Saturday, February 4, 2012

Musings On: Gathering of Waters by Bernice McFadden

There are books that I love and there are books that I treasure. When I finished the last page of Gathering of Waters, I knew that this book would be that latter. It is one of those books that after I'm done reading, I go back and read certain passages again and again, and then later go back and reread the whole book before mailing it to my sister and ordering another one for myself. The only trouble with a book like this one is finding a way to put my love of it into words.

Gathering of Waters is the story of many people and at the same time the story of one. It is told by the narrative voice of Money, Mississippi, a place that has known great tragedy through its years and one crime so heinous that it's hard to stomach nearly 60 years later. Money tells the story of the people who've inhabited it and the spirit of one soul, so wretched, that no good could ever come from it. It is a tangling of fact and fiction, harsh reality and the fantastical, and the moment in time where they converge.

The crime that was committed in Money, Mississippi in the summer of 1955 not only took the innocent life of Emmit Till, it also stole the innocence of those who knew him. Gathering of Waters is a back-story to his story, a backdrop for the events that led up to it, and a peek into the lives of the people who came to play a role in it all. It tells of a time where a nation was stripped bare and exposed was the evil that it was built on. It is the story of love that endures all, even death.

Every now and then a book comes along and leaves me spellbound. Gathering of Waters is one of those books. There are many adjectives I could apply to describe this book; beautiful, heart wrenching, stunning, painful, sad, uplifting. Each of them apt but still somehow fall short of conveying the impact of this book. To know what a treasure Gathering of Waters is you have to read it, savor it, then pass it along to someone else to keep the spirit of Money, Mississippi alive.

Visit Bernice L McFadden and find out more about Gathering of Waters here.