As Willa Mae's only daughter, Billy is heiress to her mother's substantial but unconfirmed fortune - a cache of jewels that Willa Mae's lover, Dill Smiles, is said to have buried with her. Dirt poor, living in a trailer with her Aunt June and Uncle Roosevelt behind a gas station in a tumbleweedy Texas town, and pregnant with an illegitimate child, Billy knows that treasure could mean salvation. So she steals Dill's pickup truck and, with her aunt and uncle in tow, heads for Arizona with Dill in hot pursuit. While everyone agrees it's only polite to speak of getting mother's body and moving her to a proper resting place, it's well understood that digging up Willa Mae's diamonds and pearls will make the whole trip a lot more worthwhile.
The enormously accomplished fiction debut from Suzan-Lori Parks, the 2002 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Getting Mother's Body takes its place in the company of the classic works of Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker. But when it comes to an ingenious, uproarious knack for depicting the trifling, hard-luck, down-and-out souls who need a little singing and laughing and lying and praying to get through the day, Suzan-Lori Parks shares the stage with no one.
©2003 Suzan-Lori Parks; (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Getting Mother's Body is a straightforward, light-footed novel with none of the bleak, doomy undertones of Faulkner's; it's just about as funny and not nearly as scary." (The New York Times)
"Though I've read countless novels, I had never read one like this." (The Washington Post)
Just so you aren't surprised (as I was), the entire book, other than the singing, is narrated in the first person by the author as a variety of poor, southern black folk in the early 1960's. It is humorous, and the diiference in point of view between the older characters and younger characters, particularly as to the evolving racial and social issues of the time, is quite interesting. At first I was somewhat put off by the narrative style, but it grew on me as I came to know the characters' personalities.
What a good book to listen to. I usually listen at work but this time I burned CD's and listened in the car. I could have done without the singing in it but I guess it added to the story. The story line was good, the characters believable. Poor Bille Beede! I felt for her and her life and wanted so much for her to have something good happen to her. I guess you will have to listen and find out in the end if Bille does get a better shake out of life!
Occasionally I listen to a book that I feel is made immensely more enjoyable by being heard as compared to being read. This is one such book. Suzan-Lori Parks has written an excellent book and has acted as an exceptional narrator/singer.
For those just wanting an interesting story, this book has that. I was very curious as to how the author was going to resolve the conflicts in the book, and I was not disappointed. If you like character sketches, you will be delighted in this book. Even if the story had not been interesting, I would have been immensely pleased just to listen to each of her characters speak. If you are a literary person and love a story uniquely told with layers to be explored, this book will interest you as well -- after all Getting Mother's Body does require some digging. I think it would be a great book for a group discussion!
My first audible book and was very satisfied.The story is well read and interesting.It's a real good mix of humor and drama.The pacing is good,I never lost interest.
I can't understand the narrow-mindedness of some of the reviews above. This is not John Grisham or Danielle Steele. This is equisitely-written, subtle and beautiful character portraits and a fully-realized, 3-dimensional plot with real lives and real people. Don't expect an action flick or a cheesy romance. There's a reason she won the Pullitzer Prize.
This is a well crafted first novel from Pulitzer-prize winning Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. Parks does her own narration and singing (with her husband on guitar), which adds a great theatricality to this audiobook.
I must have a different sense of humor than the New York Times reviewers because I found this book depressing and not remotely amusing. The story drags as the narration bounces from one character to the next; there are times when it isn't clear who is narrating. There is also singing, which was unexpected. I thought the songs should move the story forward but instead I found myself wishing I could fast forward. The person reading and singing is the author, Suzan-Lori Parks. She's not a great singer and her southern accent is inconsistent. In my two years with Audible, the books I've found the most enjoyable are read by a person with an engaging voice and the ability to do accents. I gave the book two stars rather than one because there were a couple interesting bits, but all told, it was a disappointment.
I should have stopped after the second CD did not engage me... I listened to the whole thing and it was just like a bad movie, slow, going nowhere.
Maybe if you are a blues fan, you find the pain & boredom interesting, obviously some people seemed to have enjoyed it? but if you are not into this genre WATCH OUT! Slow agony waits for you.
The songs where a bit interesting, but they do not last long.
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