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Extended Audio Sample The Invention of Wings: A Novel, by Sue Monk Kidd Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.8 out of 54.8 out of 54.8 out of 54.8 out of 54.8 out of 5 4.80 (5 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sue Monk Kidd Narrator: Sue Monk Kidd, Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees comes a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women.

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early-nineteenth-century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something great in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten-year-old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement, and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fans of Kidd’s novel will be delighted.”

    Publishers Weekly (audio review)

  • “Incredibly satisfying to read.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An exceptional audiobook—this story is not to be missed.”

    Library Journal (starred audio review)

  • “This richly imagined narrative brings both black history and women’s history to life with an unsentimental story of two women who became sisters under the skin—Handful, a slave in body whose mind roves freely and widely, and ‘owner’ Sarah, whose mind is shackled by family and society.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “In a seamless, almost musical narration, Kathleen McInerney slowly builds tempo as she peels off the layers of this fine listening experience.”

    Booklist (starred audio review)

  • “Kidd paints a moving portrait of two women inextricably linked by the horrors of slavery…Kidd is a master storyteller, and, with smooth and graceful prose, she immerses the reader in the lives of these fascinating women as they navigate religion, family drama, slave revolts, and the abolitionist movement.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Kidd hits her stride and avoids sentimental revisionism with this historical novel about the relationship between a slave and the daughter of slave owners in antebellum Charleston.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • Oprah’s Book Club Selection
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the January 2014 Indie Next List
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A #1 Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • A #1 Washington Post bestseller
  • A #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A #1 San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
  • A Chicago Tribune Bestseller
  • A Library Journal Bestseller of 2014
  • An AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year for 2014
  • A BookPage Best Book of 2014
  • One of Audible’s Best Audiobooks of 2014
  • Selected for the 2015 ALA Listen List for Outstanding Audiobook Narration
  • Nominated for the 2015 Audie Award for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Blithe Spirit | 6/13/2016

    " The theatrical quality of the narration and the wonderfully developed characters in the rivieting tale of the Deep South make this one of the best audiobooks ever! "

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