The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker

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Synopsis

Michael Parker’s vast and involving novel about pirates and slaves, treason and treasures, madness and devotion, takes place on a tiny island battered by storms and cut off from the world. Inspired by two little-known moments in history, it begins in 1813, when Theodosia Burr, en route to New York by ship to meet her father, Aaron Burr, disappears off the coast of North Carolina. It ends a hundred and fifty years later, when the last three inhabitants of a remote island—two elderly white women and the black man who takes care of them—are forced to leave their beloved spot of land. Parker tells an enduring story about what we’ll sacrifice for love, and what we won’t.
 

About Michael Parker

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MICHAEL PARKER is the author of five novels and two books of short stories. Winner of the Hobson Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters and the North Carolina Award for Literature, he is a professor in the MFA writing program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. For more information, visitwww.michaelfparker.com.
 
Published June 5, 2012 by Algonquin Books. 289 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Watery Part of the World

Kirkus Reviews

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The outer banks of North Carolina is the setting for two darkly linked tales spanning 150 years, both inspired by real-life events: the disappearance of disgraced former vice president Aaron Burr's daughter after her ship is battered by a storm off the Carolina coast—and possibly taken over by pi...

Jan 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Watery Part of the World

The New York Times

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The lost infant Virginia Dare is perhaps emblematic of the novel’s failings: she appears briefly as the subject of Maggie and Whaley’s childhood game, “a version of hide-and-go-seek based in historical fact, island lore, myth and the endless fascination they had for stories featuring female adven...

May 20 2011 | Read Full Review of The Watery Part of the World

Publishers Weekly

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Parker's affecting fifth novel mines two historical anecdotes from 1813 and 1970 to draw parallel narratives around island dwellers off the North Carolina coast.

Jan 10 2011 | Read Full Review of The Watery Part of the World

Historical Novel Society

Maggie, Whaley, and Woodrow’s relationships are absorbing, but they’re extremely unpleasant to behold – failures, cruelty, and terrible loneliness make up their lives, lives seldom relieved by sympathy from those sharing their island isolation.

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ForeWord Reviews

In 1970, Yaupon Island is down to three inhabitants: Maggie, Whaley, and Woodrow, who make up half of Michael Parker’s novel, The Watery Part of the World.

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The Beaufort Gazette

We spend most of the time inside the heads of Theodosia, in the past, and of Maggie and Whaley in the present, with an occasional insight into what Woodrow is thinking.

Nov 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Watery Part of the World

Reader Rating for The Watery Part of the World
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