Gullick, Charlotte

views updated

GULLICK, Charlotte

PERSONAL: Female. Education: Attended University of California, Santa Cruz; University of California, Davis, M.A. (creative writing).

ADDRESSES: Home—Norfolk, VA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Penguin USA, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.

CAREER: Writer and poet.

AWARDS, HONORS: Colorado Council on the Arts fellow in poetry, 2000; Sante Fe Writers Project grand prize winner, 2001.


By Way of Water, Blue Hen Books (New York, NY), 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: Charlotte Gullick is a poet and writer whose By Way of Water was called "a heartfelt first novel" by Booklist's Michele Leber. The story is set in northern California in the late 1970s, during the early days of environmentalism. Native American Jake Colby, who plays the fiddle, and Dale, who is blessed with a beautiful voice, married when she was seventeen and pregnant. Their income from Jake's work in the timber industry has dried up during the cold winter months, and because there has been no money, the house is dark and the kitchen shelves are empty. When Dale became a Jehovah's Witness, she gave up celebrations and stopped using her voice for pagan songs; as the story opens, Justy, their seven-year-old daughter, has stopped speaking, an offering to Jehovah in hopes that her parents' lives will be improved. Deer are outof-season, and Dale does not want Jake to kill an animal and break the law, but her children are starving, and she finally agrees. Just as Dale finds solace in religion, Jake finds his in drink as he unsuccessfully looks for work.

Leber believed that having the narration provided by Justy "strains credulity and is too much for a small girl to bear." However, a Publishers Weekly reviewer called the novel "a lovingly rendered story," and concluded by saying that "it's refreshing to see a novel that does justice to this forgotten pocket of the country." Jody Pryor of called Gullick "the current John Steinbeck. Her characters are real and three dimensional, making you want to reach out and help this family struggling to make it through to a new life."



Booklist, July, 2002, Michele Leber, review of By Way of Water, p. 1821.

Publishers Weekly, July 15, 2002, review of By Way ofWater, p. 54.

online, (October 17, 2002), Jody Pryor, review of By Way of Water.*