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Paperback Water Street Book

ISBN: 1592640559

ISBN13: 9781592640553

Water Street

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Book Overview

On Water Street, every person has at least two stories to tell. One story that the light of day shines on and the other that lives only in the pitch black of night, the kind of story that a person carries beneath their breastbones for safekeeping. Water Street examines the secret lives of neighbors and friends who live on Water Street in small town in Kentucky. Love and truth and tragedy are revealed under Wilkinson's sure hand. This is a superb,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

You can't help but identify with Water Street

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...

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

Water Street Feels Like Home

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-QawiyyThe RAWSISTAZ Reviewers

Water Street brings back memories!!

Oops! Crystal's done it again! Weaving in and out of the lives of everyday people,letting their pain, happiness and fears be heard! Ms. Wilkinson opens the front door and walks you right up to the kitchen table and flows thru the stories like setting you down to a good old southern feast. She tales a story in the same class as Gayle Jones and Toni Cade Bambara! Her characters make you laugh and cry all within the quick turn on a page. This book is a must have for every reader who likes a 'down-home' good tale. Water Street is a true testament to the constant evolution of her natural craft. Her hard work has paid off. This shows that she is comming full-circle as a woman and a writer!! I am proud to add this to my collection of great African American fiction.

Gentle, with hidden punch

This is the assured second short story collection by the terrific Kentucky writer Crystal Wilkinson. This author has met the challenge of voice - the people of Water Street sound just like themselves. Their speech and their inner dialogue ease into the reader's head and heart, and stick there. Reasons to read this book: 1. The dialogue. As a white person, I felt privileged to read the generous language of black culture, which this African American author uses with verve. Ms. Wilkinson lets me and readers like me in on the secrets of another culture and language, and it's exciting. 2. The drama between outer and inner lives. The author's skilled hand paints the particular customs and habits of the interwoven outer lives of the people of Water Street at the same time she reveals to readers the particular secrets, griefs, traumas, and hopes of these compelling characters. The result is fresh, a combination of solid description of what anyone could see by looking and juicy surprises that lie beneath the mostly benificent surfaces of both people and place.3. The complex, believable men. The author paints women with accuracy and insight - but we expect this of an accomplished woman writer. The bonus here is the men. The men in this book are like most men you and I know. They aren't voracious womanizers; they aren't child abandoners; they are humans. They think about their lives, they want to do well, they make mistakes, they work, grieve, and try to fix problems. Ms. Wilkinson's male characters live multi-dimensional lives, and she takes us straight into their ways of seeing their actions, mistakes, and hopes. This is healthy and so unlike the stereotyped, lightly sketched male types that fill much contemporary literature (and the news) that it is reason enough to read this book. 4. The authenticity of the few individual relationships between white and black characters. This book presents an honest picture of the "outliers" in both races who try, at times, to vault over race-based barriers to be humans together. We should put this book in a time capsule from 2002; it shows us as we are right now, after outright racial segregation has been illegal for decades, but before black and white Americans have made the changes we must make to live equitably and easily together, with mutual respect and appreciation.5. The universality of the characters' lives, problems, and experiences. Like all good tales, these particular stories of mostly African American people on Water Street in a small Kentucky town tell us much about our own humanity, no matter how different we think we are from the characters. The stories reassure us, challenge us, and, thanks to the author's great gift for gentle revelation, teach us who we are and who we can become.
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