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The Watery Part of the World Summary and Reviews

The Watery Part of the World

A Novel

by Michael Parker

The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker X
The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2011
    272 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Michael Parker has created a wholly original world from two known facts: (1) Theodosia Burr Alston, daughter of the controversial vice president Aaron Burr, disappeared in 1813 while en route by schooner from South Carolina to New York; and (2) in 1970, two elderly white women and one black man were the last townspeople to leave a small barrier island off the coast of North Carolina.

In this fiction based on historical fact, Parker weaves a tale of adventure and longing as he charts one hundred and fifty years in the life and death of an island and its inhabitants - the descendants of Theodosia Burr Alston and those of the freed man whose family would be forever tethered to hers.

It's a tale of pirates and slaves, treason and treasures, madness and devotion, that takes place on a tiny island battered by storms, infested with mosquitoes, and cut off from the world - as difficult to get to as it is impossible to leave for those who call it home. From Theodosia's capture at sea to the passionate lives of her great-great-great-granddaughters to the tender story of the black man who cares for them all his days, this is an inspired novel about love, trust, and the often tortuous bonds of family and community.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[Parker's] complex world is stocked with compelling characters brought to life by elegant prose." - Publishers Weekly

"A vividly imagined historical tale of isolated lives." - Kirkus Reviews

"While not a rollicking adventure or page-turning mystery, this is a highly readable study of fear, compulsion, and what it means to be trapped.... Recommended for fans of Southern gothic, nautical, and historical fiction." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Michael Parker

Michael Parker is the author of four previous novels and two books of short stories. Winner of the Hobson Prize for distinguished achievement in arts and letters, the North Carolina award for literature, and an NEA fellowship, he has been published in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, and others. He is a professor in the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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