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Extended Audio Sample Them: A Novel Audiobook, by Nathan McCall Click for printable size audiobook cover
2.9 out of 52.9 out of 52.9 out of 52.9 out of 52.9 out of 5 2.90 (30 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nathan McCall Narrator: Mirron Willis Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2009 ISBN: 9781455188673
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Barlowe, a single, African American in his forties, shares a ramshackle house with his nephew in an Atlanta neighborhood, the old Fourth Ward, known both as the center of the civil rights movement and for its main street, Auburn Avenue, once the richest Negro street in the world. Barlowe works as a printer and passes the time reading books from the neighborhood library and hanging out with other local black men at the corner store. When a white married couple buys and renovates the house next door, everyone tries to go about their daily business, but fear and suspicion build as more whites move in, making once familiar people and places disappear.

Superbly developed characters, realistic story line, and descriptions that capture the essence of American urban experience—in black and white—make this a truly great American novel.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] trenchant, slyly humorous debut novel…Masterfully orchestrated and deeply disturbing illustrations of the depth of the racial divide play out…McCall nails [the] details again and again, and the results, if less than hopeful, are poignant and grimly funny.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Mirron Willis relates this sensitive and often disturbing story of a white couple taking up residence in the largely black neighborhood of Atlanta’s Fourth Ward. The story varies in its tone and could have been a challenge for even the most experienced narrator. However, Willis is a narrator who not only assumes the identity of the story’s central character but also skillfully steps back into impartiality with the story’s omniscient narrator. Willis’ theatrical experience as a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is apparent from his deep and inspired reading, though he never allows it to sound over the top or forced. The result is a perfect combination for a memorable listening experience.”

    AudioFile

  • “McCall, author of the insightful Makes Me Wanna Holler, a meditation on the absurdity of American race relations, proves here that he’s a fine fiction writer as well. His characters are unforgettable…and it’s that narrow avoidance of catastrophe that gives the book a sort of hard-nosed optimism. Them is a well-executed and sobering examination of the tensions that can be a force for good or ill in a changing community.”

    BookPage

  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jean | 2/13/2014

    " I read this book after attending a book group at church. It is close to home as I know what it is like to move into a neighborhood in transition. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacie | 2/8/2014

    " Work book club choice... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 2/5/2014

    " Great take on the other side of the fence of racial issues related to gentrification. Great book for discussion (though may be heated). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maicie | 1/28/2014

    " I'd like to give this another half star. I'm still trying to update my book list since joining this site and remembered I had read this awhile ago. Since I can't remember details I have to assume that the book wasn't all that memorable for me...thus the 3 stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Arshan Ahmad | 1/21/2014

    " An excellent look at gentrification in an Atlanta society. This book deals with racism, and its detrimental effects on people who choose to succumb, as well as those who try to help. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 1/6/2014

    " As others have said in reviews, the setting and premise set this up to be a compelling read, but the characters, other than Barlowe, just aren't very believable. I do think that McCall captured the atmosphere of the neighborhood and the painful disintegration of the black community, like he's much better at describing the situation than writing a story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barbara | 1/3/2014

    " Not one nice white person in his story? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lois | 1/3/2014

    " An interesting story about two different races and how they view one another in an old historic neighborhood in Atlanta. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Terri | 1/3/2014

    " I wanted to love this story. Sadly, the characters were weakly drawn, there were parts that just didn't make sense with the story, and the dialogue was stilted. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki | 11/29/2013

    " a look at a Atlanta black neighborhood, that is being taken over by "whites" in a current day setting. How the black think and try to deal with this invasion. Good "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dotty | 11/10/2013

    " I found this book to be interesting. "Them" depends on who you are. It was sad and unfortunate. I wish all people could live together but I'm not so sure they can. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wendy | 10/24/2013

    " I didn't love this book but I didn't hate it either. It was actually kind of boring to me. Sandy drove me crazy. If the author was trying to write her as a kind empathetic characther working to bind racial ties he failed miserably b/c to me she came across as pathetic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 10/11/2013

    " I re-read this book for the Library discussion meeting. Somehow I was a lot more depressed by it the second reading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Savannah Hendricks | 9/23/2013

    " awful...poorly written "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carefree Toni | 7/5/2013

    " Interesting turn of events. I like the alternate view of race relations and how "them" can be ANYBODY. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Margaret | 3/5/2013

    " Great topic - horrible book. Second book I have ever quit reading... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Psalm | 1/1/2013

    " The story line caught my interest yet the characters were basically cut out stereotypes that didn't keep my interest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nandita | 10/6/2012

    " I found this book to be entertaining (being able to relate to the neighborhood references), thought-provoking (mildly), and funny (but I'm not sure it was supposed to be), though character development was unbelievable and shallow. The ending is ridiculous. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Adrienna | 6/29/2012

    " I could not get into this book... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karla Leskovsky | 4/19/2012

    " (Audio) Loved the perspective in which this novel is narrated. Didn't hurt that the reader was excellent, too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 8/6/2011

    " This book breaks down the topic of gentrification in a painful though thorough way. The reader is set up to empathize with all of the characters, seeing the humanity and pain of the past, present, and future. I love love love it and absolutely recommend this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 5/9/2011

    " Good story, but a little slow and scattered at times. I guess I was hoping for something more.... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 H. | 12/13/2010

    " Reminds me of some of the Walter Mosley tales that tell of unhappy men in large unban cities that are unsure of what they want to do with their lives and tend to dislike and distance everyone around them. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carefree Toni | 12/9/2010

    " Interesting turn of events. I like the alternate view of race relations and how "them" can be ANYBODY. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karla | 11/1/2010

    " (Audio) Loved the perspective in which this novel is narrated. Didn't hurt that the reader was excellent, too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dotty | 10/7/2010

    " I found this book to be interesting. "Them" depends on who you are. It was sad and unfortunate. I wish all people could live together but I'm not so sure they can. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Terri | 7/31/2010

    " I wanted to love this story. Sadly, the characters were weakly drawn, there were parts that just didn't make sense with the story, and the dialogue was stilted. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 6/16/2010

    " Decent...not as gritty o rin-depth as I expected from Nathan McCall, but it still hit all the key points. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Toshana | 3/9/2010

    " This novel should be read by every American for empathy and understanding of where we are in America today, particularly since our president is black. Blacks need to understand them and whites need to understand us. "Them" is a perfect springboard for this conversation to begin. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 11/4/2009

    " The compelling story of the expected conflicts when white families begin moving into the the Old Fourth Ward, an historical African American area of Atlanta. Interesting reflections on race relations, as well as lots of local Atlanta references. "

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About the Author
Author Nathan McCall

Nathan McCall, author of Them and Makes Me Wanna Holler, has worked as a journalist for the Washington Post. Currently he teaches African-American studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

About the Narrator

Mirron Willis—actor of film, stage, and television—is the winner of the prestigious Audie Award for best narration in 2012 and a finalist for the Audie in 2015, as well as the winner of four AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audiobook recordings. He has worked extensively in film and television and on stage with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Houston Shakespeare Festival, and the Ensemble Theatre, among others. He has recorded some 150 audiobooks, including the Smokey Dalton series by Kris Nelscott and My Song by Harry Belafonte. He resides and records audiobooks on his family’s historic ranch in East Texas.