Thursday, February 23, 2012
In honor of Black History month, a review and signed book giveaway of Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden
I became familiar with the writing of Bernice McFadden a couple of years ago when I read her prior novels, Sugar and Glorious. The writing is outstanding and Glorious received accolades from a number of sources, including the New York Times and Oprah's magazine. I was quite intrigued when I was offered the opportunity to read her newest novel, Gathering of Waters. Check out the blurb on the cover of the book...
Gathering of Waters is a deeply engrossing tale narrated by the town of Money, Mississippi--a site both significant and infamous in our collective story as a nation. Money is personified in this haunting story, which chronicles its troubled history following the arrival of the Hilson and Bryant families.
Tass Hilson and Emmett Till were young and in love when Emmett was brutally murdered in 1955. Anxious to escape the town, Tass marries Maximillian May and relocates to Detroit.
Forty years later, after the death of her husband, Tass returns to Money and fantasy takes flesh when Emmett Till's spirit is finally released from the dank, dark waters of the Tallahatchie River. The two lovers are reunited, bringing the story to an enchanting and profound conclusion.
Gathering of Waters mines the truth about Money, Mississippi, as well as the town's families, and threads their history over decades. The bare-bones realism--both disturbing and riveting--combined with a magical realm in which ghosts have the final say, is reminiscent of Toni Morrison's Beloved.
I've never thought of myself as a connoisseur of historical fiction, but I find myself eagerly awaiting McFadden's books. Gathering of Waters was different than what I expected--in a good way. The two books of McFadden's that I read were firmly rooted in reality and totally engrossing. I wasn't sure if I could get into a story that had a magical realism thread, but the it dídn't take long to pull me in. This is an author that has a true gift for dialogue and description. As a reader, you feel that you are right there in the scene--And believe me--some of those scenes will have you covering your mouth and shaking your head!
The world of Gathering of Waters is intricate, rich and finally nuanced. It's a story that keeps you reading. You have to know how it's going to turn out. If you'd like to recieve a signed copy for yourself, just leave a comment that tells me what historical novel you've read or story the includes magical realism. If you haven't read any that's fine, just say so. Don't forget to include your email so you can be contacted. That is all.
The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada at publisher's request. It ends Sunday, February 26. 2012.