The Birds of Opulence

The Birds of Opulence

Crystal Wilkinson / Feb 19, 2020

The Birds of Opulence From the critically acclaimed award winning author of Blackberries Blackberries and Water Street comes an astonishing new novel A lyrical exploration of love and loss The Birds of Opulence centers

  • Title: The Birds of Opulence
  • Author: Crystal Wilkinson
  • ISBN: 9780813166919
  • Page: 118
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From the critically acclaimed, award winning author of Blackberries, Blackberries and Water Street comes an astonishing new novel A lyrical exploration of love and loss, The Birds of Opulence centers on several generations of women in a bucolic southern black township as they live with and sometimes surrender to madness The Goode Brown family, led by matriarch and pillarFrom the critically acclaimed, award winning author of Blackberries, Blackberries and Water Street comes an astonishing new novel A lyrical exploration of love and loss, The Birds of Opulence centers on several generations of women in a bucolic southern black township as they live with and sometimes surrender to madness The Goode Brown family, led by matriarch and pillar of the community Minnie Mae, is plagued by old secrets and embarrassment over mental illness and illegitimacy Meanwhile, single mother Francine Clark is haunted by her dead, lightning struck husband and forced to fight against both the moral judgment of the community and her own rebellious daughter, Mona The residents of Opulence struggle with vexing relationships to the land, to one another, and to their own sexuality As the members of the youngest generation watch their mothers and grandmothers pass away, they live with the fear of going mad themselves and must fight to survive Crystal Wilkinson offers up Opulence and its people in lush, poetic detail It is a world of magic, conjuring, signs, and spells, but also of harsh realities that only love and love that s handed down can conquer At once tragic and hopeful, this captivating novel is a story about another time, rendered for our own.

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    • [PDF] Download ï The Birds of Opulence | by ↠ Crystal Wilkinson
      118 Crystal Wilkinson
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      Posted by:Crystal Wilkinson
      Published :2018-012-20T06:31:13+00:00

    About "Crystal Wilkinson"

      • Crystal Wilkinson

        Crystal Wilkinson was born in Hamilton, Ohio, in 1962 and raised in Indian Creek, Kentucky Her grandparents, Silas and Christine Wilkinson, took her into their care when she was six weeks old Often describing herself as a country girl, Wilkinson s work reflects a love and homage to her Appalachian roots She recalls growing up on her grandparent s farm where her grandfather planted tobacco and corn and made sorghum molasses and her grandmother worked as a domestic worker for school teachers in the county I lived an enchanted childhood, Crystal says in remembering her days roaming the knobs and hills of her home My grandparents gave me the freedom to explore the countryside and to write, to dream, to discover They wanted me to have things that they didn t have, to know things they didn t know But whether they knew it or not, they WERE the wisest people I have ever known I learned so much from them about nature, about art, about life One of the first generations of her family to attend college, Crystal graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.A in journalism and an MFA from Spalding University.Crystal is the 2002 recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature and is a member of a Lexington based writing collective, The Affrilachian Poets Crystal s latest work,Water Street was recently a long list finalist for the prestigious Orange Prize and short listed for a Zora Neal Hurston Richard Wright Foundation Legacy Award in fiction She has presented workshops and readings throughout the country including the Sixth International Conference on the Short Story in English at the University of Iowa and the African American Women Writers Conference at the University of the District of Columbia.She is the author of two books, Blackberries, Blackberries July 2000 , and Water Street September 2002 , both published by Toby Press The paperback version of Water Street is scheduled for release in February 2005 In 2001 Blackberries, Blackberries was named Best Debut Fiction by Today s Librarian Magazine She has been published in the anthologies Confronting Appalachian Stereotypes Back Talk from an American Region University of Kentucky Press 1999 GiftsFrom Our Grandmothers Crown Publishers, a Division of Random House, May 2000 Eclipsing A Nappy New Millennium Purdue University, 1998 Home and Beyond A Half Century of Short Stories by Kentucky Writers University Press of Kentucky 2001 A Kentucky Christmas University Press of Kentucky 2003 and Gumbo Stories by Black Writers Doubleday, Harlem Moon Press Fall 2002 Her work has also appeared in various literary journals including Obsidian II Black Literature in Review, Southern Exposure, The Briar Cliff Review, LIT, Calyx, African Voices, and the Indiana Review.She is currently working on two first novels She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.


