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Download Queen of the Underworld: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Queen of the Underworld: A Novel Audiobook, by Gail Godwin Click for printable size audiobook cover
2.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 5 2.50 (28 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gail Godwin Narrator: Stephanie Zimbalist Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9780739324738
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Here at last is the eagerly awaited new novel from New York Times bestselling author Gail Godwin. Queen of the Underworld is sweeping and sultry literary fiction, featuring a memorable young heroine and engaging characters whose intimate dramas interconnect with hers. 
In the summer of 1959, as Castro clamps down on Cuba and its first wave of exiles flees to the States to wait out what they hope to be his short-lived reign, Emma Gant, fresh out of college, begins her career as a reporter. Her fierce ambition and belief in herself are set against the stories swirling around her, both at the newspaper office and in her downtown Miami hotel, which is filling up with refugees. 
Emma’s avid curiosity about life thrives amid the tropical charms and intrigues of Miami. While toiling at the news desk, she plans the fictional stories she will write in her spare time. She spends her nights getting to know the Cuban families in her hotel–and rendezvousing with her married lover, Paul Nightingale, owner of a private Miami Beach club. 
As Emma experiences the historical events enveloping the city, she trains her perceptive eye on the people surrounding her: a newfound Cuban friend who joins the covert anti-Castro training brigade, a gambling racketeer who poses a grave threat to Paul, and a former madam, still in her twenties, who becomes both Emma’s obsession and her alter ego. Emma’s life, like a complicated dance that keeps sweeping her off her balance, is suddenly filled with divided loyalties, shady dealings, romantic and professional setbacks, and, throughout, her adamant determination to avoid “usurpation” by others and remain the protagonist of her own quest. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jim | 2/19/2014

    " This was not a great book, though not bad either, about a UNC grad going to Miami as a reporter. It just wasn't a stong, or entirely believable, story. Maybe I just didn't like the protagonist. I did enjoy the Cuban refugees. I hear that Godwin is a good author, and I will give her another chance sometime. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natalie | 2/18/2014

    " This was a book I just got off the staff-pick shelf when none of my 'hold books' had come in to the library. I liked the characters a lot and the setting was interesting but I felt it lacked direction and plot. The ending was unsatisfying and ho-hum. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Barb | 2/2/2014

    " I felt like I was reading a cartoon - Brenda Starr! Cub Reporter! If it wasn't a book group pick I would have put it down like I did the first time I picked it up. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shana Nichols | 1/28/2014

    " Enjoyed the historical context - Miami, Cuba - but what happened to the ending? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amber Balash | 1/20/2014

    " I was intrigued by the book overall, but the ending felt kind of forced and just not as smooth as the rest of the book. I loved Godwin's voice & writing style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arlene | 1/15/2014

    " Just finished this. Really good. A young reporter goes to her first assignment for the Miami Star right after Fidel Castro takes land from the american and cuban landowners. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 ReAnna | 1/14/2014

    " I shall start a new book today.....A journey of reading this Summer has begun too. There is a theme to all my books.....I to want to take journey's while I am on my journey, of self discovery. :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 12/25/2013

    " Interesting time and place -- Miami in 1958 -- but not much of a story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cassandra | 11/24/2013

    " I listened to this book on CD in the car. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Krista | 11/6/2013

    " A nice pastiche of 1950's Miami, but the story about the bigger-than- life week of the brand new cub reporter is tiresomely self-centered and fizzles out. One of those books I keep reading waiting for things to take off but alas it never does. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret | 5/1/2013

    " I'm a big Gail Godwin fan - and as in her other novels, the characters are wonderful. I enjoyed the setting in Miami just as Castro was coming to power, the coming-of-age, finding-your-way themes. But will someone explain the ending to me?? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Juliat | 4/2/2013

    " It's well-written and engaging, although not typical of Gail Godwin's work. I like the glimpse of life in mid-century Miami, especially the Cuban culture although I have no idea how accurately. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paulita Kincer | 3/15/2013

    " I loved the idea of this book but I hated the ending. Right before the end, she even says she feels like she is in dead water, going nowhere, just waiting. And it ends there. What's up with that? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andijkl | 12/22/2012

    " Hard to follow in certain places. There was a lot more that could have been written. It felt like part of the story was missing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie Cooper | 10/25/2012

    " This takes a different direction than her other books, but just as interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 R. | 8/10/2012

    " This book began to give me an understanding of Cuban's fleeing Castro in the early years of his take-over, but it had an unsatisfactory ending (like the author grew weary of the story and simply quit). I was reading it for a bookclub and am unlikely to recommend it for others. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 9/24/2011

    " This was an enjoyable story about a new college graduate who moves to Miami in the 1950's. I especially enjoyed the references to the time frame. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alexandra | 5/26/2011

    " Really not Gail Godwin's best... a disappointing novel that goes nowhere fast! Well written but no plot that deserves the number of pages dedicated to it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 ReAnna | 4/23/2011

    " I shall start a new book today.....A journey of reading this Summer has begun too. There is a theme to all my books.....I to want to take journey's while I am on my journey, of self discovery. :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 3/19/2011

    " This book was so interesting 3/4 of the way through and then it took a strange turn and ended so abruptly. I felt cheated... I enjoyed the young journalist Emma. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Terri | 3/5/2011

    " Not one of Gail Godwin's best efforts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karin | 12/26/2010

    " The story of a newly graduated journalist and her first few weeks of her first job in late 50s Miami. I found the main character engaging if a bit irratating. The setting is fascinating. The Queen of the Underworld is very reminiscent of one of Godwin's much earlier novels The Odd Woman. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rachel | 3/17/2010

    " Blah. So boring. And I found the protagonist irritating and naive. The naïveté is part of the point, but it never gets replaced by experience, and I doubt I was supposed to think she was such a pill. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Barb | 11/12/2009

    " I felt like I was reading a cartoon - Brenda Starr! Cub Reporter! If it wasn't a book group pick I would have put it down like I did the first time I picked it up. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shana | 10/22/2009

    " Enjoyed the historical context - Miami, Cuba - but what happened to the ending? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 9/16/2009

    " Love Gail Godwin; not enough closure here. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sherrey | 8/14/2009

    " Godwin disappointed me in this book. I've enjoyed so many others, but this one lacked good character development and the story line, at least for me, fizzled. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arlene | 5/24/2009

    " Just finished this. Really good. A young reporter goes to her first assignment for the Miami Star right after Fidel Castro takes land from the american and cuban landowners. "

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About the Author
Author Gail GodwinGail Godwin was born in Alabama, grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and received her doctorate in English from the University of Iowa. She has taught at Vassar College and Columbia University and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the 1981 Award in Literature from the National Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Her short stories, essays, and articles have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. Three of her critically acclaimed novels, The Odd Woman, Violet Clay, and A Mother and Two Daughters, were nominated for the National Book Award. Her other highly praised books include The Good Husband, Glass People, The Perfectionists, Dream Children, and Mr. Bedford and the Muses.