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Gathering of Waters by [McFadden, Bernice]
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Gathering of Waters Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 168 customer reviews

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Length: 257 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Money, Mississippi—a town made infamous by the murder of teenager Emmett Till in 1955—is the narrator of this tale of a town drenched in troubled spirits and troubled waters. McFadden portrays the lives of the Hilson family, fleeing the race riots of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the 1920s, for safety in Money. But they encounter an even greater threat in a spirit that drifts through them, destabilizing relationships between husbands and wives, mothers and children. She threads their lives through racial tumult and flooding into the 1950s, when young Tass Hilson meets a young boy visiting from Chicago and begins a budding romance just before his historic death. Traumatized by the violent death of her young love, Tass grows up, marries, and moves on to Detroit to raise a family, but she never forgets Emmett. When her husband dies, Tass gives in to the tug of memories and returns to Money, Mississippi, and the spirits that reside there. McFadden makes powerful use of imagery in this fantastical novel of ever-flowing waters and troubled spirits. --Vanessa Bush

Review


"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"

Product Details

  • File Size: 2432 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (January 31, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 31, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006MGL6NQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,808 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
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"
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Format: Paperback
I really wanted to love this book but I found it completely problematic and very troubling. Although there is nothing in the story that explicitly says that Esther is Black there is nothing that says otherwise. Esther's description as "bright skinned and big legged" can easily be interpreted as Blackness. I'm still questioning why an entire Black community would know a dead white prostitute by her voice and mannerisms, especially given the segregated time period in which Esther lived. To me it only makes sense that the reader is led to believe that Esther is a Black woman and this is where I find this story completely problematic. The evil spirit of a Black woman possesses the white male body of one of the killers of Emmett Till, are you serious? If this story was purely fiction maybe I wouldn't have had a problem with it, but because the death of Emmett Till was such a watershed event spotlighting the evils of white supremacy and racism and a galvanizing tool in the civil rights movement, that I can't help but to absolutely reject this retelling. The murder of Emmett Till to be retold in this way makes the legacy of hate and racism a type of ghost story with no real means to counter it or to even confirm its existence. And for the record racism is alive and well and we must continue to find ways to overcome it.

Finally, Esther's spirit playing a role in Hurricane Katrina was all I could take of this story. One of the greatest natural disasters of modern times whose effects still reverberate throughout the Gulf Coast and greatly felt within African American communities like New Orleans and it's all caused by Esther, the evil spirit of a woman that could possibly be Black. The historical events in this story make the stakes very high in this retelling and I don't think this story does them justice. Some may feel that this review is overly sensitive regarding race, but if race is taken out of my analysis, I still have a problem with evil being gendered as female.
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Format: Paperback
"Their story begins not with the tragedy of '55 but long before that, with the arrival of the first problem, which came draped in crinoline and silk; carrying a pink parasol in one hand and a Bible in the other." This is one of the first lines in Gathering of Waters, narrated by the town of Money, Mississippi. Yes, a town has a voice. And what a voice! I was hooked from this sentence on. I fear that some will resist reading this book because of the subject matter--the murder of Emmett Till. But if you like language. If you like imagery and atmosphere. If you enjoy a walloping good story. If you enjoy characters so human and so real you feel like you could invite them over for dinner (though definitely don't let Doll near your food!), I encourage you to read this spirited tale.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's been days since finishing this novel and I am still on pause--awestruck.
Can I say anymore, doubt it. A wonderful read, my hands still hurt from gripping my kindle.
I dare not tell of the contents, I could not possibly do it justice
I must recommend to my book club pals, maybe even read it again, more slowly next time
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gathering of Water by Bernice McFadden is one of the best books i have read. Period. Ms. McFadden takes the historical story of Emmit Till's murder and weaves a tale full of magic, mysticism and history. The story is filled with believable love stories, the power of ghostly spirits and lush renderings of southern history. The book grabbed me by the throat and would not let go, even after I was done reading it. I could literally see, Evelyn, the ghost, as she wreaked havoc in the lives of people in Money, Mississippi. The town, Money, actually narrated the story which was literary cleverness. All I can say ithy his is a book that recreates history within its pages and is recommended reading for all who love excellent storytelling.

Angelia Vernon Menchan
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By L. Seals on January 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book was absolutely amazing! The storytelling is so rich and powerful, it makes you feel like you are in Mississippi while all this is happening. I usually read a book, wait 6 months, and read again, with this one, as soon as I passed the last page and finished the story, I went straight back to the beginning and started reading it again! I didn't want it to end. Absolutely wonderful, Miss McFadden!!!
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