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Download Fire Shut Up In My Bones: A Memoir Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Fire Shut Up In My Bones: A Memoir, by Charles M. Blow 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: Charles M. Blow Narrator: Charles M. Blo Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Fire Shut Up in My Bones is a gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America’s most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past.

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow mines the compelling poetry of the out-of-time African American Louisiana town where he grew up—a place where slavery’s legacy felt astonishingly close, reverberating in the elders’ stories and in the near-constant wash of violence.

Blow’s attachment to his mother—a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, a job plucking poultry at a nearby factory, a soon-to-be-ex husband, and a love of newspapers and learning—cannot protect him from secret abuse at the hands of an older cousin. It’s damage that triggers years of anger and searing self-questioning.

Finally, Blow escapes to a nearby state university, where he joins a black fraternity after a passage of brutal hazing. He then enters a world of racial and sexual privilege that feels like everything he’s ever needed and wanted, until he himself is called upon to become the one perpetuating the shocking abuse.

This powerfully redemptive memoir both fits the tradition of African American storytelling from the South and gives it an indelible new slant.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Fire Shut Up in My Bones is a luminous memoir that digs deep into territory I’ve longed to read about in black men’s writing: into the horror of being submerged in a vast drowning swirl of racial, spiritual, and sexual complexity, only to somehow find one’s self afloat, though gasping for breath, and then, at long last and at great cost, swimming. I believe both ancestors and descendants will cheer.”

    Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Color Purple

  • Fire Shut Up in My Bones is a profoundly moving memoir of Charles Blow’s coming of age as a black boy in the Deep South; of the way his sensitive and gifted intelligence slowly begins to kindle, becoming ablaze with wonder at the world and his place in it…Blow has written a classic memoir of a truly American childhood.”

    Henry Louis Gates, Emmy Award–winning filmmaker

  • “Page by elegant page, Charles Blow has constructed an eloquent and courageous memoir that explains why black and white is never just that—whether it comes to race or the rich, conflicted stew of childhood memory.”

    Gwen Ifill, New York Times bestselling author of Breakthrough

  • “Searing and unforgettable.”


  • "[An] exquisite memoir…Delicately wrought and arresting in its language, this slender volume covers a great deal of emotional terrain—much of it fraught, most of it arduous and all of it worth the trip.”

    New York Times

  • “Stunning…Blow’s words grab hold of you like a fever that shakes you up at first but eventually leads you to a place of healing.”


  • “Brilliant.”


  • “Honest and artful…Blow has taken the time to describe—often in loving detail—what people and places look like, giving the reader’s visual imagination plenty to work with as he contemplates crucial life questions that this story so eloquently articulates.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Blow tells his story with searing honesty and probing self-reflection.”

    Boston Globe

  • “In this brave and powerful memoir, New York Times columnist Blow describes growing up poor, African American, and sexually conflicted in the 1970s Deep South…A singular look at a neglected America.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • New York Times columnist Blow offers a painful but ultimately triumphant story of surviving trauma.”


  • New York Times columnist Blow’s hardscrabble memoir about growing up poor and black in rural Louisiana…A well-written, often poetic memoir.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “This audiobook is a welcome exception to light, and overly hopeful, memoirs….As narrator, Blow has a deep, low voice that has an Everyman quality to it. He reads much too slowly and with little variation in pitch and tone, but his diction is excellent and his story is compelling. The importance of the book is that it’s Blow’s story, and he makes it sound personal. He creates a vivid world that is captivating and absorbing.”


  • “Some truths cannot be taught, only learned through stories—profoundly personal and startlingly honest accounts that open not only our eyes but also our hearts to painful and complicated social realities. Charles Blow’s memoir tells these kinds of truths. No one who reads this book will be able to forget it. It lays bare in so many ways what is beautiful, cruel, hopeful, and despairing about race, gender, class, and sexuality in the American South and our nation as a whole. This book is more than a personal triumph; it is a true gift to us all.”

    Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A 2014 New York Times Notable Book
  • Longlisted for the 2015 PEN Literary Award
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