The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker

I checked this out from the library a few weeks before I started my internship at Algonquin (which sadly ended a few days ago) and I finally read it while I was vacationing in the Outer Banks back in May for a bit of theme reading. The Watery Part of the World is an absolutely beautiful novel about the life of Theodosia Burr Alston, the daughter of Vice President Aaron Burr, who went missing after a ship wreck in 1813. This novel posits that she was marooned on Yaopaun Island of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, married a man and had children there. She hires a freed slave to help them on the island. The story is told in alternating perspectives between Theodosia in 1813 and her descendants, Mary and Whaley, and Woodrow, an ageing black man who cares for the sisters, despite his family’s desire to see him move to the mainland.

There are so many reasons to love this novel. From the lush descriptions of the Outer Banks, which I relished in since I was laying on an Outer Banks beach while I was reading this, to the way Parker perfectly constructs his story, I never wanted The Watery Part of the World to end. My favorite story line was, without a doubt, Whaley. She’s such an interesting character. We get to contrast her relatively wild youth and middle age with the decrepit and isolated older woman that she is, knowing that somewhere along the way there will be something that traps her on Yaopaun Island with her sister.

It’s been a while since I read this one, so I feel like this review isn’t truly doing this novel justice, but just know that I loved it and I hope you will read it.

So go read this!: now | tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve read everything else


6 thoughts on “The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker

  1. Well, I’ve no idea if you did the book justice or not since I haven’t read it, but I can tell you definitely left me wanting to go find it immediately!

  2. Thanks for writing such a descriptive and informative review! This sounds like it’s right up my alley! Could you recommend any other North Carolina-set books? I’m on that kick lately but have only read Sarah Addison Allen.

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