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Download Lost in Language and Sound: or, How I Found My Way to the Arts; Essays Audiobook

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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (14 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ntozake Shange Narrator: Allyson Johnso Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Lost in Language and Sound is a vibrant and vital collection that celebrates the three most important muses in the life and work of Ntozake Shange: language, music, and dance. In this deeply personal book, the celebrated writer reflects on what it means to be an artist, a woman, and a woman of color through a beautiful combination of memoir and essay. She describes where her love for creative forces began—in her childhood home, a place where imagination reigned and boredom wasn’t allowed.

The essays tell stories ranging from the poignant origin of her celebrated play For Colored Girls to why Shange needed to deconstruct the English language to make that production work; from the intensity of the female experience and the black experience as separate entities to the difficulty of living both lives simultaneously; from the intense love of jazz bestowed on her by her father to a similar obsession with dance, which came from her mother. With deep sincerity, attention, and her legendary candor, Shange’s collection progresses from the public arena to the private, gathering along the way the passions and insights of an author who writes with “such exquisite care and beauty that anybody can relate to her message” (Clive Barnes, New York Times).

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Shange is, above all, a poet. Lost in Language and Sound is nominally prose, but if there’s another writer in America who can write prose like this—with this sort of intricate layering of linguistic play—I wish someone would direct me to them.”

    San Francisco Chronicle 

  • “Award-winning poet, playwright, and novelist Shange immerses the reader in the written and spoken fabric of her upbringing and her life as an artist in this evocative melding of essay and memoir… A profoundly personal yet all-encompassing exploration of words, movement, and the state of race in America.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Each essay is personal and contains a great deal of information for both the casual listener and anyone looking for a more analytical view of Shange’s career. Allyson Johnson narrates with authority and confidence in a clear voice and a bright, lively tone.”


  • “Shange, acclaimed novelist, poet, and playwright, seemed not simply to find her way to the arts but, rather, was born to create movement and sound as evidenced by each carefully selected word in these essays.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Duff | 3/14/2013

    " Exciting use of language, setting and personal philosophy. I did not know the author well, but truly found this fascinating. No particular critical response...just enjoyed the essays immensely. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Greg | 11/4/2012

    " Ms Shange never disappoints me in this autobiographical book on her life and all the energies given and taken to achieve the place in literary and poetry on the world's stage. Dancin', singin' and actin' was what she wanted to do with her life. Bravo!!! "

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About the Author
Author Ntozake Shange

Ntozake Shange, fearless in her quest to affirm the realities of women of color, demonstrates that her name reflects her approach to both her art and her life. In the Zulu language of Xhosa, ntozake means “she who comes with her own things,” and shange means “she who walks like a lion.” While she is first and foremost a poet, she constantly extends her talents into other realms. She has written four novels, six volumes of poetry, numerous essays and screenplays, a plethora of critically acclaimed plays, and five children’s books.