To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Wettest County in the World , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Wettest County in the World. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. First of all, I watched this movie and couldn't get it out of my head, so I completely went out of my genre of reading and bought the book! At first I thought this might be a little mature for me ha ha but once I got used to the writing I was glued. It's like a school book you have to dissect.
The who, what, where, whys of what they were thinking? There's so little said about each character or about a scene that you find your self more touched or more fascinated, it's weird, less is more! I felt First of all, I watched this movie and couldn't get it out of my head, so I completely went out of my genre of reading and bought the book!
I felt so attached to each character and even ones that weren't in the movie. Like poor Emmy, I felt so bad for her, always in mourning but then almost never getting attention from her brothers just living day to day cleaning up and cooking. I just wanted so bad for Jack to buy her something or do something to make her smile. He seemed like he was the closer one to her. The bond between Maggie and Forrest, this mutual acceptance for each other, not expecting anymore or any less.
So much to think about.. This is a good book for discussion, I can't wait til my friends and family read it so I have someone to break down all the parts with! Dec 01, Bill rated it liked it. I liked the main story of this book. The main story follows three brothers who are bootleggers and general shady characters in the early s.
They grew up as poor farmers in a region that became known for moonshine production during prohibition, and soon became involved themselves. Some of the more interesting pars of the book came from seeing how the three brothers were each differently suited or unsuited in some cases, to such a life. However, the book really fell apart where it tried to sk I liked the main story of this book.
In the second story a journalist was trying to find information about the bootleggers of the area and having trouble figuring out what actually happened. The problem is that the second story added almost nothing to the original or the overall book. Those pages could have been much better spent developing the brother characters who suffer from shallow characterization for much of the book.
The Wettest County In the World by Matt, Bondurant-
View all 5 comments. Jun 16, Kevin Farrell rated it it was amazing. Well, it looks like I am in disagreement with others who have rated this book. The reason is two-fold. I am a fan of bourbon and whiskey; both historically and practically. I am also a fan of historical fiction that takes place in the southern US states - particularly Kentucky. How I got there is not important but this book speaks to me as though it was written for me.
It is a well written story about brothers who made moonshine whiskey in Kentucky and were feared by both their competition and th Well, it looks like I am in disagreement with others who have rated this book. It is a well written story about brothers who made moonshine whiskey in Kentucky and were feared by both their competition and the law. The story is fiction but it is fitted into the known historical facts available to the author for the time and the county in which the story takes place. The author is the grandson of one of these infamous brothers.
He has returned to his home place and researched his family's past to put this story together. Five stars for a well written story about Kentucky Bourbon and the people who made it. View 2 comments. Aug 05, Mary rated it liked it Shelves: usa , audio , read , historical-fiction , book-to-movie , hfs.
I started listening to this book in audio format, and while I thought the narrator was fantastic, I don't think the novel's structure lends itself to audio. The story of the Bondurant brothers running moonshine during Prohibition is interwoven with the story - several years later - of reporter Sherwood Anderson trying to uncover the Bondurants' involvement with the Moonshine Conspiracy in Franklin County. The shifting of the narrative was confusing in audio, so I switched to the printed text, bu I started listening to this book in audio format, and while I thought the narrator was fantastic, I don't think the novel's structure lends itself to audio.
The shifting of the narrative was confusing in audio, so I switched to the printed text, but in the end I've decided my real problem was with the author's decision to include Sherwood Anderson as a narrative device. I found his character distracting to the main storyline, and I would have preferred more focus on developing the Bondurants. Still, I liked the author's lyrical prose and found that despite the poverty and violence in the story, there was a hopeful tone, less depressing than other GritLit I have read recently.
Maybe because the main character Jack Bondurant is a dreamer or maybe just because this story carries with it the aura of family legend. View all 4 comments. The Bondurant were not gangsters like that of the suburbs of New York during the prohibition. If anything they were hard workers and if they knew there was a profit the people could make they tried to survive from it.
