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.
“Brutally eloquent. A mesmerizing collection with a heat seeking eye for brilliant humor and intense passionate loves.”
– Ernesto Quinonez, author of the bestselling novel Bodega Dreams
“Filled with humor, honesty, and wonderfully perceptive details, these suspenseful stories, told in an original voice, delight and illuminate.”
– Sheila Kohler, author most recently of Once We Were Sisters