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Music of the Swamp

By Lewis Nordan

“This is not merely a stellar book. It is absolute ballad put to page.” —Southern Living

Lewis Nordan’s fiction invents its own world--always populated by madly heroic misfits. In Music of the Swamp, he focuses his magic and imagination on a boy’s utterly helpless love for his utterly hopeless father--a man who attracts bad luck like a magnet. Nordan evokes ten-year-old Sugar Mecklin’s world with dazzling clarity: the smells, the tastes, and most surely the sounds of life in this peculiar, somewhat bizarre, Delta town. Sugar discovers that what his daddy says is true: “The Delta is filled up with death”; but he also finds an endless supply of hope.

An ALA Notable Book
Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Fiction Award

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Lewis Nordan

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Review quotes

“Lordy, Lordy, can Lewis Nordan write! Horrible things happen, and horribly funny things, too, in the Delta town of Arrow Catcher, Miss.” —Los Angeles Times

“A bittersweet melody syncopated with sadness relieved by moments of all-too-human comedy . . . ‘There is great pain in all love,’ Sugar eventually concludes, ‘but we don’t care, it’s worth it.’ Mr. Nordan’s enchanting Music of the Swamp bears poignant witness to that truth.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Conjures up a Southern-fried childhood that’s as dark, hilarious, and affecting as any you’re likely to encounter.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Lewis Nordan is one of those Southern writers who provoke a cringe of pain right after the belly laugh. [His books] are very funny and deep-down sad, stirring up great heaps of emotion.” —New York Newsday

“Nordan introduces a group of characters as wild and woolly, as unpredictable, outrageous and violence-prone as the land that spawns them.” —Chicago Tribune

“This is not merely a stellar book. It is absolute ballad put to page, a stunning composition about the awakening of young Sugar Mecklin to a mystical world of fantasy, illusion, and harsh reality . . . Like a hypnotic Bessie Smith ballad, Nordan’s book bids you listen.” —Southern Living

Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
January 09, 1992