The novel that launched Tim Gautreaux internationally as one of the best contemporary American novelists - a gripping tale of courage, violence and moral choices set in 1920s Louisiana.
Byron Aldridge, heir to a timber empire, returns from the First World War a changed man and finds refuge as a company policeman in a backwoods Louisiana sawmill. Soon his younger brother Randolph tracks him down, assuming charge of the mill in the hope of rescuing his former idol. But as the brothers try to understand each other and their wives contend with their own hopes and fears, it is Randolph who starts a feud with the Sicilians who control the whisky and girls, and the future grows fearsome for them all.
So firmly located and vividly realised that you can almost smell the Louisiana swampwater ... a gripping, action-packed tale, but also a notably intelligent one - Jem Poster, Guardian
Astonishingly powerful ... brilliantly written and the characters in their mire are superbly realised - Toby Clements, Daily Telegraph
An extraordinary novel, one of the best I've read in years - Annie Proulx, Guardian Summer Books
I cannot recommend it highly enough. - Peter Straus, Literary Review
Gautreaux captures the fetid atmosphere of a frontier society poised to join the modern world with great skill, each sentence polished to perfection - Independent on Sunday
Near-perfect ... untouchably good - Alan Warner, Daily Telegraph Summer Books
Born and raised in Louisiana, Tim Gautreaux lives there with his wife an is writer in residence at Southeastern Louisiana University. His work has appeared in Harper's, the Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Zoetrope, Prize Stories: The O: Henry Awards, and Best American Short Stories. Acclaimed as 'one of the best writers to have emerged in the 1990s (Kirkus reviews), his novels are The Next Step in the Dance, which won the 1999 SEBA Book Award, the hugely acclaimed The Clearing, and The Missing. He has also written two collections of short stories, published in one volume.