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Download Half A Heart Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Half A Heart Audiobook, by Rosellen Brown Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (71 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rosellen Brown Narrator: Jayne Atkinson, LisaGay Hamilton Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2000 ISBN: 9780743548021
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Rosellen Brown's extraordinary new novel, Half a Heart, tells the story of a former civil rights activist, Miriam Vener, who feels trapped in the comfortable white upper-middle-class life she leads with her family in Houston in the 1980s. That life suddenly shatters with the appearance, after almost eighteen years, of Veronica (Ronnee), her biracial daughter, born of Miriam's passionate affair a generation ago with Eljay, a brilliant black professor at a Mississippi college, who has raised the child ever since. When Miriam introduces her daughter to the utterly white New England town where she summers, and to the Houston society which represents the compromise of her sixties ideals, the results are complicated: What claim does Miriam have on Ronnee after all this time, and what does Ronnee want of her mother now?

Ronnee wrestles with her fury at her mother's mysterious disappearance from her life. With which family -- and which race -- does Ronnee identify?

Half a Heart is a profoundly moving story about estrangement and intimacy, race and privilege, identity and belonging.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Honest, brave, elegantly written…one of the best of this year.” 

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Brown brings events to a suspenseful climax through a nightmarish situation and its shattering aftermath. The narrative is most convincing in its psychological truths, depicting the challenges that both women must surmount…Provocative questions of moral, social and familial responsibility, of racial relationships, and of the claims of history on individual identity, keep surfacing in this fiercely candid novel, surely one of Brown’ s most challenging, intelligent and masterful accomplishments.” 

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “The two distinct voices of Jayne Atkinson and Lisagay Hamilton are a boon to this moving story of a mother-daughter relationship tested by time and by race…Both narrators do a superlative job of fleshing out the characters’ conflicts as they regain each other’s trust while battling a boldly racist society. Each narrator brings to this rich text her own sense of moral urgency and painful loss.” 

    AudioFile

  • Half a Heart is a profoundly moving story about estrangement and intimacy, race and privilege, identity and belonging.” 

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 12/1/2011

    " I hate putting down a book when I am halfway done, but I just couldn't get through it. It was just too slow. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kimberly Jackson | 5/30/2010

    " I think it was just me but I just couldn't get into this one like I have in other books similar to this one. Will read it again at alter date just to make sure it wasn't me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 11/23/2008

    " I hate putting down a book when I am halfway done, but I just couldn't get through it. It was just too slow. "

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About the Author

Rosellen Brown has published multiple books and poetry collections and has taught writing at the University of Houston and the School of the Arts Institute. She has frequently and easily transitioned between genres and forms, with her writing often appearing in Best American Short Stories and other prestigious literary magazines. She won the Janet Kafka Prize for the best novel by an American woman for her book Civil Wars and earned fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment of the Arts, among many other honors.

About the Narrator

Jayne Atkinson was born in Bournemouth, UK, though her family relocated to the US in her early life. She graduated from Northwestern University in 1981 with a BA in Communications before attending Yale Drama School. Her Broadway credits also include The Rainmaker (Tony nomination), Our Town, Enchanted April (Tony nomination, Drama Desk nomination; Outer Critics Circle Award) and Blithe Spirit. She has also appeared off-Broadway in a number of productions, including The Art of Success (Drama Desk nomination) and The Skriker (Drama Desk nomination). On television she is known for her guest appearances on the hit series The X-Files, Law and Order, Gossip Girl, and White Collar. Most recently, she has had roles in the series Secretary of State and the Netfilix original series House of Cards. She is married to actor Michel Gill, whom she met during a 1989 production of The Heiress at Long Wharf Theatre. Together they have one son.