Considering the unrelenting and unforgiving harsh climate and landscape they lived amongst and around the people died and lived through some very brutal times, epidemics, they had to be tuff and survive financially with what came their way. There was some very nasty official pe The Bondurant were not gangsters like that of the suburbs of New York during the prohibition. There was some very nasty official people who wanted to capitalise on the last days of the prohibition and the Bondurant clan was not having it, they would not bent and fold. I think the word gangster is not a fitting description, they were a generation of family who would not lay down, some had a hell of a fight in them, they did go against the law yes, but who wasn't in those days trying to profit from Moonshine and tobacco.
Matt Bondurant, Author of The Wettest County in the World
The grandfather of this story set in stone mentality and by example ways of a Bondurant man, of a hard working man, they grafted, toiled and sweated like many people of their time. A memorable family that worked well in this story. This was an engaging and enjoyable read, a look at a true family from history. The author done well in describing the landscape, the people and the world of those days. It was enjoyable to read of the protagonist writers friendship with Hemingway and his meeting with Faulkner in the story.
The county went into self imposed quarantine. Generations of families had known the ancient periodical ravages of sweeping illness like diphtheria, influenza, smallpox, and the certain knowledge of deaths deliberate visitation ground all activity to a standstill as families huddled together in their homes. Jack's father, Granville Bondurant, closed up his vacant general store, itinerant mendicants and blasted road-men his only occasional customers. Families relied on the saved stores of food stockpiled in root cellars, cool spring houses. The Brodies who loved across the broad hill stopped coming down the dirt road by the house, as did the Deshazos, a black family that lived a half a mail off.
The pews of Snow Creek Baptist Church stood cockeyed empty and hooded crows roosted in the crude lectern. The next day he would get up and do it again, seven days a week, substituting cattle work, apples, chestnuts, hog butchering, haying, busting clods, harrowing, plowing, carpentry, depending on the season, need, and paying customers.
With Howard he took loads of walnuts and apples to Roanoke in oxcarts, and tobacco to Harrisonburg, Martinsville, and Richmond, where he slept on pallets stacked high with pressed tobacco hands in the darkness of the warehouse. He began to drink occasionally, accepting the grimy jar as it was passed hand over hand, though Forrest never took any pleasure in it other than that it helped him put his head down and get his eyes screwed tight long after everyone else had gone to sleep.
People moved around him as if he were a wild dog in the street. It hung on the lips of men like salvation, it was as if they believed if they repeated the word enough,'bacca, the chanting, the incarnation, the sound of it would bring a strong crop and suddenly Franklin County would flower in prosperity. That summer Anderson watched as men, young boys and girls walked the rows of tobacco for hours in the devastating heat, seemingly endless rows that stretched over the hills, stooping to pull tobacco worms off the stalks and leaves, fat white grubs several inches long that writhed in your palm when plucked, their tiny black heads waving, beak-like mouths seeking purchase.
The early shoots withered in a matter of weeks, the bony cattle following the thin licks up the creek beds, planting their muzzles deep in any soft patch of mud. Fish crowded in the deep eddies and boys waded in to grab mud cats and carp with their hands. Headlights sweeping over a field at night found them alive with glowing eyes as packs of deer came down from the mountains desperate for water, parched and defiant.
The old superstitions raised their hoary heads and traveling through stands of woods in Franklin County that summer you would occasionally find a snake hanging from a tree, nailed by the head, an ancient appeal to the wood gods to bring the rain back. Fields of yellow, stunted tobacco with untapped blooms covered the county.
Red clay surged to the surface through scattered weeds, the powder rising into the air on no wind at all, like transpiration, the dry sucking up the dry, and so a fine slit of clay was worn in every crease, in the eyes of dogs, in the skillets of fatback and pintos. A matter of minutes after you swept the floor clean you could draw in it with your finger. Men stood with their hands in their pockets, heads low, scuffing their boots, dreaming of sudden, angry cloudbursts.