    1. More like 4.5 stars.In The Birds of Opulence, Crystal Wilkinson takes the reader to a home in small town Opulence, Kentucky inhabited by four generations of Black women: great grandma Minnie Mae, Grandma Tookie, Mama Lucy, and baby of the family, Yolanda. Each woman is touched by trauma or mental illness, having either caused it or grappled with it their entire lives. The men in their lives, Lucy's husband who is a salve, and Yolanda's big brother Kevin, who makes space for himself with any woma [...]

    2. I was fortunate enough to hear a reading from the book by the author. I was captivated by the rich language and Appalachian culture. The writing was inspirational and a learning experience. The stories of the women from two families were raw and truthful, delivered by the author's excellent prose.

    3. This book is beeeeeeeeautiful. I don’t normally read a lot of litfic because I have to be in a very particular kind of mood and that doesn’t happen very often, but boyhowdy am I that this book was here when the mood struck. This is the kinda book where in 2 years I’m not really gonna remember any character names or what happened but as I move through life, lines or feelings from this book are gonna bubble up. It’s gonna stick in my stomach like oatmeal. And I love oatmeal.

    4. If you don’t know how much mad love I have for Crystal Wilkinson’s writing, you’re going to hear all about it in this review of The Birds of Opulence, newly released in March 2016. The story explores life in small town Opulence, focalizing on the Goode-Brown family. The four generations of women, led by the spirited and strong-minded Minnie Mae. For more browngirlreading/2016/04/

    5. Crystal Wilkinson develops a vivid sense of the people and the places in this story. The language is lyrical and the imagery captivating. The main criticism I have is that the book is too short. You get to know the women who drive the story, their family, and the people of Opulence and you care about them. Then it is over and you want to know what happened to Yolanda and Mona and Kee Kee. I recently have read a couple 500 page books that should have been 200. This 200 page book should have been [...]

    6. Set in what I assume is an imaginary town in the rural south, The Birds of Opulence is the story of women in an extended family, including the matriarch Minnie Mae, her three children (Tookie, June, and Butter, with a focus on Tookie), and Tookie’s daughter Lucy, Lucy’s husband and their children (KeeKee and Yolanda, with a focus on Yolanda). There is a connected story about a neighbor, Francine, and her daughter Mona. The author brings the reader into the community and provides a good sense [...]

    7. You know that phenomenon called a "book hangover"? Well, suffice it to say that I have needed some grounding today because just after midnight, I finished Crystal Wilkinson's "The Birds of Opulence." Do yourself a favor and hightail it to Wild Fig Books & Coffee and purchase a minimum of one of these books. Once you read it, you will think of many people who will also love it, and you will want to share it with them. But you also are not going to want to ever take a chance on it escaping fro [...]

    8. I'd give it a 3 1/2 if let me. It started slow but eventually picked up. Loved the women in the book. Wish more of Kevin's & adult Yolanda's stories could have played out.

    9. I've had Wilkinson's Water Street on my to-read list for a while now, but I saw this one on the library shelf and had to take it home - look at that gorgeous cover! It fits the story, too; the writing is beautiful and vivid but mostly it does a lot with a minimum of words. The book's not long and the chapters tend to be compact, but I'm coming away from it with such a strong feeling of the atmosphere of Opulence and the two families' various personalities. Her writing is so good at evoking feeli [...]

    10. This was a very good book. It did not take very long for me to read it. It kept my attention. Southern novels are my thing, so I really appreciated the flora and fauna, the dialect, and the nicknames. It is a story about women who battle mental illness. It also touches upon raising children with no fathers. It is a very beautifully written novel. It reads like a poem. The writer took a lot of time writing with details and similes and metaphors. I like the different generations of women and how e [...]

    11. The Birds of Opulence is a beautiful book. Takes place in Kentucky from 1962 to 1995. Is about the Goode-Brown family. This family is one to fall in love with. Is the life of a family full of love and hardship all of their lives. Is about the folly of youth and the pain of adulthood. Is an African-American story that will touch every fiber of your being. The writing is beautiful and exceptional. This novel comes out in March. Put it on your to be read list and you will rejoice when reading. Than [...]

    12. Beautifully written novel of a life far outside my experience- but so very relevant and important. I learned from this book; I now have a greater appreciation for women in these circumstances. I had ot read Wilkinson before but I'll definitely look for her in the future. THanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. You'll like this if you are interested in generational stories of women coping with mental illness, poverty, and bad men and coming out on top.

