Beth's Reviews > Gathering of Waters

Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden
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's review
Apr 09, 2012

liked it
Read from April 06 to 09, 2012 — I own a copy

Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Gathering of Waters begins with provocative insights into the human spirit: “…your body does not have a soul; your soul has a body, and souls never, ever die”; and, the Native and African American’s concept of animism: “… the idea that souls inhabit all objects, living things, and even phenomena “, they fly from one home to the next, as each is destroyed or dies. Then, the author shares the definition of the Mississippi River: the translation comes from the Chippewa meaning "great river" or "gathering in of all the waters". From there McFadden creates the evil spirit of Esther, connecting “her” to the horrific murder of Emmett Till, and finally, Hurricane Katrina.

McFadden begins with a strong narrative, combining her spiritual premise within her character development. However, with the introduction of each new character and time period, her story-line begins to feel choppy and episodic. The reader waits for that moment when all elements will be pulled together, but it never happens. The novel ends abruptly with a brief synopsis devoted to Emmett Till and a few lines to Hurricane Katrina. That promised moment, when all comes together does not occur. The reader is left unfulfilled.

There is little doubt Bernice McFadden is a well-tuned writer. She writes with sympathy and emotion and defines her characters adroitly. She researches her work and builds an interesting plot. This novel has great potential (a novel in progress?); it simply does not feel complete.
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