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Download The Story of Land and Sea: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Story of Land and Sea: A Novel Audiobook, by Katy Simpson Smith 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: Katy Simpson Smith Narrator: Edoardo Ballerini Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2014 ISBN: 9780062350848
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Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave—characters who yearn for redemption amidst a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love.

Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.

Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.

In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the lonely paths we travel in the name of renewal.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The arresting prose, vividly original characters, and narrative drive…provided this reader with several hours of pure pleasure and a rare glimpse of grace in a fictional world.”

    Anita Shreve, New York Times bestselling author of Testimony

  • “A luminous debut.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “[A] moving family saga.”

    Us Weekly

  • “Smith’s spare, rhythmic prose captivates.”

    New York Times

  • “Finely wrought language blends startling details of the everyday with a dreamy, aphoristic quality. The effect is to root the novel in its historical moment but to reach toward the universal in its exploration of love and grief.”

    Washington Post

  • “Smith…has a real gift for describing both hope and despair…[and] drawing realistic, three-dimensional characters, particularly Tabitha and her grandfather Asa.”


  • “[A] sweeping novel of familial love, faith, salvation, and loss through two generations. Many will find the complexity of relationships between child and parent fascinating, and the characters’ struggles to balance their emotions will resonate with readers. Here is a fiction debut that forces us to look into our hearts and think about our relationships.”

    RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

  • “Smith’s soulful language of loss is almost biblical, and the descriptions of her characters’ sorrows are poetic and moving.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Smith’s spare prose and storytelling style is resonant of oral history or folk tales, and the early chapters focusing on John and his daughter Tabitha and her desire for the sea call to mind Sena Jeter Naslund’s Ahab’s Wife.”

    Library Journal

  • “The prose is beautiful, and Edoardo Ballerini delivers it with a deep, sonorous voice that expresses the rhythm of the sea. His narration brings life to the varied and complex characters, making each unique and identifiable without resorting to a collection of different voices. He makes the transitions from war to post-war—and from Tabitha and her family to Moll and her son—go smoothly with his careful, explicit delivery, offering us a window into harsh lives filled with mercy, beauty, and grace.”


  • “Smith hasn’t merely evoked late-eighteenth century American lives on shore and at sea-she’s invented them afresh…She doesn’t peddle the cozy illusion that, after all, these were people just like us; while reading The Story of Land and Sea, we become just like them.”

    David Gates, author of The Napoleonic Wars

  • “A marvel. With prose as meticulous as brushstrokes, I can think of no other debut filled with such wonder, grace, and beauty…a tremendous achievement, a masterful exploration of parenthood and faith.”

    Paul Yoon, author of Once the Shore

  • “A pristine and powerful book…[Smith’s] voice is a poet’s and her vision is as expansive as the ocean, as the history in its depths. In her gorgeous and heart-rending first novel, she lays bare the hearts of parent and child, slave and master, and, most impressively, her readers.”

    Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Remember Me like This

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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About the Author

Katy Simpson Smith is the author of a study of early American motherhood, We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835, and a novel, The Story of Land and Sea. She lives in New Orleans.

About the Narrator

Edoardo Ballerini, an American writer, director, film producer, and actor, has won many awards for his audiobook narration. Within only a few years after beginning his narrating career, he won several AudioFile Earphones Awards for his work and has twice won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration. He has narrated two hundred audiobooks, from classics to modern masters, from bestsellers to the inspirational, from Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners to spine-tingling series, and much more. In television and film, he is best known for his roles in The Sopranos, 24, I Shot Andy Warhol, Dinner Rush and Romeo Must Die. He is also trained in theater and continues to do much work on stage.