Gathering of Waters

Gathering of Waters

by Bernice L. McFadden
4.6 40

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Overview

Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden

Selected as a Go On Girl! Book Pick

“100 Notable Books of 2012” —New York Times
“50 Best Books of 2012” —Washington Post

"McFadden works a kind of miracle — not only do [her characters] retain their appealing humanity; their story eclipses the bonds of history to offer continuous surprises . . . Beautiful and evocative, Gathering of Waters brings three generations to life . . . The real power of the narrative lies in the richness and complexity of the characters. While they inhabit these pages they live, and they do so gloriously and messily and magically, so that we are at last sorry to see them go, and we sit with those small moments we had with them and worry over them, enchanted, until they become something like our own memories, dimmed by time, but alive with the ghosts of the past, and burning with spirits."
New York Times Book Review

"Read it aloud. Hire a chorus to chant it to you and anyone else interested in hearing about civil rights and uncivil desires, about the dark heat of hate, about the force of forgiveness."
Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, NPR

"McFadden combines events of Biblical proportions—from flooding to resurrection—with history to create a cautionary, redemptive tale that spans the early twentieth century to the start of Hurricane Katrina. She compellingly invites readers to consider the distinctions between 'truth or fantasy' . . . In McFadden's boldly spun yarn, consequences extend across time and place. This is an arresting historical portrait of Southern life with reimagined outcomes, suggesting that hope in the enduring power of memory can offer healing where justice does not suffice."
Publishers Weekly

"The rich text is shaped by the African American storytelling tradition and layered with significant American histories. Recalling the woven spirituality of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, this work will appeal to readers of mystic literature."
Library Journal

"McFadden makes powerful use of imagery in this fantastical novel of ever-flowing waters and troubled spirits."
Booklist

"In this fierce reimagining, the actual town of Money, MS narrates the story about the ghost of Emmett Till and his from-the-other-side reunification with the girl he loved as a child in Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden."
Ebony Magazine

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617750311
Publisher: Akashic Books
Publication date: 01/31/2012
Pages: 250
Sales rank: 501,599
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Bernice L. McFadden is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels including the classic Sugar and Glorious, which was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, selected as the debut title for the One Book, One Harlem program, and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award. She is a two-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist, as well as the recipient of two fiction honor awards from the BCALA. Her sophomore novel, The Warmest December, was praised by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison as "searing and expertly imagined." McFadden lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

