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Lawless

Lawless

A Novel Based on a True Story

With a Foreword by Director John Hillcoat

Based on the true story of Matt Bondurant’s grandfather and two granduncles, Lawless is a gripping tale of brotherhood, greed, and murder. The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition and in the years after. When Sherwood Anderson, the journalist and author of Winesburg, Ohio, was covering a story there, he christened it the “wettest county in the world.” Anderson finds himself driving along dusty red roads, piecing together the clues linking the brothers to “The Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy,” and breaking open the silence that shrouds Franklin County. In vivid, muscular prose, Matt Bondurant brings these men—their dark deeds, their long silences, their deep desires—to life. His understanding of the passion, violence, and desperation at the center of this world is both heartbreaking and magnificent.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451658941 | 
  • September 2012
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

1934

SHERWOOD ANDERSON crossed the Franklin County line, threading his car over a one-lane bridge that lay in a gentle saddle in the road. A few hundred yards beyond the bridge Anderson passed a filling station: a simple clapboard square and a steeply angled roof with an upper story that jutted out from the front, providing a covered pull-in spot in front of the narrow porch. A pair of petrol pumps stood in front, with hand cranks and glass spheres on top filled with fuel. Several things about the place held Anderson’s gaze: a porch, but unlike most rural filling stations this one had no chairs and no... see more

About the Author

Matt Bondurant
Photo Credit: Stacy Bondurant

Matt Bondurant

Matt Bondurant is the author of three novels, the most recent of which is The Night Swimmer. Lawless—previously published as The Wettest County in the World—was a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s 50 Best Books of the Year. His first novel, The Third Translation, was an international bestseller, translated into fourteen languages worldwide. He currently teaches literature and writing in the Arts and Humanities graduate program at the University of Texas at Dallas.

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