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Extended Audio Sample Delicious Foods: A Novel, by James Hannaham 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: James Hannaham Narrator: James Hannaham Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Held captive by her employers—and by her own demons—on a mysterious farm, a widow struggles to reunite with her young son in this uniquely American story of freedom, perseverance, and survival.

Darlene, once an exemplary wife and a loving mother to her young son, Eddie, finds herself devastated by the unforeseen death of her husband. Unable to cope with her grief, she turns to drugs, and quickly forms an addiction. One day she disappears without a trace.

Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Eddie, now left behind in a panic-stricken search for her, Darlene has been lured away with false promises of a good job and a rosy life. A shady company named Delicious Foods shuttles her to a remote farm, where she is held captive, performing hard labor in the fields to pay off the supposed debt for her food, lodging, and the constant stream of drugs the farm provides to her and the other unfortunates imprisoned there.

In Delicious Foods, James Hannaham tells the gripping story of three unforgettable characters: a mother, her son, and the drug that threatens to destroy them. Through Darlene’s haunted struggle to reunite with Eddie, through the efforts of both to triumph over those who would enslave them, and through the irreverent and mischievous voice of the drug that narrates Darlene’s travails, Hannaham’s daring and shape-shifting prose infuses this harrowing experience with grace and humor.

The desperate circumstances that test the unshakable bond between this mother and son unfold into myth, and Hannaham’s treatment of their ordeal spills over with compassion. Along the way we experience a tale at once contemporary and historical that wrestles with timeless questions of love and freedom, forgiveness and redemption, tenacity and the will to survive.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “James Hannaham’s new novel is a tour de force. Gripping, haunting, and deeply moving, it beguiles the reader with the urgent immediacy of its characters’ lives, while also reverberating with universal themes of freedom and enslavement, love, and survival.”

    Jennifer Egan, Pulitzer Prize-winner for A Visit from the Goon Squad

  • “This is a book of astonishing originality and power…a wholly new world—a hallucinatory place shot through with struggle and terrible deeds—but one never lacking light or hope. Hannaham reinvents the Southern gothic with prose at once brutal and lyrical, and drop-dead gorgeous. This is a hell of a novel.”

    Dave Eggers, National Book Award-winner for A Hologram for the King 

  • “James Hannaham’s powerful and daring second novel…Delicious Foods is fiercely imaginative and passionate. There are echoes here of Ralph Ellison and Zora Neale Hurston, even at times of Zola or Kafka. The investigation of Nat’s disappearance is not the only instance of racism in law enforcement; in that respect, the novel is timely, even prophetic. Few novels leap off the page as this one does. Delicious Foods is a cri de coeur from a very talented and engaging writer.”

    BookPage, Top Pick

  • “The light he shines on the realities of racial injustice, human trafficking, drug abuse, and exploitation make a deep imprint on the reader…the heroic themes of love, forgiveness, and redemption carry this memorable story.”

    Publishers Weekly 

  • “A Southern farm provides the backdrop for a modern-day slavery tale in this textured, inventive and provocatively funny novel…a potent allegory for centuries of black men and women stripped of the power to control their destinies. A poised and nervy study of race in a unique voice. ”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Author James Hannaham—who is clearly comfortable behind the mic—skillfully narrates a story of human exploitation, addiction, and grief. It’s all told with dark humor and lightened by a unique point of view: that of “Scotty,” the crack cocaine that slyly takes over the mind of Darlene, who has fallen from respectability after her husband’s murder. Hannahan creates distinct moods and voices for his characters, the best of which is the jaunty, smart-talking Scotty, who allows Darlene to be lured to a labor camp, where she’s effectively enslaved and isolated from her son. The rhythms of Hannahan’s performance reflect the changes in the emotional atmosphere of her son’s journey to find his mother and free her from her bonds.”


  • "Delicious Foods is a strange and compelling American horror story, arrived at through fresh narrative strategies. A mother, a son, drugs, workers enslaved in a gruesome nightmare, love and survival—this is a wonderfully conjured novel.”

    Daniel Woodrell, author of The Maid’s Version

  • Delicious Foods is virtuosity on a hire wire—a wild, romping, brilliant plot, capped off with bodacious characters and breathtaking prose. A completely unforgettable, original, and singular novel by a brave, exciting new writer.”

    Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow

  • A BookPage Top Pick in March 2015 for Literary Fiction
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A March 2015 LibraryReads Pick
  • A Carnegie Medal for Literature Longlist Selection
  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2015
  • A BuzzFeed Books Pick for Best Fiction of 2015
  • A 2015 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
  • Winner of the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
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