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Download Where the Line Bleeds Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Where the Line Bleeds Audiobook, by Jesmyn Ward Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (107 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jesmyn Ward Narrator: Myra Lucretia Taylor Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2008 ISBN: 9781440790584
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Joshua and Christophe are twins, raised by a blind grandmother and a large extended family in a rural town on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. They’ve just finished high school and need to find jobs, but in a failing post-Katrina economy, it’s not easy.

Joshua gets work on the docks, but Christophe’s not so lucky. Desperate to alleviate the family’s poverty, he starts to sell drugs. He can hide it from his grandmother but not his twin, and the two grow increasingly estranged. Christophe’s downward spiral is accelerated first by crack, then by the reappearance of the twins’ parents: Cille, who abandoned them, and Sandman, a creepy, predatory addict. Sandman taunts Christophe, eventually provoking a shocking confrontation that will ultimately damn or save both twins.

Author Ward inhabits these characters, and this world—black Creole, poor, and drug-riddled, yet shored by family and community—to a rare degree, without a trace of irony or distance.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A fresh new voice in American literature, Ward unflinchingly describes a world full of despair but not devoid of hope.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A resonant novel for any reader.”


  • “Bursting with life—joyous, loving, frustrated and furious—Where the Line Bleeds marks the forceful debut of an exceptional new talent. Jesmyn Ward's vision is at once searingly honest and sweepingly empathetic. Her vibrant portrait of a Mississippi Gulf Coast town is peopled by some of the most movingly, achingly human characters I've encountered in fiction in years.”

    Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl

  • “Jesmyn Ward's debut novel is eloquent in its description of young lives at risk; she's authoritative both when writing of the doomed and prospect of salvation. The lyric gifts displayed in Where The Line Bleeds are very impressive indeed, and the world evoked—the rural south, with its complex web of family devotion and betrayal—is vivid from first page to last. A major talent here.”

    Nicholas Delbanco, author of Spring and Fall, and The Count of Concord

  • “The plot is as leisurely as a hot Mississippi summer day, and although not much happens until the somewhat violent and surprising ending, this fully realized character study will appeal to teens who can see themselves here or who are interested in discovering realities far from their own lives.”

    School Library Journal

  • “Lushly descriptive prose…with stunning precision. Her prodigious talent and fearless portrayal of a world too often overlooked make her novel a powerful choice for our seventeenth Essence Book Club Recommended Read.”


  • “A lyrical yet clear-eyed portrait of a rural South and an African American reality that are rarely depicted.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A richly textured tale...like the best fiction, [it] creates its own world.”

    New Orleans Times-Picayune

  • Recipient of the 2009BCALA Literary Award

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 9/8/2013

    " Really 3.5 -- so much to admire, incredible sense of place and character. So moved by relationship between boys and Mamee. Plot did not move me as much as I would have liked. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea thalasinos | 6/2/2013

    " Beautiful writing but it seemed to drag. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren Lastrapes | 11/24/2012

    " Oh wow, I finished this a million years ago. It was wonderful! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adam Rust | 10/27/2011

    " This is a great book. It really has a feeling for place. In this case, its the coast of the Mississippi River, near New Orleans. Its a story about two brothers, out of school and ready to start their lives. People should give this book a try. Its worth it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anastasia | 6/3/2011

    " Jesmyn Ward writes really well-- she has great attention to detail and makes her characters, their actions, and their landscape very easy to imagine. The lifestyle and language of her characters stand in sharp contrast to her beautiful writing, making a very interesting and complex contrast. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 bruin | 5/24/2011

    " gorgeous and haunting. nuanced detail. felt like i could taste the food and smell the air and feel the sweat dripping down my back. sometimes lost the story line for all the detail she captured, but still recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 3/15/2011

    " Ward has become one of my favorite authors. I love her character development. Beautiful writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Khadhyja | 2/1/2011

    " This was a really good book. It follows a set of twins directly after graduating high school with no job prospects in a economically depressed area. It's a story of choices and the consequences of those choices. I highly recommend it. "

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About the Author
Author Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and was a recipient of a Stegner Fellowship, a John and Renee Grisham Writers Residency, and the Strauss Living Prize. She is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award. She is also the author of the memoir, Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Media for a Just Society Award. She is an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University.

About the Narrator

Myra Lucretia Taylor is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and an actress who has appeared on Broadway in Macbeth, Electra, Mule Bone, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Nine, for which she won a Tony Award. Her film and television credits include Law & Order, OZ, Changing Lanes, Unfaithful, and Everyone Says I Love You.