They knew when the tobacco died the shooting would begin. By August even the children grew quiet, beyond listless, and wandered down to the dry creeks in small groups, daydreaming of ice. In the summer of women all over the southern part of the state of Virginia stood in their dusky kitchens and wept. View all 3 comments.
Oct 08, Benjamin rated it liked it Shelves: recentreads. This is a wonderfully gritty tale about the home-spun moonshining business during the prohibition years in Franklin County, Virginia. The book tells the story of the Bondurant brothers, three men who lust for money, pine for love, or just yearn to get by. The writing was so lush that I felt as if I were in Franklin County as the events were happening. Unfortunately, the book was divided unevenly in my opinion between past and further past, and it was difficult to determine what was happening w This is a wonderfully gritty tale about the home-spun moonshining business during the prohibition years in Franklin County, Virginia.
Unfortunately, the book was divided unevenly in my opinion between past and further past, and it was difficult to determine what was happening when. Rather than enhancing the plot, this broke the pacing of the action and actually took away from the depth of the characters. Aug 22, Liz Clark rated it it was amazing.
The Bondurant brothers, prohibition, and bootlegging. This story written by the grandson of one of these brothers was great. Each one of the brothers are so very different yet alike in so many ways. Personally, I was so drawn to Forrest. He was a man of very few words yet the words that he did speak were so profound. Howard always seemed like the brother that was on the verge of something whether it be greatness or madness. Then there was Jack. Just trying to make a name for himself while being The Bondurant brothers, prohibition, and bootlegging. Just trying to make a name for himself while being in the shadows of these two older brothers.
The story was so great and well put together.
- The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant?
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I think Matt did a great job mixing the actual facts with the fabrications to try to fill in the blanks. What a great story to have to pass down to your family as history. Aug 22, W. Some people have all the luck: they have fathers, grandfathers, uncles, all of whom have a back-story, something to talk about down the years, something out of which a writer can make a really good story.
Not me. Except once, when I was about eight, and I heard my mother and father talking. My father was in trouble with the police. It was in the papers. He had been fined 5 shillings for a parking Some people have all the luck: they have fathers, grandfathers, uncles, all of whom have a back-story, something to talk about down the years, something out of which a writer can make a really good story.
He had been fined 5 shillings for a parking offence. That and my three speeding offences — and oh yes, a careless driving — is all we seem to have amassed as a family. Not much story in any of that. Yet Matt Bondurant got a hint when he was into middle age that there was a story, something about his family. And though, save for newspapers, the documentary evidence was thin and the majority of those alive in the s and s had either passed on or forgotten the events of the time, he has managed to squeeze out a narrative from what he can find.
His grandfather and his two great uncles are the major figures in this violent tale. We know all about Prohibition from all the gangster stories that have been written or filmed: we know about Capone and the Mob in all the great cities. But there is great money involved in all of this - there is a suggestion that ninety per cent of families in Franklin County were in some way involved in the trade — so that now senior officers in the local county administration — the County Attorney and the Sheriff - decide to have their share of it, imposing a tax on the stills, demanding a tax for the shipment of the liquor, destroying the stills of non-payers and relentlessly pursuing those shipping their wares.
Men are shot, beaten, emasculated, their testicles placed in a jar. Decidedly ruthless. Some have objected that the story line is obscure at times when the author hops from one year to another. You have to concentrate. Yet I cannot deny that this may some day come to be regarded as a great novel. The reader has a lot of work to do. He needs to take time, to ponder it and enjoy its lyrical qualities which so uplift this book. Descriptions of newly distilled liquor; of the workings of a rural sawmill; of a frost-wrinkled land; of whole tobacco drills wilting in a savage summer heat; of lean men and women, poor but stoical — all of these elegantly expressed images, make for a book to return to.
Jan 24, Tom rated it really liked it. Blurbs comparing Bondurant to Cormac McCarthy do a disservice to Bondurant, whose vision is much more compassionate, humane. I've read several McCarthy books, and except for Suttree, they tend to leave me feeling impressed with the prose but otherwise numb or slightly ill. Bondurant's novel left me feeling enlightened, as well as entertained.
