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This Side of Water: Stories

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In This Side of Water, Maureen Pilkington’s bright debut collection, precise and vivid language delivers flawed characters to their moments of reckoning. A married woman goes to the cemetery to resurrect her father; a young girl at a beach club witnesses her parents’ infidelity; an icy New Year’s Eve leads a devoted husband to violent clarity; a teenager spies on her mothe In This Side of Water, Maureen Pilkington’s bright debut collection, precise and vivid language delivers flawed characters to their moments of reckoning. A married woman goes to the cemetery to resurrect her father; a young girl at a beach club witnesses her parents’ infidelity; an icy New Year’s Eve leads a devoted husband to violent clarity; a teenager spies on her mother and a Catholic priest; a Russian “dancer” visits her American husband and plays a dangerous game. In these sixteen stories, the backdrop of water—the Long Island Sound, the sulfur polluted Monangahela River, a koi pond, a basin of holy water, a tear in a boy’s eye—provides a salve for these characters, ferrying them to personal ports of renewal and resolution.


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In This Side of Water, Maureen Pilkington’s bright debut collection, precise and vivid language delivers flawed characters to their moments of reckoning. A married woman goes to the cemetery to resurrect her father; a young girl at a beach club witnesses her parents’ infidelity; an icy New Year’s Eve leads a devoted husband to violent clarity; a teenager spies on her mothe In This Side of Water, Maureen Pilkington’s bright debut collection, precise and vivid language delivers flawed characters to their moments of reckoning. A married woman goes to the cemetery to resurrect her father; a young girl at a beach club witnesses her parents’ infidelity; an icy New Year’s Eve leads a devoted husband to violent clarity; a teenager spies on her mother and a Catholic priest; a Russian “dancer” visits her American husband and plays a dangerous game. In these sixteen stories, the backdrop of water—the Long Island Sound, the sulfur polluted Monangahela River, a koi pond, a basin of holy water, a tear in a boy’s eye—provides a salve for these characters, ferrying them to personal ports of renewal and resolution.

38 review for This Side of Water: Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carol LaHines

    These stories are lyrical, atmospheric, meticulously-crafted. They have as themes sex, death, loss of innocence, our essential inability to know what lurks in the heart of another. With wit and delight, Pilkington brings to life people in fraught situations: a woman who must tell the paralyzed man she is friends with that she is engaged; a young couple alone in an apartment and seeing each other anew after the birth of their daughter; a teenage girl on the last day of summer who is convinced tha These stories are lyrical, atmospheric, meticulously-crafted. They have as themes sex, death, loss of innocence, our essential inability to know what lurks in the heart of another. With wit and delight, Pilkington brings to life people in fraught situations: a woman who must tell the paralyzed man she is friends with that she is engaged; a young couple alone in an apartment and seeing each other anew after the birth of their daughter; a teenage girl on the last day of summer who is convinced that her mother is having an affair. Pilkington shows us how relations – lovers, mothers and daughters, friends -- are characterized by unequal intimacies, bargains, ambivalences. One of the best collections I’ve read in years. Highly recommend!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alice Kaltman

    This book is a short fiction gem. Pilkington has a shrewd and unique perspective, one that is both loving and acerbic. Her sentences zing, the stories are page turners. Her insight into the foibles and frailties of all sorts of folks; rent-a-brides, drunken couples, priests, dead fathers, and spying children is spot on, often funny, always moving. If you want a great collection of unusual stories, I highly recommend "This Side of Water" be on your TBR.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Griffin

    This Side of Water by Maureen Pilkington is a wonderful collection, one in which every story delivers. Fluid and dreamy, with characters finely drawn, it’s a book to savor. Highly recommend!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Ms Pilkington can certainly paint vivid portraits with flawless style! Such an enjoyable read. thanks for the opportunity goodreads.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lilly71490

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  7. 4 out of 5

    Donald Hsu

  8. 4 out of 5

    Linda Weber

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katy Mae

  10. 4 out of 5

    ***Book Lady ***

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Heare Watts

  13. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Fusilier

  15. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Gerhart

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ryanna

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    Priscilla Gonzalez

  18. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lori Bennett

  20. 5 out of 5

    Margo

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    Sarah Davis

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kim Ellis

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    Asa G

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shannon O

  25. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Downing

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Wallace

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shonnte

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

  31. 4 out of 5

    Cary

  32. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Dougherty Evans

  33. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

  34. 5 out of 5

    Charissa Rate

  35. 5 out of 5

    David

  36. 5 out of 5

    Pam

  37. 4 out of 5

    lou brown

  38. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hines

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