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Extended Audio Sample A Free State, by Tom Piazza Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tom Piazza Narrator: John Pruden Publisher: Dreamscape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The year is 1855. Blackface minstrelsy is the most popular form of entertainment in a nation about to be torn apart by the battle over slavery. Henry Sims, a fugitive slave and a brilliant musician, has escaped to Philadelphia. He is befriended by a leader of a popular minstrel troupe struggling to compete with similar ensembles. Henry’s skill could help the struggling troupe. Black and white performers are not allowed to appear together onstage. Together, the two concoct a masquerade to protect Henry’s identity. Even as their plan begins to reverse the troupe’s decline, a brutal slave hunter named Tull Burton has been employed to track down the runaway and retrieve him, by any means necessary.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Piazza’s novel vividly depicts a cultural phenomenon through Henry’s harrowing journey.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[A Free State] has great kinetic energy, a gripping central narrative, and a host of indelible characters. And, in the current age of identity politics, it speaks to the prevailing cultural obsession with ‘authenticity’ by exposing the fragility of that very notion. A hugely rewarding novel.”

    Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane

  • “A thoughtful examination of the intertwining of race and culture—as well as a truly scary portrait of a genuine psychopath.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Tom Piazza is the author of almost a dozen books, including the novel City of Refuge, which won the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, and the post-Katrina classic Why New Orleans Matters. His most recent book is Devil Sent the Rain, a collection of his essays and journalism. A well known writer on American music as well, Tom won a Grammy Award and is a three-time winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for Music Writing. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he lives in New Orleans and is at work on a new novel.