Item description for Water Street by Crystal Wilkinson...
Water Street examines the secret lives of neighbors and friends who live on Water Street in a small town in Kentucky. Love and truth and tragedy are revealed under Wilkinson's sure hand. This is a superb, cohesive work which marks Ms. Wilkinson's evolution as a gifted observer and writer.
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Crystal Wilkinson is the author of Blackberries, Blackberries, winner of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature, and Water Street, a finalist for both the UK's Orange Prize for Fiction and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. The winner of the 2008 Denny Plattner Award in Poetry from Appalachian Heritage magazine and the Sallie Bingham Award from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, she serves as Appalachian Writer-in-Residence at Berea College and teaches in the Spalding low residency MFA in Creative Writing Program.
Crystal Wilkinson has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Water Street?
Racism and Sex Feb 21, 2008
This would have been a very short book if all of the racism and sexuality were to be removed. I read it for an Appalachian Literature class, and I felt this book was so racey that I couldn't enjoy reading it. The vulgarity in it is also not necessary, and I feel that it should not be called literature because of this.
Crystal Serves Up A Delicious Buffet Jul 18, 2007
These stories fill the senses like mouthfuls of home-cooked food, each just the right amount of swallow. Her characters are well-drawn and appear in the eye long after the last word is read, and the interweaving of the caharcters' lives send you back to other stories for a second read, a better understanding, that you didn't get the first time. Crystal has the ability to write a scene worthy of a camera, and she "nestles" us in her words, her Water Street.
You can't help but identify with Water Street May 6, 2006
Water Street, Wilkinson's follow-up to Blackberries, Blackberries, once again sets the reader right in the middle of Kentucky culture. Focusing her short stories on fictional inhabitants of Water Street creates a novel-like feel in the character studies exploring the interconnectedness of the characters of Water Street. Wilkinson's stories examine human experience without being preachy. Wilkinson again demonstrates the challenges and joys of the human experience through her exquisite use of vernacular, description, setting and character.
Water Street Could Be Any Street... May 2, 2003
Crystal Wilkinson's Water Street is an engaging novel that transports the reader to a middle-class neighborhood in small town Stanford, Kentucky, USA. The residents are hardworking, law-abiding citizens who go to work, church, pay their taxes, and raise their families to the best of their abilities. In the opening passages of the book, the author mentions that every person has two stories to tell: one story by day and the other by night which is kept near the heart for safekeeping. Wilkinson allows the reader to experience both stories through the carefully crafted monologues and short narratives.
The novel opens with the manic-depressant Yolanda in the midst of a meeting with her psychiatrist. In her session, the reader is casually introduced to a few Water Street residents: her best friend, Mona whom she idolizes; her brother, KiKi, her husband, Junior; and a host of other characters who influenced her in childhood and adulthood. The beauty of the novel is the reader will learn more about Mona, Kiki, Junior, Sandy, Maxine, et al in subsequent chapters via a series of soliquies or third person accounts. Through the selected medium, the reader observes how they tackle a host of issues such as interracial relationships, marital problems, quests for love, divorce, absentee parents, etc.
Because it is a small town and all the residents live on Water Street, the stories are interconnected and the same characters are often mentioned in one or more stories. So for example, we hear about Mona, the best friend from Yolanda; Mona, my little sister's best friend that I slept with from Kiki; Mona in her own eyes, etc. We get up close and personal viewpoints from mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, neighbors and friends. One particular noteworthy item is that the author's skill in writing from the male perspective is equally compelling as from the female's. In "The Girl of My Dreams: Kiki", we find Kevin/Kiki calling off the wedding after the rehearsal dinner, but not for the reasons one may think because of the title of the story. We also experience other male viewpoints in the coming of age stories "Water Street, 1979: Junior", "Between Men", and a principled man in search of love in "An Ordinary Man: Reverend Townsend."
The dialogue is mature, the writing is great, and the stories are painfully honest. These are not eccentric or malevolent characters, in fact, they are so down-to-earth that they seem real, almost like ordinary folk instead of fictional protagonists. Just as with non-fictional beings, the harsh realities of life strikes Water Street as with any other street and the imperfections, vulnerabilities,pain, and joy of the characters are expertly revealed. Water Street's messages are universal and timeless: the same people with the same issues can be found in the inner cities as well as the rural landscapes in any decade. This is a great second novel by Crystal Wilkinson; I must add her debut novel, Blackberries, Blackberries to my list of books to check out this year.
Phyllis APOOO BookClub
Water Street Feels Like Home Mar 1, 2003
Water Street is a collection of short stories that revolve around small town life. The inhabitants of Water Street each have a tale and they share their experiences with us throughout this book. The characters are so lifelike and their experiences so real, you feel at home and as though you know each of them individually. Dealing with topics such as love and loss, the stories are full of emotions. They had me laughing one minute, crying the next. This book is a testament to small communities and the people that live within them. Crystal Wilkinson has done a superb job with this novel. I cannot wait to read more from this author.
Reviewed by Latoya Carter-Qawiyy The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers