Canaan's Tongue
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Canaan's Tongue

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  97 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Set in the American South in the years before and during the Civil War, John Wray’s hypnotic new novel is at once a crime story, a bravura work of historical fiction, and a fire-and-brimstone meditation on American credulity and corruption.
Thaddeus Morelle’s followers call him “the Redeemer.” Over the years he has led the Island 37 Gang from stealing horses to stealing sla...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Knopf (first published May 24th 2005)
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The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey ChaucerCandide by VoltaireThe Canterville Ghost by Oscar WildeCandida by George Bernard ShawCannery Row by John Steinbeck
Yes We "Can"
15th out of 24 books — 8 voters
Lowboy by John WrayThe Right Hand of Sleep by John WrayCanaan's Tongue by John Wray
Best of John Wray
3rd out of 3 books — 1 voter

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This was a gothic and grotesque book about a gang of outlaws around the time of the U.S. civil war. It had many Faulkner-esque touches (multiple points of view, stream of consciousness, violent deaths), but far more accessible. The one down side was the kabala-like mysticism (not my cup of tea), but otherwise a great book.

As a side note, I picked this book up after reading another John Wray novel, "Lowboy" which was fantastic. This was an earlier novel and it's great to see each book getting be...more
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Michael Lannan
Dec 27, 2007 Michael Lannan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes cinematic suspenseful dark reads.
I picked this up because I read this guy's articles in the NY Times magazine and thought they were great. Turns out he not only knows all about post-modern metal bands but also writes shocking, dark, funny, brutal, amazing historical fiction. I am telling all my friends...
You know how the movie From Dusk Till Dawn starts out as a criminals-on-the-run movie and then halfway through the movie, holy crap, it's about vampires? Yeah.
Oi! Slave traders just before and during the Civil War. Not a lovely bunch of people, but can't put this book down. How does he get into their heads so well?
I thought it was good - it took the complete read to know what the book was about. This is one I'd like to discuss in a group.
Garrett Tezanos
I got frustrated with the story by the end, but there's no denying that John Wray is a very gifted writer.
Say what? Read it right on the heels of Lowboy, which I quite enjoyed. Puzzling.
Jun 18, 2012 Moloch rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Moloch by: Visto sul sito della casa editrice Gea Schirò
Started out interesting, grew tiresome the more i read.
Adrian Young
This book kills it. Plain and simple.
May 25, 2010 Jimmy added it
Wild and strange. Lots of eyeballs.
Michael leutzinger
Jan 26, 2009 Michael leutzinger is currently reading it
Really good so far
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John Wray is the author of three critically acclaimed novels, Lowboy, The Right Hand of Sleep and Canaan's Tongue. He was named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists in 2007. The recipient of a Whiting Award, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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