The Watery Part of the World


Product Details

$13.95  $12.83
Algonquin Books
Publish Date
5.5 X 1.0 X 8.1 inches | 0.6 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Michael Parker is the author of six novels and two collections of stories. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various journals including Five Points, the Georgia Review, the Washington Post, the New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, Trail Runner, Runner's World and Men's Journal. He has received fellowships in fiction from the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Hobson Award for Arts and Letters, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. His work has been anthologized in the Pushcart, New Stories from the South and O. Henry Prize Stories anthologies. He is the Vacc Distinguished Professor in the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and since 2009 has been on the faculty of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. He lives in Saxapahaw, North Carolina and Austin, Texas. Visit him at


"A remarkable story . . . The entire novel has a blue-green, underwater feel, a timeless forgetfulness."
--Los Angeles Times
"A remarkable story... The entire novel has a blue-green, underwater feel, a timeless forgetfulness."--Los Angeles Times

"I found The Watery Part of the World all but impossible to put down . . . This elegantly written tale reflects on the nature of race, love, regret, dependence, fear, sorrow, honor and envy--the eternal challenges of being human. The characters, even the minor ones, are fully formed, the setting is so vividly described that you feel you know it intimately, and Parker's writing is purely wonderful." --Nancy Pearl,

"A lush feat of historical speculation . . . Disparate parts--pirates and aristocrats in one century; elderly ladies and their handyman in another . . . But Parker has managed to stir them together in a vivid tale about the tenacity of habit and the odd relationships that form in very small, difficult places."
--The Washington Post

i"Parker invokes magic as well as mystery in exploring the ways the past not only haunts the present but in some ways anticipates it. Like Faulkner and O'Connor, Parker creates a place of beauty and complexity which, in the end, one is reluctant to leave...A vividly imagined historical tale of isolated lives." --Kirkus Reviews
--Washington Post
"This is a highly readable study of fear, compulsion, and what it means to be trapped. The writing is smoky and beautiful; the lonely island setting is the most compelling character in the story. Against this backdrop, Parker delves into the human heart and distills for his readers the truths found there."--Library Journal

--Publishers Weekly
"In a lush feat of historical speculation, Michael Parker imagines that Theo survived a pirate attack off the coast of North Carolina and lived out a long, conflicted life on one of the barrier islands. The Watery Part of the World -- that evocative title comes from -Moby-Dick -- is an emotionally acute tale about a brilliant woman of privilege who must suddenly use her wits to avoid dismemberment, rape and starvation... ... [Parker] lays out a bewitching triangle of dependent relationships in this inclement Gothic tale." --Washington Post
--Los Angeles Times
"Parker's complex world is stocked with compelling characters brought to life by elegant prose." --Publishers Weekly

--People Magazine
"Parker slices open each isolated life with humor and gentleness, and the familiar battles with loss and loneliness he chronicles make even this remotest of locations feel close to home."
--People, 4-star review