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.
"I have not wrestled a book so hard in years. I read the first 80 pages and hated every single character. Really, this debut book is about some of the nastiest people I've ever encountered in fiction. Even the hero of the book, Pete, a social worker, is miles away from perfect. I gave up. But then I picked it up again because the writing is so amazing, I knew I had to stay with it. Henderson's writing is very visual and, at least for me, hypnotic. This is a story about doing what you can to survive, of fighting back as much as you can, and doing what you need to do to get by. It isn't pretty, but it is a haunting masterpiece."