Reviews for Gathering of Waters


Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
Giving tragedy an unexpectedly magical dimension, McFadden revisits the 1955 death of Emmett Till, just as Tass Hilson, who loved him, revisits the site of Till's death decades later to calm the troubled waters of her soul. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Reviews 2011 December #1

NAACP Image Award and Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist McFadden (Glorious) here reimagines the summer Emmett Till spent in Mississippi in 1955 and the events leading up to his murder. The story chronicles the young love between Emmett and Tass Hilton, which finally transcends death. Having left Mississippi for Detroit after Emmett dies, Tass returns 40 years later as a widow to reawaken his spirit, trapped in the dank waters of the Tallahatchie River. This story is deeply affecting, but the novel's greatest triumph is the salacious tale of Tass's grandmother Doll Hilton, as the spirit of this scorned woman refuses to rest, often returning angry and more vindictive than in her previous life: "They beat the goodness and the sweetness out of her. They beat her into the streets, into back alleys, down into the dirt, into the gutter, onto her knees." The rich text is shaped by the African American storytelling tradition and layered with significant American histories. VERDICT Recalling the woven spirituality of Toni Morrison's Beloved, this work will appeal to readers of African American and mystic literature.--Ashanti White, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro

[Page 116]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 January #3

Narrated by the town of Money, Mississippi, a place divided by race, McFadden's eighth novel (after Glorious) traces the influence of murdered prostitute Esther, whose soul inhabits some of the characters. Her seductions and destructive schemes indirectly lead to the birth of Tass, the fictional woman who would love Emmett "Bobo" Till, the teenager whose real-life 1955 murder helped fuel the Civil Rights movement. 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." Like other novels that allow victims of crime to wander between the afterlife and the waking world in search of resolution, McFadden's leaves some plot elements open-ended, contributing to a sense of mysterious forces at work. Evil exists as its own rationale, as do Esther's motivations. 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. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Narrated by the town of Money, Mississippi, a place divided by race, McFadden's eighth novel (after Glorious) traces the influence of murdered prostitute Esther, whose soul inhabits some of the characters. Her seductions and destructive schemes indirectly lead to the birth of Tass, the fictional woman who would love Emmett "Bobo" Till, the teenager whose real-life 1955 murder helped fuel the Civil Rights movement. 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." Like other novels that allow victims of crime to wander between the afterlife and the waking world in search of resolution, McFadden's leaves some plot elements open-ended, contributing to a sense of mysterious forces at work. Evil exists as its own rationale, as do Esther's motivations. 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. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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