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Download Where the Line Bleeds Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Where the Line Bleeds, 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:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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About the Author
Author Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward won a National Book Award for her critically acclaimed novel Salvage the Bones, which also won an Alex Award in 2012. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama. Previously, she was the John and Renée Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi; she also had a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University from 2008–2010. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including A Public Space and BOMB magazine.