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Extended Audio Sample Ruby: A Novel, by Cynthia Bond 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: Cynthia Bond Narrator: Cynthia Bond Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her—this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city—the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village—all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby Bell finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’ kitchen where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A stunning debut. Ruby is unforgettable.”

    John Rechy, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Pure magic. Every line gleams with vigor and sound and beauty…This stunning debut delivers.”

    Janet Fitch, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Lush, deep, momentous, much like the people and landscape it describes, Ruby enchants not just with its powerful tale of lifelong quests and unrelenting love but also with its exquisite language.”

    Edwidge Danticat, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A powerful literary force reminiscent of Toni Morrison.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “A moving and indelible portrait of a fallen woman…Bond traffics in extremely difficult subjects with a grace and bigheartedness that makes for an accomplished, enthralling read.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A beautifully wrought ghost story, a love story, a survival story.”

    Los Angeles Review of Books

  • “[A] powerful, explosive novel. Bond immerses readers in a fully realized world, one scarred by virulent racism and perverted rituals but also redeemed by love.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Bracing…Undeniable…The echoes of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison are clear…A very strong first novel that blends tough realism with the appealing strangeness of a fever dream.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Cynthia Bond narrates her own rich novel with a deliberate, almost sleepy pace reminiscent of the plodding tempo of life in east Texas in the 1950s…Bond employs a rich, softly rounded accent for the voice of Ruby.”


  • “Ruby’s story is one of pain and beauty, damnation and redemption. Cynthia Bond has written a book everyone should read, about the power of love to overcome even the darkest of histories.”

    Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot

  • Ruby is a harrowing, hallucinatory novel, a love story and a ghost story about one woman’s attempt to escape the legacy of violence in a small southern town. Cynthia Bond writes with a dazzling poetry that’s part William Faulkner, part Toni Morrison, yet entirely her own. Ruby is encircled by shadows, but incandescent with light.”

    Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

  • Longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
  • Selected for a 2014 Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • An Oprah Pick
  • Longlisted for the 2015 PEN Literary Award for Debut Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2016 Baileys’ Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist Selection
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