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Gathering of Waters 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
EmJay72 More than 1 year ago
Rich, detailed and historic, Bernice McFadden brings forth another wonderful story filled with all the elements of life – sorrow and joy, good times and bad and the realities that often mark our life. It is the unsettled soul of the dead prostitute Esther that stirs up so much difficulty amongst the living. But often in life, it is such darkness that allows a much needed light to come through. A daring endeavor, the arrival of Emmet Till into the novel had me bracing my heart. Despite knowing how it ended, I found myself wishing for a different ending. But Ms. McFadden handled the incident with truth and care and though my heart surged and ached as I read it, I still felt a soft hope. There is a saying that those who do not remember the past are bound to repeat it and such moments of our history as Americans needs to be remembered, forever. I applaud Ms. McFadden for another skillful glance back into our past and am looking forward to many more such thought evoking, heart rendering stories. “Gathering of Waters” is a true gem and a must read… Margaret Johnson-Hodge author of "In Search of Tennessee Sunshine"
ILOVETOREADEK More than 1 year ago
THIS NOVEL WAS A CHANGE OF CHARACTER FOR BERNICE MCFADDEN BUT I TOTALLY ENJOYED IT. I DID NOT WANT THE STORY TO END AND YES IT WAS A REAL STORY THAT CAPTIVATED YOU. LOVED IT.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Mississippi—Many gathering Waters—is the location for Bernice McFadden’s latest novel, Gathering of Waters. It’s also one of the characters in the tale, with the small town of Money Mississippi carrying as convincing a voice as the mysterious narrator of Marcus Zuzak’s The Book Thief. Detached writing brings an absorbing, almost overwhelming depth to this tale, making it one of those rare books I’ve been unable to put down while reading. Whether or not you accept the existence and transference of souls, Bernice McFadden’s convincing writing suspends all disbelief and flings the reader into Mississippi’s recent history, riding over the divide of black and white, spinning through fields where thwarted love demands its recompense, surviving childbirth and flood till the arrival of Chicago’s visitor. Though I knew from the cover that Emmett Till was a part of this Mississippi tale, his arrival was so naturally told I forgot his history, welcomed his presence and his voice, and was newly and totally shocked by his sudden demise. Author Bernice McFadden brings the impossibly horrific to life with the same sympathy, skill, and humanity as Marcus Zuzak did in The Book Thief, leaving the reader to face man’s inhumanity without prejudgment, and creating a glorious space in ignominy for hope. Life goes on, as does the story, till a word-perfect, picture-perfect, spiritually perfect conclusion truly draws it to a close, leaving this reader breathless and enriched. I’ve read other novels by Bernice McFadden, but this one blows me away and I can’t wait to ask my book group to add it to next year’s list. Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Akashic books in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never read any of Bernice McFadden's books, but after reading her latest, "Gathering of Waters" I am a fan. It is so beautifully written that it was like sitting back and listening to a great storyteller. At times blunt and disturbing, at others almost magical. A great book.
sistagurlsread More than 1 year ago
Detailed, wonderfully woven story with a very important piece of history woven into it! AMAZING
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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DarleneGinn-Hargrove More than 1 year ago
EXCELLENT JOB!!!!! MY HAT GOES OFF TO MS MCFADDEN, SHE KNOW SHE DID THE THANG WITH THIS NOVEL. MS MCFADDEN HAS A WAY OF MAKING THE STORY JUMP OFF THE PAGES AND COME TO LIFE. I FELT LIKE I TOO WAS THERE IN MONEY, MISSISSIPPI. ALL THE CHARACTERS ESTHER, DOLL, HEMINGWAY, TASS, AND EMMETT STORY WAS POWERFUL. I COULD FEEL THE HATE THAT WAS BEING DEPICTED DURING THAT TIME. I MYSELF BEING AN AFRICAN AMERICAN KNEW THE STORY OF EMMETT TILL. BUT TO SEE HOW MS MCFADDEN TOLD THE STORY WAS JUST MIND BLOWING. THE SPIRIT OF ESTHER WAS SOMETHING ELSE. I DON'T WANT TO GIVE AWAY ANY OF THE STORY. BUT I WILL TELL YOU, THAT THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ FOR EVERYONE. EVERY RACE AND GENDER COULD BENEFIT READING THIS BOOK. ENJOY.........
carmelitasita29 More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderfully wrought story which delved into the world of a family line in the prescient town of Money, Mississippi. There is something magical that moves through the entire length of the narrative, and I appreciated the mix of the fantastical and worldly. I read this book quite quickly - its size is deceptive and the story moves along at a quick pace. In fact, that was the main thing I disliked - I wished more time and attention had been taken with the characters. It seemed that just as we got to know them a little bit, they were gone. People's motives were spelled out because they were in and out of the story so quickly and if we had lingered on them longer, their actions would have seemed somehow more natural.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why did it have to end? Once again, B Mac delivers BIG! Money, Mississippi's alluring voice resonates throughout this book even as it spews a recollection of one of the ugliest events in U.S. history. This story takes you on a narrative ride along a path only B Mac can navigate. Although I am very much familiar of the Emmett Till tragedy, my heart raced as I followed her lead in re-imagining the thoughts and intentions of all involved. I would have loved to learn more about the summer romance between Emmett and Tass, but the pre-story was the gripper. You will NOT be disappointed as you delve into the history of Doll, Hemingway and most importantly the unseen but ever present ESTHER! Incredible character development (one of my favorite aspects of fiction reading). Thanks B Mac for another hit!
mzrowell More than 1 year ago
Bernice L. McFadden is a literary genius! I love reading her books, they always take me back into a time of yesteryear, with great detail and since of "being"!!! Gathering of Waters is my new favorite from her and Im pleased to say that I read this book in 2 1/2 days! A great read, I could not put this book down!!! ;0)
msiris320 More than 1 year ago
