2019 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence
As the title implies, this beautifully written collection bursts with stories reminiscent of blackberries----small, succulent morsels that are inviting and sweet, yet sometimes bitter. Crystal Wilkinson provides an almost voyeuristic glimpse into the lives of her characters: Two misfit teenagers seek stolen moments of love and acceptance in the cloak of night ("Hushed"); a woman spends every waking hour obsessed with dying yet ironically watching her loved ones pass away before her ("Waiting on the Reaper"); a wife confronts her husband's mistress in a diner over potato skins and cornbread ("Need"); and a pious young woman's torment erupt in a violent and unsuspecting resolution ("No Ugly Ways").
The stories in this award-winning collection are terse and transient, like snippets taken from random dreams, thoughts, or conversations. Wilkinson is able to embed a vibrancy into each stunningly descriptive and evocative tale. Infused with humor, sadness and honesty, this provocative and haunting work features a new foreword and a new afterword by nationally acclaimed authors Nikky Finney and Honorée Jeffers.