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Extended Audio Sample The Keepers of the House Audiobook, by Shirley Ann Grau Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 5 3.63 (32 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Shirley Ann Grau Narrator: Anna Fields Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2010 ISBN: 9781470811846
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Entrenched on the same land since the early 1800s, the Howlands have for seven generations been pillars of their Southern community. Extraordinary family lore has been passed down to Abigail—the last remaining member of the esteemed family and the last keeper of the house—but not all of it.

When shocking facts come to light about the late William Howland’s secret marriage to his black housekeeper, the community quickly gathers to vent its outrage upon Abigail and the Howland house itself.

Shaken but defiant, Abigail—compelled to go back through the family history in order to understand herself, her father, and the South—will now, in the name of all her brothers and sisters, take her bitter revenge on the small-minded Southern town that has shamed them and persecuted them but will never destroy them.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1965, The Keepers of the House is Shirley Ann Grau’s masterwork, a many-layered indictment of racism and rage that is as terrifying as it is wise. Morally intricate, graceful and suspenseful, it has become a modern classic.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Shirley Ann Grau is one of those rare writers who create a world, draw the reader into it, and make him somehow happy there, no matter what goes on…One comes to the novel’s end with a sense of loss and leaves that world with reluctance.” 

    Newsweek

  • “A beautifully written book.”

    Atlantic

  • “Her best novel.”

    Saturday Review

  • “Each year, I reread three authors—Toni Morrison, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Shirley Ann Grau. No one else writes about the landscape of Louisiana as she does, but also about the landscape of bitter love and family dreams, of sex not as romance but as commerce and experiment and mystery, of people adrift in their lives and people so tethered to their own pieces of earth. Keepers of the House is a masterpiece of history and race and the fragile yet tenuous ownership of land and love.”

    Susan Straight, National Book Award finalist

  • “What a privilege to discover an older book that turns out to be better than most contemporary fiction. We can thank Blackstone for this pleasure…Anna Fields’ dramatic reading brings each of the Howlands vividly to life.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 2/19/2014

    " I read this book 40 years ago and still remember it's power - and truth. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara Gandaria-Escamilla | 2/1/2014

    " This book is a poignant look into race relations in the South. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 1/17/2014

    " American historical....1800s-1950s South....unique commentary on the ridge between white and black in relationship to self, town, and land. Recommend for the refreshing take and unexpected, unforced, insight. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miriam | 1/17/2014

    " Just finished this book for book club, ahead of schedule! Interesting characters but hard to understand some of their motives (and connect with most of them). The writing was excellent though! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Wulferdingen | 1/15/2014

    " Fantastic book--I couldn't put it down. Historical Fiction with a big twist at the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 LisaB Burton | 1/15/2014

    " Lacked character development and in the end was predictable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Claudia Callis | 12/16/2013

    " Very good character study of a southern family. Starts out slow, but I was drawn in and it leads to a great climax. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alan | 12/14/2013

    " Pulitzer. I read this in 60s, not long after it came out. It was anti-southern. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ora Smith | 12/12/2013

    " Expected more. When I was done I wondered why I read the whole thing. Story and plot only so-so. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonnie | 11/20/2013

    " I learned some about Free Jack slaves. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 11/8/2013

    " I love a story about vengeance. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessie Kelly | 10/8/2013

    " Strange characters, most unlikable and very strange ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mom/aka:Annette | 8/9/2013

    " So nicely from the 'old days' with farming and how-to-do jobs. The topic of racism was written in slowly but then, it is done in the south. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tajma | 12/20/2012

    " It is beautifully written. These slave narratives are just very difficult to push through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Phhornbuckle | 7/25/2012

    " I understand why this book won a Pulitzer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shayna | 3/27/2012

    " One of my favorite books EVER!!! This story captures the tortured past that many southern families deal with. This book was amazing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon Hastings | 2/1/2012

    " I loved this Pulitzer Prize winning novel. It covered the issues of control within the South and it's unique family dynamics across the racial barriers. So well written I did not want to finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 11/27/2011

    " I chose to read this after The Help. It was written in 1964 so it's being "resurrected" "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emily | 11/22/2011

    " Not a big fan of this book, probably because the plotline revelation that was so "shocking" is kind of passe in this day and age. Some stories are timeless; this one is dated. It's almost offensive that people would make such a big deal about multiracial family members. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jena | 10/17/2011

    " Had a lot of problems with Abigail and her section, but overall a pretty good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cclarke39 | 6/25/2011

    " Took awhile to get into, but the second half was awesome! Great story of revenge. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eilagh | 6/8/2011

    " A different perspective on racial tensions in US. Good narrative, perhaps not the greatest read ever but interesting and captivating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 1/25/2011

    " Great story, engaging writing, I can understand why it won the Pulitzer. It sucked me in! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 12/1/2010

    " I chose to read this after The Help. It was written in 1964 so it's being "resurrected" "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tania | 10/3/2010

    " 2d time ive been disappointed by a pulitzer prize winner, first time was Coetzee and his weird rape fantasies, this book was all description of trees and stuff and no characters but cardboard, did seem kinda authentic tho "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessie | 6/2/2010

    " Strange characters, most unlikable and very strange ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colleen | 5/30/2010

    " Pulitzer prize winner Grau weaves a great story "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 4/25/2010

    " Audio Book -- read by Anna Fields "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tajma | 9/21/2009

    " It is beautifully written. These slave narratives are just very difficult to push through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 5/5/2009

    " Good book about the how the past can continue to influence events in the present. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aly | 4/16/2009

    " This one is awfully slow to start. The final section, when Grau really gets into the story of the narrator, and discusses racism in the South in the 1960s is fascinating; I'd give that part on its own 4 stars. The build up to that section is quite a bit slower. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shayna | 4/1/2009

    " One of my favorite books EVER!!! This story captures the tortured past that many southern families deal with. This book was amazing. "

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About the Author
Author Shirley Ann Grau

Shirley Ann Grau, born in New Orleans in 1929, has spent most of her adult life in the Creole region. Not surprisingly, the powerful works of this major American author often reflect the isolated bayous and their French-speaking residents, but her fiction is equally at home with the fiercely independent people of small Southern towns and the sophisticated upper class of New Orleans. Her critically acclaimed first book, The Black Prince and Other Stories, established her as a talented new writer, and her fifth, The Keepers of the House, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1965.

About the Narrator

Kate Fleming (a.k.a. Anna Fields) (1965–2006), winner of more than a dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award in 2004, was one of the most respected narrators in the industry. Trained at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, she was also a director, producer, and technician at her own studio, Cedar House Audio.