Reviews & Praise

"Lyrical and visionary, unconventional, and infused with beauty."―Maurice Manning, author of The Common Man, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

"Crystal Wilkinson's Opulence, Kentucky, is small geographically and in population, but the novel's concerns are large―life, death, love, betrayal, despair, and hope. Wilkinson is a lyrical writer, and, once encountered in these pages, her characters and their stories linger in our memories long after the last page is turned. The Birds of Opulence is a novel to be read and reread."―Ron Rash, author of Above the Waterfall

"Wilkinson has written a beautiful and tragic intergenerational family epic that is as charged and challenging as it is tremendously moving."― Julianna Baggott, author ofPure

"Wilkinson writes of the in-between moments when breath can become suffocation, and when sanity transforms into madness. Wilkinson also writes knowingly about the silences, confusions and half-understood ancestral legends that can exist inside people. This novel meditates on those tensions and confusions by exploring the inner lives of over half a dozen residents of the town of Opulence. The Birds of Opulence is a novel, where every yesterday converges and the reader is almost asked, aren't we all just looking for a little love before we die? A swift and beautiful novel."―Leo Weekly

"Wilkinson is a fine writer, depicting the characters in her book with a sure hand. This is a book to savor. I recommend it gladly."―Me, You, and Books

"The Birds of Opulence is a magical, lyrical novel by award-winning author Crystal Wilkinson."―D.L. Hughley Show

"Today, Wilkinson is an important and lively force in literary circles. While both heartbreaking and hopeful, the book lingers on the mysterious force and importance of love, especially love handed down through the generations. In The Birds of Opulence, Crystal Wilkinson has told a story with a true Kentucky voice."―Louisville Courier Journal

"Praised for its lyrical expression, this book is so rich with wisdom, you just might want to read twice."―Brit + Co

"Wilkinson's writing is lyrical."―Boston Globe

"This lush, lyrical prose is unsurprising from Wilkinson, a critically acclaimed poet and award-winning author. The sumptuous prose and keen insight into the complicated, shifting relationships of one generation to the next will surely bring Wilkinson further recognition for her talents."―Now & Then

"It's a book so prismatic that it makes us inquire, long after it ends, about the special and specific processes of nature, both our biomes and human wildness.

The Birds of Opulence is categorically lyrical. On the surface, one can hear echoes of predecessors such as Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison.

Thus, in The Birds of Opulence, Wilkinson recreates a nuclear family that is literally the beating heart of eco-feminism with all its squash patches and broken water in dirt."―Rain Taxi Review of Books

"Wilkinson's novel is a special gift to Kentuckians. It speaks to the love of family and the region, and delivers real life tragedies and joys with honest appraisal. It deserves a spot on the shelf with the masters, James Still, Harriette Arnow, and Wendell Berry."―Louisville Review

"Wilkinson is skillful at drawing the reader into the lives of the Goode-Brown women, Minnie Mae, Tookie, Lucy and Yolanda. The struggle of the Browns in coping with their families' shortcomings, albeit no fault of their own, is one reason this book is such a good read."―The Southeastern Librarian



·*Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

*Judy Gaines Young Award

*Weatherford Award in Fiction

*Appalachian Book of the Year

*Named Southerner of the Year by Southern Living Magazine

*Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award