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Matt Bondurant Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Third Translation (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wettest County in the World / Lawless (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Night Swimmer (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Oleander City (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Matt Bondurant is a bestselling historical fiction author that is best known for his debut work of fiction “The Third Translation.”

His international bestselling work “The Wettest Country in the World” was made into a film titled “Lawless,” which starred Guy Pearce and Shia Leboufg and was directed by John Hillcoat.
The author was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, and got his bachelor’s degree from James Madison University. Later on, he went to Florida State University where he got his doctorate as a Kingsbury Fellow.
Matt is also a staff member, a two-time waiter at Bread Loaf, and a Sewanee Writer’s Conference Walter E. Dakin Fellow. In addition to his novels, he has published short fiction in many prestigious publications.
He has published his novels in publications such as the “Dallas Noir anthology,” “Glimmer Train,” “Prairie Schooner,” and “The New England Review.”

Matt Bondurant has also penned reviews, essays, and feature articles for the likes of Huffington Post, Newsweek, and Outside Magazine among many other newspapers and magazines.
At some point, he worked as a producer and on-air announce for a local NPR station.

He currently makes his home in Oxford Mississippi where he is the University of Mississippi Director of the MFA Program.

Like many of his peers, Matt Bondurant developed a reading habit when he was very young since his mother had a strong relationship with books.
He remembers how they used to go to the library each week and leave with an armload of books than they could realistically read.

His parents also ran an antique stall during the weekends and during such weekends, they used to leave him at a bookstall for entire afternoons.

For most of his years in school, he used to spend much of his time trying to conceal books under the desk and soon developed a habit of quiet isolation.
Nonetheless, he was a very normal kid that loved to make friends and play sports, even if he read a lot of books. In his early teenage years, he was convinced that he would become someone of note – someone that knew things.
He often fantasized about becoming an impressive figure and serious intellectual to whom many people deferred. By the time he was 12, he had read “Moby Dick” and was a Holden Caulfield-type pretentious twat.
He read most of the classics when he was totally unprepared for them. While he got very little of what he read, he felt that he was doing something very important.

One of the biggest inspirations from his childhood was “The Children’s Anthology of Folktales, Myths, and Legends.”

He used to read the novel every night for more than ten years. He read of Jack the Giant Killer, Robin Hood, Odin, and Loki and this affected how he understood the elemental aspects of storytelling.
Throughout that time, he was still a reader and not a writer but at some point, he began contemplating becoming a writer.

In college, he used to believe he would become a poet as he used to memorize some Byron and sometimes slept in the woods with a copy of Leaves of Grass but never got the opportunity he thought he deserved.
After he was rejected by every MFA program that he sent an application to, he decided to go take a master’s in literature.

It was in graduate school that he reread most of the important books and met some intelligent and serious people that taught him a lot about books.
After he graduated with a doctorate degree, he went on to publish “The Third Translation” his debut novel in 2005.

Matt Bondurant’s “The Wettest County in the World” is the true story of the author’s grandfather and two granduncles. It is a work that tells of murder, greed, and brotherhood.
The Bondurant Boys were known as moonshiners and roughnecks who smuggled liquor through Virginia’s Franklin County in the years during and after prohibition.

The eldest brother is Forrest, a mythically indestructible and fierce man who is also a consummate businessman.

The middle brother is Howard, a huge man who is still suffering from the horrors of the Great War. Jack the youngest dreams of one day leaving Franklin and is known for his taste in luxury.
Haunted and driven, they will fall in love, forge a business and struggle to survive as they watch their family business fail and their family dies due to drought and the Great Depression.
They live in Franklin County which in the 1920s was chockful with moonshine that it was nicknamed the wettest county in the world by the author and journalist Sherwood Anderson.
Writing in muscular and vivid prose, the author brings to light the dark deeds of the Bondurant men, their deep desires, long silences, and dark deeds.

“The Night Swimmer” by Matt Bondurant is the story of a young American couple.

They just won a pub on Ireland’s southernmost tip and soon become embroiled in local intrigue and violence making for an atmospheric tale that is full of Hitchcockian suspense.

Upon arrival at the small town, Fred and Elly, his wife find the residents of the wild and strange land are actively hostile to outsiders. Soon enough, Fred is immersing himself in life in the small town where he is living as a pub owner.
Meanwhile, Elly heads out to a nearby island on a ferry and gets immersed in the open water ocean swimming to the disbelief of the native. Elly is becoming enmeshed in the many troubles the island is facing.

Some of these include the power struggle between a family that has been in control of the area for eons who do not look kindly to what they deem invasion by an enigmatic goat herder.
Too involved in what is happening on the island and in their own activities, their marriage begins to unravel.

Matt Bondurant’s novel “The Third Translation” is a literary page-turner. It tells the story of a man named Walter Rothschild who is investigating an ancient mystery in the dangerous streets of London.
Estranged from his adult daughter and wife, he spends his nights and days in translation constantly reworking and working riddles written on ancient funereal rocks.

In London, the British Museum hires a gifted American Egyptologist as they try to crack the code of the Stela of Paser one of the last remaining hieroglyphic mysteries.

Lacking inspiration, he meets a young woman who seems interested in his work and in him. When Walter invites her back to his place of work so that she can see what he is working on, she secretly steals an antiquity and goes missing.
This marks Walter’s chaotic search to repair the damage that he is responsible for. Threatened by imagined and real villains, Walter races against time to win back his reputation and antiquity.
Told in electric and very original prose, it is a compelling, witty, and ingenious work.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Matt Bondurant

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