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Deacon King Kong: A Novel Audiobook, by James McBride Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: James McBride Narrator: Dominic Hoffman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2020 ISBN: 9780593166987
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 5.00 (1 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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From James McBride, author of the National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird, comes a wise and witty novel about what happens to the witnesses of a shooting.

In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and in front of everybody shoots the project's drug dealer at point-blank range.

The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong, James McBride's funny, moving novel and his first since his National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird. In Deacon King Kong, McBride brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of the Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportcoat was deacon, the neighborhood's Italian mobsters, and Sportcoat himself.

As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters--caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York--overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion.

Bringing to these pages both his masterly storytelling skills and his abiding faith in humanity, James McBride has written a novel every bit as involving as The Good Lord Bird and as emotionally honest as The Color of Water. Told with insight and wit, Deacon King Kong demonstrates that love and faith live in all of us. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • McBride has a flair for fashioning comedy whose buoyant outrageousness barely conceals both a steely command of big and small narrative elements and a river-deep supply of humane intelligence. An exuberant comic opera set to the music of life. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • McBride returns with an improbably hilarious tapestry of late '60s Brooklyn, and an eclectic group of individuals that bore witness to a fatal shooting. Entertainment Weekly
  • With a Dickensian wealth of quirky characters, a sardonic but humane sense of humor reminiscent of Mark Twain, and cartoonish action scenes straight out of Pynchon, McBride creates a lived-in world where everybody knows everybody’s business. This generous, achingly funny novel will delight and move readers. Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bibliobethica | 4/23/2020

    " A novel full of flawed characters from the streets of Brooklyn in 1969. There's the black, the Irish, the Puerto Ricans, the Italians along with church goers, drug dealers, the mobsters. Some are insane, some poor, some crooks, and some cops. It all makes NYC and the novel a wonderful thing. Some pages were entire sentences that just worked. The tale moves along at a nice, crisp pace all centering around Sportcoat, aka Deacon King Kong. We're not quite sure what will happen to him after he shoots the local drug supplier, but each page unfolds more of his story. Where he ends up is a delightful surprise. Can you have a coming-of age novel about a 71 year old man? He is funny and compassionate along with the colorful other characters. The women of the church are hilarious. This is a love story, a fortune hunt, a mystery, and a telling of a neighborhood. I loved it. "

About the Author

James McBride is an accomplished musician and National Book Award–winning author of the American classic The Color of Water and the bestsellers Song Yet Sung and Miracle at St. Anna, which was turned into a film by Spike Lee. A graduate of Oberlin College, he has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. He also holds several honorary doctorates and is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

About the Narrator

Dominic Hoffman, winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards for narration, is a Los Angeles–based actor of stage, screen, and television. He has appeared in such television shows as The Shield, NYPD Blue, and The Jamie Foxx Show. He attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art as well as the American Conservatory Theater.