Customer Reviews for

The Watery Part of the World

Average Rating 3.5
( 15 )
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  • Posted May 27, 2011

    Best book I've read in a long time!

    To me, The Watery Part of the World is the perfect book. I could go on and on with praise for Parker's well-drawn characters and the way that setting serves as one, too; the lyricism and pacing of his lines to conjure the torrent of the rain and winds, of human emotions, the flatness of them, too; and the depths to which the story mines the contrariness and secrets of the heart and mind, but I'll stop here because you best read the book and see what I mean.

    But I must go on to say that this is my favorite novel since the 2003 publication of The Known World by Edward P. Jones, and I believe that Parker, like Jones, is one of best writers in this country.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2011

    Classic Southern writing

    A very well written book, interesting structure, but so overwhelmingly dark that I had a hard time reading to the end. Classic Southern dysfunctional family, delusions of grandeur, people shouting at one another and no one really communicating.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Hauntingly Beautiful

    Michael Parker's hauntingly beautiful novel, The Watery Part Of The World, tells the story of one of North Carolina's barrier islands, Yaupon Island. A tiny strip of sand between the ocean and the sound, it serves as the land's first break in the water; a tough land where survival demands the same toughness from its inhabitants.

    The novel moves in time between the early 1800's to the present. The earlier time is the story of the island's first inhabitants; shipwreck survivors, pirates, fishermen and slaves. Among these is Theodosia Burr Alston, an aristocrat. Daughter of the Vice-President, Aaron Burr and wife of Joseph Alston, the governor of South Carolina, she is brought to the island where her ship is wrecked by pirates. She survives with the help of Whaley, a man who fights for her release by the outlaws and takes her as his wife. She lives out her life in this new environment, unsure that her former privileged life had ever really existed.

    Fast forward to the future. After decades when the island thrived as a tight community, it has dwindled down to three people. Theodosia and Maggie Whaley are the great-great-great-granddaughters of Theodosia and Whaley. Woodrow Thornton is the descendant of the slave that Whaley bought and freed and who lived out his life on the island. Woodrow takes care of the two white women, even at the expense of his own life. Woodrow is married and he and Sarah have a large family. Over the years, all drift off to the mainland, but Woodrow refuses to leave his responsibility to the Whaley women, even when Sarah dies.

    Parker has written a book that explores the ties that people have to specific landscapes and places; how the land can shape lives and the relationships that grow there. It is a grand mixture of love and duty, of the relationship between black and white people in the South, of the toughness and will to survive, of an old culture whose vestiges remain. This is not the 'beach' of tourists and gaudiness; it is the coast, stripped down to the mechanisms of survival and the love that allows people to survive there. This book is highly recommended to all readers who want to understand one of the cultures of North Carolina. Michael Parker is a professor in the MFA writing program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2011

    Don't bother

    When I read the overview this book was something that caught my intrest. Well, It ended there... The first chapter was so boring I couldn't get past it. The best part of the book was the overview.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Can't put it down!

    Can't put it down!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Poetically Beautiful

    A beautiful read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    Disappointing

    I was excited to find a not-romance pirate adventure, but found myself reading what was basically a character study of two generations of two different families: the first and last to live on an island near one that was once lorded over by a pirate. The pirate does make one or two appearances in the book, but it mainly focused around a young woman who was spared by the pirate, her unexpected love interest, her 3x great granddaughters and a freed slave and his descendent. All of the characters are difficult to like, especially the three women, who are greedy and self-important. It wasn't a horrible read, but it certainly wasn't true to the description. Not something I'd have read had I known what it was truly about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

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    Posted January 26, 2014

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    Posted August 7, 2013

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    Posted July 7, 2013

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    Posted August 5, 2011

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    Posted July 23, 2012

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    Posted May 30, 2011

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    Posted August 13, 2011

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