Fourth of July Creek is a suspenseful and awesome story about a social worker in rural Montana who comes across a religious survivalist nut job living in the woods with his undernourished child. Pete Snow, the social worker, despite warnings, tries repeatedly to engage Jeremiah, the nut job. Pete is a caring social worker, but a damaged dude in his own right. You will cancel plans to keep reading this book. It's great! Recommended By Britt A., Powells.com
I've been recommending Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson like crazy since I read it a couple of years ago. It's about a social worker and a survivalist family in 1980s Montana, but it is so relevant, and it's also a beautiful portrait of a man and his daughter. It's phenomenal. Recommended By Emily F., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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 FBI, putting Pete at the center of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed.
In this shattering and iconic American novel, Smith Henderson explores the complexities of freedom, community, grace, suspicion, and anarchy, brilliantly depicting our nation's disquieting and violent contradictions. Fourth of July Creek is an unforgettable, unflinching debut that marks the arrival of a major literary talent.
“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
“First novels don't come much more confidently written or fully imagined than this.” The 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
“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)
“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
“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
“[A] remarkable first novel.” Shelf Awareness
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.
About the Author
Smith Henderson is the recipient of a PEN Emerging Writers Award in fiction. He was a Philip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University, a 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.