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Download The Last Ballad: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Last Ballad: A Novel Audiobook, by Wiley Cash 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: Wiley Cash Narrator: Karen White, Elizabeth Wiley Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2017 ISBN: 9780062682024
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The author of the celebrated bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events, that chronicles an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice, with the emotional power of Ron Rash’s Serena, Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day, and the unforgettable films Norma Rae and Silkwood

Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill’s owners—the newly arrived Goldberg brothers—white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and others workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May’s best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it’s the only opportunity she has. Her no-good husband John has run off again, and she must keep her four young children alive with whatever she can find.

When the union leaflets first come through the mill, Ella May has a taste of hope, a yearning for the better life the organizers promise. But the mill owners, backed by other nefarious forces, claim the union is nothing but a front for the Bolshevik menace sweeping across Europe. To maintain their control, the owners will use every means in their power, including lies, threats, and bloodshed, to prevent workers from banding together. On the night of the county’s biggest rally, Ella May, weighing the costs of her choice, makes up her mind to join the movement—a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town—indeed all that she loves.

Seventy-five years later, Ella May’s daughter Lilly, now an elderly woman, tells her nephew about his grandmother and the events that transformed their family. Illuminating the most painful corners of their history, she reveals, for the first time, the whole story of what happened to Ella May after that fateful union meeting in 1929.

Intertwining myriad voices, Wiley Cash brings to life the heartbreak and bravery of the now forgotten struggle of the labor movement in early Twentieth Century America—and pays tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers. Lyrical, heartbreaking, and haunting, this eloquent new novel confirms Wiley Cash’s place among our nation’s finest writers.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Lives are changed forever in this intimate and yet expansive novel…With subtlety and insight, Wiley Cash reveals the dignity and humanity of people asking for a fair shot in an unfair world. Fraught with the turmoil of social change, The Last Ballad moves inexorably toward a devastating moment of reckoning. A timely and topical portrait of a community in crisis.”

    Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “Wiley Cash pulls no punches in this gorgeous, gut-wrenching novel, and that’s entirely as it should be for a story of desperate people. In an era when American workers are besieged as they haven’t been since the Great Depression, I can think of no more relevant novel for our times than The Last Ballad.”

    Ben Fountain, New York Times bestselling author

  • “This suspenseful, moving novel is a story of struggle and personal sacrifice for the greater good that will resonate with readers of John Steinbeck or Ron Rash.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[Cash] writes with earnestness and great sympathy…Admirers of Ron Rash’s Serena and its Appalachian setting will find much to like here.”

    Library Journal

  • “Inspired by the events of an actual textile-mill strike in 1929, Cash creates a vivid picture of one woman’s desperation…A heartbreaking and beautifully written look at the real people involved in the labor movement.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • The Last Ballad is the story of a beautiful and courageous woman, and it is beautifully and courageously told. Wiley Cash dares give voice to people lost in the margins of history, and he brings to life their inspiring fight for justice with graceful prose, honesty, and intensity, and best of all, a wonderful bigness of heart.”

    Lydia Peelle, award-winning author of The Midnight Cool

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About the Author
Author Wiley Cash

Wiley Cash is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home and the acclaimed This Dark Road to Mercy. He won the SIBA Book Award, was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and has been nominated for many more awards. A native of North Carolina, he has held residency positions at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and is the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina, Asheville.

About the Narrators

Karen White is a classically trained actress who has been recording audiobooks since 1999. An Audie Award finalist, she has earned eight AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her reading of The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed was named one of AudioFile’s Best Audiobooks of 2009.

Elizabeth Wiley is a seasoned actor, dialect coach, theater professor, and dedicated narrator. In addition to her growing portfolio of audiobooks, her voice can be heard in The Idea of America, Colonial Williamsburg’s virtual learning curriculum; in Paul Meier’s e-textbook Speaking Shakespeare; and modeling US-English on one of the world’s top language-learning products.