Ms. McFadden is one of the best Contemporary African American Female authors out. "Gathering of Waters" was engaging and fresh. McFadden took one of the most brutal acts of racism in American history and intertwined humor, pathos, and understanding of the inhabitants of Money, MS. A very good novel to escape.
OOSABookClub More than 1 year ago
Spirits Among the Living Welcome to Money, Mississippi, a town of secrets and spirits. When people die, are their souls truly at rest? In her latest novel, McFadden weaves a tale of fantasy and history as she uses her own imagination to create a background story for the Emmitt Till tragedy. “Gathering of Waters” begins with an introduction to Esther, the restless soul of a dead prostitute who will influence many lives in decades to follow. Esther inhabits the body of Doll, a preacher's wife who is anything but holy. Following Doll's life, we are introduced to her daughter, Hemmingway, who fortunately escapes the grasp of the soul of Esther. However, Hemmingway does give birth to a daughter she names Tass. It is through Tass that we finally meet Bobo (Emmitt Till) and are introduced to their brief love affair. Unfortunately, we all know how the story ends. Yet, McFadden manages to turn this tragedy into a romance that reaches beyond the grave. McFadden is a masterful storyteller. Her characters leap off the pages with her rich dialogue. I truly enjoyed reading the "prequel" to the Emmitt Till story. Even though this is from her imagination, McFadden writes in such a way that the reader can easily accept it as truth. McFadden has once again given readers a story of sorrow and joy, life and death and hope for tomorrow. I loved this novel and highly recommend it. Reviewed by: Flashette
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ritaink13 More than 1 year ago
Wow! I finished this last night and it was wonderful. I had another book to start. I couldn't do it. I needed to be with this book in my head for awhile after I finished it. I am adding Bernice L. McFadden to my list of favorite writers.
PamT2u More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book. McFadden wrote in a style reminiscent of J. California Cooper who remains one of my all time favorite authors. The story is captivating but I think there is a failure to connect to the time frame the story is written in. This was a quick read with interesting characters, some of whom I'd like to have seen be better developed. In all, a good read.
KathyS More than 1 year ago
I have to begin by saying, this writer, Bernice L. McFadden, was new to me, and Gathering of Waters was my first experience reading her work. I am blown away by her prose! I am blown away by this story! Her words simply blew me into a world of beauty, heartbreak, hate, but most of all love. From the first page, I was hooked, and the cliché is always, “I couldn’t put the book down”. Well, I couldn’t! We talk about words, and how they are just black letters on white pages, but while reading this writer, McFadden, she does something extraordinary with those letters....they are feathers and clouds strung together with magical string, one following the other, and softly flow around you and caress you, until you feel part of these people, and the town of Muddy, Mississippi. Muddy narrates this story, yes, the town itself tells of the people who come and go, which live and die, and survive. I laughed at times; I cried at times, I was haunted and humbled by these people who told me their stories. Gathering of Waters is poignant; it comes alive by this author’s hand, and should (I hope) live in the hearts of all America.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put the book down! Must read!
KristiVitale More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the journey of this raw, graphic, and emotional novel. To me it was simple in the most marvelous way. Read it when you have one or two days to just absorb the quickly changing and intriguing storyline. The destination is just beautiful, and all is right for these strong, real, deserved souls that I cared for. I will read it again one day. My book club Skyped with author Bernice McFadden after reading Gathering of Waters, and she's even more beautiful than her book. It was so awesome to meet the intelligence behind the story that I will never forget. Come with us....
DJLOVE More than 1 year ago
WONDERFUL READ..SPEECHLESS.....WOW
MsKaos More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I can't fully articulate my love for this book in a review without giving away too much of the story, so I'll just say, READ IT. From the very first page, the words grabbed me and didnt let go until the very last page. The way the author weaves together the supernatural and the real is like none other that I have read in an very long time.
AnastaciaP More than 1 year ago
I am such a fan of Bernice L. McFadden. I love her work. The first book I read from her was Loving Donovan, which was years ago. After reading Loving Donovan, I ran out and bought all of her books. Her method of writing is so awesome that I literally read her books within one to two days. They are such page turners. Those years ago, after reading Loving Donovan, and I got caught up on all of her books out at the time, I would wait patiently for her next publication. And I, like so many of her fans, would devour her book and ask for more. Gathering Waters is no different. It is so well written, and so imaginative and so different from a lot of the redundant books that are currently on book shelves. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a story that takes you on a journey, that allows you to see images from descriptive words, and a tale that makes you question "what if." It is beyond a regular story. It is a magnificent read. After reading this, read her other books: Sugar, Loving Donovan, The Warmest December, This Bitter Earth, Camilla's Rose, Nowhere Is A Place and Glorious. You will not be disappointed!
Laukie More than 1 year ago
This book is written by a noted author, who has received numerous awards and been nominated by NAACP for Author of the Year, and is still only in mid-40's. Her slant on the murder of Emmett Till is outstanding, gives you chills up/down your spine, and keeps you engrossed until the very end. Some African lore is included, as part of the setting of the story, but it's worth your time to read, no matter your race or color. I highly advise you to take the time, pick a quiet spot, and indulge yourself in the story. You will want to read her earlier books, if you have not already done so!