He's certainly far, far better as depicting lives of women. His prose is very rich without turning into sludgy baroque, as McCarthy can. Here's a sample of Blurbs comparing Bondurant to Cormac McCarthy do a disservice to Bondurant, whose vision is much more compassionate, humane. They only chew on the cud of their past.
Not to me. Look forward to reading more by this talented writer. Aug 20, Jonathan Briggs rated it really liked it. Some writers think incorporating fantastic levels of violence and jettisoning dialog punctuation will win them favorable comparisons to America's greatest living author. They are correct, in fact, but all that proves is that a lot of critics are knuckleheads. Knocking off Dan Brown probably wasn't much of a challenge for Matt Bondurant or anyone else with a working command of his ABC's in writing his first novel, "The Third Translation," so he set his sights on loftier literary game for his follow-up, a tale of his bootlegging ancestors.
As the editor of The Roanoke Times warns him, "There's only two things up in them Franklin County hills for those who are looking: stump whiskey and free ass whippin's. Cross the wrong people, and a man might find his own gonads floating in a jar of shine like ice cubes. It's all in the game, yo. Anderson is stymied in the pursuit of his article by the stone-faced locals, taciturn and standoffish to strangers. But we the readers are privy to the inside story. It goes back to , when Franklin County is being decimated by the Spanish influenza pandemic.
Shortly after Forrest makes his proclamation, the boys' mother and two of their three sisters succumb to the flu and die. It's the kind of incident that's apt to make a boy ornery, and Forrest and Jack grow up "no 'count" to run moonshine with their older brother, Howard. Jack is sensitive, prone to visions. He's somewhat weak but a thinker, the ambitious one, the one with plans. And Forrest? Well, Forrest is the badass. How badass is Forrest? When he gets his throat cut by a pair of crackers trying to rob his roadhouse hangout, he sits in the snow and bleeds out for a while, then, once again asserting his own immortality, he walks it off.
Now there are different types of moonshine. The Bondurants traffic in a pretty high grade of illicit liquor. Perhaps it was the aftermath, the burning humiliation of it they sought, when the aching morning came and they rolled over in the dirt and felt their mouth for teeth or lightly touched the split ear, the face in the rearview mirror swollen and crusted with blood.
The Wettest County in the World
Forrest figured if these men wanted it he might as well give it to them. After I finished the first chapter, I told Ma I thought I was gonna like this one, only to discover that she had raced through the book like Robert Mitchum on Thunder Road and was already nearing the end. It's a fine book and a great read, no argument there and it should make a helluva movie, provided the Weinsteins kept their porky paws off it , but it's slightly compromised by Bondurant's idol worship.
Trying to write like Cormac McCarthy is fruitless and a fool's game. Cormac writes at a level that's damn near otherworldly, and that has nothing to do with quotation marks. He belongs in a category of one, and when he breaks the rules of writing, it feels like the rules need to be changed. When Bondurant plays around with tense shifts in mid-sentence, it doesn't add artistic sheen to the text, it just feels like editorial malpractice.
Men slapped him on the back, poke his fat biceps, telling stories that he doesn't quite hear. Howard opens a fresh jar and sent the lid spinning off into the darkness. It would have been better served if he hadn't tried so hard to write it like someone else would. Matt Bondurant should focus more on writing like Matt Bondurant.
And next time, I want to see proper punctuation. Nov 09, Bridget rated it did not like it Shelves: reads. I had an Advance Readers' Edition of this title, and I was looking forward to reading it. The story is that of the Bondurant brothers, who were involved in moonshine making and distribution during the Prohibition in Franklin County. Maybe this is a good book, but if it is, I didn't read far enough into it to find out. The Prologue was a bit much for me, before I ever even got into the story, and once I started the story, it just seemed to clumsily written to hold my interest.
The characters had no redeeming qualities, nor were they at least entertaining sometimes characters that have no redeeeming qualities are saved for me by being interesting or entertaining.