    13. I picked this book up after hearing the author doing a reading. I loved it. Beautifully written, the author varies her POV, creating an interwoven story about family, mental illness, and the relationship to place.

    14. It has never happened that I’ve read a book that left me wanting to say so much, yet could not find the words to say. The Birds of Opulence did just that. Warm, sometimes sad, sometimes funny, this book encompasses every thing that I love in every female writer that I love. The Birds of Opulence tells the stories of two families: the Goodes and the Clarks. Although it speaks the thoughts of the women of these families, it’s not your typical “woman’s” book. It touches upon the love of f [...]

    15. Really enjoyed reading this story that talks about family , secrets, day to day life of the going’s on of the Goode Household (brought back memories of my childhood) and just the lives of African Americans. I liked how the characters internalize their struggles the author does a beautiful job of writing this. felt realistic and human

    16. At the risk of lessening the significance of a 5 star rating, I've given lots of 5 stars recently. But I've read a lot of fantastic books this year and Kentucky author Crystal Wilkinson's novel fits right in. Go read it!

    17. The Birds of Opulence is a story of black women, family, friendship, and coming of age tales woven together by generational trauma in rural Appalachia. Wilkinson’s prose is beautifully expressive, never distracting. This one will sit with you for a long time.

    18. Beautifully written book. Written from each person's point of view through the years. Tells the story, mostly, of the Goode family living in the small Appalachian town of Opulence, KY. Mental health issues permeate the women, and each handles it in their own way.

    19. I thoroughly enjoyed this story of several generations of African American girls coming of age in rural Kentucky. I look forward to reading more works by Crystal Wilkinson.

    20. Wow. This was a beautiful little book. I'm not sure where I got the recommendation, but apparently at some point I requested that my library buy it. I don't remember this at all, but one day last week I got an email saying that the book I requested they purchase was available and waiting for me. I almost didn't check it out because I didn't remember doing that, hadn't added it to , and none of my regular reading friends had it on their lists. So glad I checked it out.The writing is just beautifu [...]

    21. A beautifully written book with the vernacular of home, her storytelling is rich with scenery that breathes and characters that saunter off the page. The premise is as raw as it is honest in the depiction of a bygone Kentucky era. I highly recommend experiencing this book and cannot wait to explore it again.

    22. Being a writer is both a good thing and a bad thing when reading other writers' work. You can't just kick back and enjoy; you see the skeleton underneath, the thousand decisions that were made, the weight of the choices, the price of the book that isn't listed on the sticker or back cover. The Birds of Opulence had me walking all around in it, looking under the hood, in the trunk, kicking the tires, on a model of novel I hadn't seen before. I loved it. The writing is beautiful, the characters an [...]

    23. The Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson is paragraph-by- paragraph as masterfully written a work as you can find. It is rich with beautiful images of the generations of a family in a town called Opulence, with many graceful appearances of real birds and symbolic birds. One bird appears in the house just before a particular character's death. Wilkinson uses such common beliefs and folk ways as well as skillful touches of dialect to enrich her story. The book centers on a pair of young girls gr [...]

    24. 3.5-stars, if we could do that.wilkinson is a lovely writer, and her settings and characters were wonderfully vivid. i do feel as though a couple of the main characters - mona and yolanda - fell by the wayside at the end, so that is holding me back from rating it a bit higher. it is amazing what wilkinson was able to do in a relatively short novel, but i definitely could have spent more time with the people of opulence.

    25. A wonderfully written story about several generations of African-American women and their happiness, troubles, and daily lives. It is a compelling novel that makes it a quick read. The generational aspect is also of particular interest to me, as it shows common threads in the lives of these women, as well as significant differences. If you liked this novel, you may also like: Faces in the Moon: A NovelFaces in the Moon: A Novel by Betty Louise Bell, which chronicles the lives of three generation [...]

    26. If you have never had the experience of living in a small country town’s Afro-American community, this book will place you firmly there. The author creates ambience making rich use of all of the senses as she immerses you in the settings, the culture, complex characters, and diverse relationships. The town is Opulence, Kentucky, not too far out from larger towns of Lancaster, Kentucky and Danville, Kentucky. There are no stereotypes in this book. The story centers around the lives of four gene [...]

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