Even before hitting bookstore shelves today, the praise for Michael Parker’s new novel has been overwhelming. Aside from glowing pre-pubs for The Watery Part of the World, authors all over the country–from Ron Rash to Lily King–have chimed in calling Parker someone who tells “a beautiful story of two families moored and mired in their own desires.”
Parker dares take the risk of combining two historical facts: first, that Theodosia Burr, daughter of vice president Aaron Burr, disappeared in 1813 while en route by schooner from South Carolina to New York. This is merged along with the true story of how in 1970, two elderly white sisters and their black caretaker were the last townspeople to inhabit a small barrier island off the coast of North Carolina. Spanning many generations, Parker brings these two moments together to create a wholly original and chilling tale of love and its limits
Set on a tiny barrier island—battered by storms, infested with mosquitoes, and cut off from civilization—yet somehow bewitching all the same, Parker’s novel spins out a story of pirates and slaves, treason and treasures, madness and devotion. It’s a gorgeous novel, one you will want to reread immediately after you first finish with it.
In honor of Parker’s publication, we’re giving away three copies of the book, along with three absolutely stunning broadsides designed by the incredibly talented Sue Meyer and created by the brilliant Smoke Proof Press. To enter, just leave a comment below or on our Facebook page, telling us about your favorite beach memory.
For more about Michael Parker, visit http://www.michaelfparker.com/ and check the tour calendar for his reading dates.
Praise for The Watery Part of the World:
“The Watery Part of the World offers a glimpse of what it means to bring the two halves of our story together — the part we tell each other and the part we don’t. It might be the only way to cast off from that safe but isolated island known as our self…The dilemmas of Parker’s characters made me think often of a line from a Mary Oliver poem: ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’”—Atlanta Journal Constitution
“Few writers mix danger and melancholy as seamlessly and effectively as Michael Parker. The Watery Part of the World, his latest, is as dark and seductive as its island setting — a story and a place, in spite of the heartbreak they contain, to which you can’t help wanting to return.”—Bookslut
“This is a highly readable study of fear, compulsion, and what it means to be trapped. The writing is smoky and beautiful; the lonely island setting is the most compelling character in the story. Against this backdrop, Parker delves into the human heart and distills for his readers the truths found there.”—Library Journal
“Imaginative prose and rich characters seamlessly meld in two narratives separated only in time… There’s much more here than meets the eye.”—Booklist
“Parker’s complex world is stocked with compelling characters brought to life by elegant prose.”—Publishers Weekly
“Parker invokes magic as well as mystery in exploring the ways the past not only haunts the present but in some ways anticipates it. Like Faulkner and O’Connor, Parker creates a place of beauty and complexity which, in the end, one is reluctant to leave…A vividly imagined historical tale of isolated lives.”—Kirkus
“There’s a big-hearted fearlessness in Michael Parker’s work that, quite honestly, I envy.”—Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin
“The Watery Part of the World is stunning confirmation that, as William Faulkner said, ‘the past is not dead, it’s not even past.’ Present and past, history and imagination–all are seemlessly intertwined in this remarkable novel. Michael Parker is a novelist of immense talent.—Ron Rash, author of Serena
“I adore the way Michael Parker mixes hurricanes and history in this amazing new novel. The Watery Part of the World is ambitious yet down-to-earth, bold yet quiet. Parker’s book is filled from stem to stern with the bleak beauty of the tempest-tossed Carolina coast, but also with the internal beauty of those people who inhabit it, hard people, strong people, complicated people. This book stirs up so much about what makes the South such an ornery and necessary place: race, place, family, roots. Michael Parker knows everything about the human heart. He is an astonishing American writer.”—Randall Kenan
“The Watery Part of the World is a fascinating exploration of the unexpected, irrational bonds of people to each other, their past, and the land they were born on. Michael Parker’s large imagination has lifted up a corner of history to reveal a beautiful story of two families moored and mired in their own desires.”—Lily King, author of Father of the Rain