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Extended Audio Sample Queen Sugar: A Novel Audiobook, by Natalie Baszile Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.67 out of 54.67 out of 54.67 out of 54.67 out of 54.67 out of 5 4.67 (1 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Natalie Baszile Narrator: Miriam Hyman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2014 ISBN: 9780698149403
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A mother-daughter story of reinvention—about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana

Why exactly Charley Bordelon’s late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles.

They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that’s mired in the past: as her judgmental but bighearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.

Stirring in its storytelling of one woman against the odds and intimate in its exploration of the complexities of contemporary southern life, Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Queen Sugar is a gorgeous, moving story about what grounds us as brothers and sisters, as mothers and daughters, and all the ways we fight to save each other. Natalie Baszile’s characters put brave roots into inhospitable ground, looking for a place, a person, a community to call home. I alternately laughed and wept as they failed each other, forgave each other, lost each other, found themselves. It’s a wise, strong book, and I loved it. You will, too.”

    Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Someone Else’s Love Story

  • “Natalie Baszile debuts with an irresistible tale of family, community, personal obligation, and personal reinvention. The world is full of things that keep you down and things that lift you up—Queen Sugar is about both and in approximately equal measure. Smart and heart-felt and highly recommended.”

    Karen Jay Fowler, New York Times bestselling author 

  • “After turning the last page of Queen Sugar, I already miss the gutsy, contemporary African American woman who ditches California and migrates to Louisiana to run her inherited cane farm. Natalie Baszile is a fresh, new voice that resists all Southern stereotypes, and delivers an authentic knock-out read.”

    Lalita Tademy, New York Times bestselling author of Red River

  • “In Queen Sugar, two bulwarks of American literature—Southern fiction and the transformational journey—are given a fresh take by talented first-time novelist Natalie Baszile…[The novel] is a sensory experience, a tableau vivant that Baszile skillfully paints in a palette simultaneously subtle and bold. Queen Sugar is a bright and enticing reminder that, sometimes, you can go home.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “[A] exploration of family ties and disconnections.”


  • “In this tightly written first novel…the author blends the ups and downs of Charley’s emotional life with the uneven rhythms of farming over the course of a year to keep the plot moving and readers invested. This family drama featuring a woman facing adversity head-on and finding inner strength should resonate with fans of Ayana Mathis’ The Twelve Tribes of Hattie.”

    Library Journal

  • “Although the pace can be as slow as a humid bayou afternoon, the conflicts eventually ignite, leading to a cathartic close.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Through tone and pacing, Hyman brings the characters to life--from the strong-willed Charley, who will do whatever it takes to have a successful harvest, to her equally strong-willed grandmother, who puts responsibility to family above all, and her bitter half-brother, whose attitude of victimhood almost destroys them all. The story’s pace is slow, but the patient listener hears a slice of a little known culture.”


  • Oprah’s Book Club Selection

Listener Opinions

  • 4.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 5 adm | 1/5/2017

    " Enjoyed the story line. Expect the experience to continue with the colorful characters of this book. "

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About the Author
Natalie Baszile has an MA in Afro American Studies from UCLA and earned an MFA at the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She lives in San Francisco with her family.
About the Narrator

Miriam Hyman is a Philadelphia native and graduate of Yale School of Drama. She is the 2011 Princess Grace recipient of the George C. Wolfe Award in Theater. She has worked with the Public Theater, the Guthrie Theater, the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, and the Freedom Theater. She has also made guest appearances on 20 Rock, The Wire, Law & Order, and Conviction.