And the story seemed terribly disjointed, always making me feel that I had forgotten to remember something from a chapter or a few pages prior. But then I would go back to check, and I hadn't missed anything. I would not recommend this book. It had promise as far as the story line goes, but did not deliver. It's pretty readable, once you get used to the embellished writing. Lots of extra metaphor and description makes it feel more like literature, and it's not really my style. It makes the book hard to get into at the beginning, and I'm not sure it illuminates the characters as much as it mimicks the writing pretensions of the Sherwood Anderson character in the story.
The story is quite good when it's covering the Bondurant brothers, their quality of life, and how people think and act around them. He hangs around the county trying to get the story that's unfolding to us, but he never gets what he's looking for and ultimately is a failure. Is that supposed to be symbolic of the Bondurant brothers, or life in general? It's not clear to me that it is. The setting is very well described, as is the way of life for people in Franklin County. The violence and bootlegging are told in an engrossing manner as well, very detailed, if bare and matter-of-fact.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The reader is pulled through the prohibition in a small town of Virginia, where the law is corrupt and the authorities are even more so. The reader is introduced to the Bondurants; the main characters: Jack, Forrest, and Howard.
You find yourself on dangerous and risky adventure with this infamous band of brothers. Forrest known for surviving a fight that ended up having his neck sliced and hobbling to the hospital. Jack, the youngest of the brothers, - also the weakest of the three- enjoys the The reader is pulled through the prohibition in a small town of Virginia, where the law is corrupt and the authorities are even more so.
Jack, the youngest of the brothers, - also the weakest of the three- enjoys the high life and follows the footsteps of his two older brothers. Last, the middle brother, Howard, bombarded of he had witnessed in the Great War and only bootlegs to help his family. They witness their family- mother and sisters- die due to an illness, their father's business fail, and the Depression and drought surrounding them as they try to stay afloat. Bootlegging was the only solution, the money was flowing and they were the Bondurants.
And finally there was Charles Rakes, driven to destroy everything that the Bondurants stood for. He was eager, bold, and cunning. He wanted them in jail. He wanted them dead. It draws you into his story alone. The constant question that constantly popped in my mind while I read Lawless was: how are you even alive? Men lived free lives then.
It makes you realize how technologically advanced we are, but not only that. The blunt fact that every one of today relies on a plane flight to chase their interests. When back then the curiosity of traveling lived in few people. The idea of escaping was only in the context of a police chase- for the most part. It makes you realize how the world has changed from the late s. Overall, the book kept the readers interests and emotions.
The interesting part about all of this is the simple fact that it is based on true events. The truth was unveiled until the very end--I will not reveal any spoilers. I absolutely adore this book. The story has its ups and downs, from the dangerous encounters with Charles Rakes to the sweetest moments between Jack and Bertha.
I found myself cheering for the Bondurants -even though there were the one's going against the law- it was hard not to. The most interesting thing- and probably the most obvious- was the time switches between each chapter. They would switch between different years, late s and early s. They were placed together seamlessly. The perspectives also changed which gave the story depth and a three dimensional view but at times was hard to understand.
Jan 23, Brian rated it really liked it. This novel was one of the most gripping reads I have had in the last year. The reason was not because I did not know how it ends. That is hinted at almost from the beginning. It was because Matt Bondurant has created a novel where the characters literally breathe and the reader finds themselves caught up, and invested in, the details of their lives.
I would have given this text five stars but for This novel was one of the most gripping reads I have had in the last year. I would have given this text five stars but for two things. Never used!. Seller Inventory P Brand New!. Seller Inventory VIB Seller Inventory M Book Description Scribner , Seller Inventory XM Book Description Condition: New. Looks like an interesting title!. Ships with Tracking Number! Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory n. Matt Bondurant. Publisher: Scribner , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.
View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Running moonshine liquor during the prohibition years, a notorious trio of brothers continues their illicit business after Prohibition and plays a central role in a violent conspiracy trial--a story that is investigated in by a magazine journalist.
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