Bondurant's prose is thick with the kind of blood-soaked descriptions that would do Cormac McCarthy proud." -Washington City Paper

"Bondurant is a nimble writer...[His] prose is lyrical when the whiskey floods in, but also when the blood flows out." -The New York Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Matt Bondurant is the author of three novels, the most recent of which is"The Night Swimmer".Lawless previously published as "The Wettest County in the World" was a"New York Times"Editors Choice, and one ofthe"San Francisco Chronicle" s 50 Best Books of the Year. His first novel, "The Third Translation", was an international bestseller, translated into fourteen languages worldwide. He currently teaches literature and writing in the Arts and Humanities graduate program at the University of Texas at Dallas. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Better than the film in every way and that's really saying something!
This book is gritty, honest, brutal, and thrilling.
Me free time became a thing of the past from the second I opened the book as I was transported back to the prohibition era and the daring true escapades of the bootleggers!
A fantastic book.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book off the back of the film, like most reviewers seem to have done on here, and the fact that I have seen the film means I was aware of the plot line. With regards to this, I was not concerned or bothered by the chronology of events within the book not being in order. However, if I was reading the book without prior plot knowledge I think that the chronological order of the book would reveal too much and spoil the ending.

Saying that the novel is a definate must. The language used in the novel sets the scene exceptionally well, and you really get a sense of the bleak, stark lives the people of this time must have lead.

The novel is well paced and has enough action to keep you reading on. The characters are well written and engaging, alhough a times I feel the law enforcement officer seem a little sketchy and we don't really get much of an understanding of their mindsets and motivations.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I admit, I bought this book after seeing the movie and loving it. I understand that some other reviewers found difficulty with the timeline and narration of the book and I feel that having seen the film first, it was easier for me to fall into the story and the switching between the years. The characters are so well formed that you can picture them so clearly in your mind, as well as the rural town where they reside. Each of the colourful characters where likable or despisable, every one of them so expertly described that Bondurant really takes you back through time to a place that probably one still exsists in some small parts of America. If you choose to, you should read the book as it is, a story built on hearsay and legend that is colourful, heartfelt, violent and simply fascinating. I loved this book and I hope others will too, despite Bondurant's slighty odd storytelling it is unlike any other description of those involved in the bootleg liquor trade.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book draws you in and the characters are portrayed with great humanity. Fascinating reading, the story of the Bondurant boys is deeply compelling, desperately human and asks pertinent questions as to the worth of prohibition be it of alcohol or of 'drugs'. Was incredibly sad to have finished it and will be reading it again in the not to distant future.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After watching the movie I thought i'd give the book a try. Saying that, it's not as easy to follow - it leaps back and forwards from the 1930's and 1920's in varying chapters so you have to remember what happened when. The characters are good and it realy does give an insight into the country bootleggers of the time period, but you need to follow the plot. If you want to do it the easy way just watch the film, but the book is good, and obviously Hollywood always miss out parts and Characters, and are "creative" with other bits - if you want the accurate account this is it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
well written very easy to read and understand, very enjoyable a lot better than the film even though i did enjoy the film. wished i had read the book first.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bought the book after watching the film. The book is gritty and conjures up the reality of life within the family and the hard times of life in the prohibition years. The film has changed the story lines an roles as always happens but the book brings them to life and steers you through the chronicles of the bonduarant family life .well written I couldn't put it down
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Format: Kindle Edition
I saw the film on an airplane and immediately bought the book on Kindle.

2 months later I got around to reading it and knocked it off in 3 days. Needless to say, it is a page turner.

It is not exactly like the film. Much more depth
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