We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
The Darling | [Russell Banks]

The Darling

The Darling is Hannah Musgrave's story, told emotionally and convincingly years later by Hannah herself. A political radical and member of the Weather Underground, Hannah has fled America to West Africa, where she and her Liberian husband become friends and colleagues of Charles Taylor, the notorious warlord and now ex-president of Liberia. When Taylor leaves for the United States in an effort to escape embezzlement charges, he's immediately placed in prison.
Regular Price:$31.93
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Mary Beth Hurt's performance of this novel is simply marvelous. As an aging revolutionary she recounts her sins and her fate with controlled intensity. So perfectly attuned is she to the rhythm of Russell Bank's fine prose that I often lingered in my driveway with the rest of my carpool, just to finish whatever chapter we were on. –Corey Thrasher

Publisher's Summary

The Darling is Hannah Musgrave's story, told emotionally and convincingly years later by Hannah herself. A political radical and member of the Weather Underground, Hannah has fled America to West Africa, where she and her Liberian husband become friends and colleagues of Charles Taylor, the notorious warlord and now ex-president of Liberia. When Taylor leaves for the United States in an effort to escape embezzlement charges, he's immediately placed in prison. Hannah's encounter with Taylor in America ultimately triggers a series of events whose momentum catches Hannah's family in its grip and forces her to make a heartrending choice.

Set in Liberia and the United States from 1975 through 1991, The Darling is a political/historical thriller, reminiscent of Graham Greene and Joseph Conrad, that explodes the genre, raising serious philosophical questions about terrorism, political violence, and the clash of races and cultures.

©2004 Russell Banks; (P)2004 BBC Audiobooks America, Inc. & HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner, Fiction (Unabridged), 2005

"A rich and complex look at the searing connections between the personal and the political, this is one of Banks's most powerful novels yet." (Publishers Weekly)
"Banks brings the full weight of his storytelling genius and psychological perceptiveness to a novel as compulsively readable as it is eviscerating in its dramatization of cultural divides, political mayhem, psychotic violence, and profound alienation." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (312 )
5 star
 (107)
4 star
 (121)
3 star
 (47)
2 star
 (23)
1 star
 (14)
Overall
3.9 (77 )
5 star
 (29)
4 star
 (21)
3 star
 (19)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.1 (74 )
5 star
 (32)
4 star
 (29)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Ellen Petersham, MA, United States 02-05-05
    Ellen Petersham, MA, United States 02-05-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    101
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "Complex and compelling"

    I have been listening to Audiobooks for years and this has been one of my favorite books. First of all, even though I know better, I could not believe that the author was not a woman. The constant shifting of focus from social behavior - both human and animal - to the individual conscience, was stunning. This book will appeal to readers who love politics, stories about different cultures, mysteries and wonderful character development. I am going to buy the book and read it again, something I seldom do. This book is really a masterpiece.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Kingsburg,, CA, United States 01-05-05
    Lee Kingsburg,, CA, United States 01-05-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    135
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "extraordinary and beautiful"

    Russell Banks is one of our greatest novelists in the English Language. His body of work shows an artistry with the language that few others meet.

    This novel ranks with Cloudsplitter. Banks' characters are flawed people, but the reader is enriched and enlighted by listening or reading them come to terms with their lives.

    In Darling Banks explores what it means to be moral by exploring complicated lives led fully. He brings a deep mediation on lyalty, empathy, language, social change, and loveas his main character explores her life.

    The narration is nearly perfect. This is an excedllent audio experience.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Ardsley, NY, USA 09-12-05
    Eric Ardsley, NY, USA 09-12-05 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    72
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Smart, rich, and beautifully read"

    This is one of the finest audio titles that I have had the pleasure to hear in more than a decade of listening. I had not been familiar with Russell Banks beyond having heard the name, but I had Liberian friends who lived through the disastrous past two decades. The Darling's premise is not very promising: the first person telling by radicalized daughter of privilege (sorry for all the "pr's"...) of the horror of the Liberian collapse. As it turns out, Russell Banks paints a complex portrait of a woman with all her contradictory impulses who penetrates into the "heart of darkness." I found it delicate, moving, even funny. The reading is superb, not intrusive but colorful and varied. I can't recommend this highly enough.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Littman OH 11-27-05
    D. Littman OH 11-27-05 Member Since 2003

    history buff

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1315
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    600
    155
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    169
    3
    Overall
    "wonderfully read, wonderfully written"

    This book by Russell Banks is a powerful volume, with particular resonance for, I believe, members of the baby-boomer generation, with [formerly] radical pretensions & an interest in third world developments. I found a remarkable number of parallels with episodes in my own life (of long ago, frankly) ... college, belief systems, foreign travel, interests.

    In narrow terms, this is the story of a one-time member of the SDS Weather Underground, who ends up escaping from the US to Africa, marries into the Liberian autocracy, lives through the bloody civil war of the late-1980s & 1990s. It is reminiscent of Graham Greene (e.g., the Comedians), but more powerful & more intimate. Hanna is not an alienated foreign observer of the same ilk as most of Greene's protagonists. It is reminiscent of Naipaul, but told from an American's perspective rather than a british-third-world perspective.

    This is extremely well narrated and very difficult to put down. Recommended highly.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Trumbull, CT, USA 09-20-05
    Joshua Trumbull, CT, USA 09-20-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Superb narration for a terrific story"

    This is one of the best, if not the best, title I have listened to on Audible. The voice of the central character seemed very authentic to me, as she described both the external conflicts going on in Liberia and the heartrending internal conflicts and contradictions going on inside of her. In addition, Mary Beth Hurt does an amazing job with the narration!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eve Breckenridge Calistoga, Ca United States 12-30-04
    Eve Breckenridge Calistoga, Ca United States 12-30-04 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    54
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "well crafted book"

    I loved his writing style as well as leaning a lot about Africa. surprises abound. I felt a tenderness toward characters that in real life I might not take the time to know. Master storyteller.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil Johnson Walnut Creek, CA USA 02-26-08
    Phil Johnson Walnut Creek, CA USA 02-26-08 Member Since 2007

    #1 Aud Bks: T Help,T Darling, All D Sedaris,Prayer for Owen M.All G Flynn ,Secrt Lang of Bees, Bel Canto, 11/22/63 H2O fr Elephants Dog Star

    HELPFUL VOTES
    32
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    81
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    25
    Overall
    "Unexpectedly great book"

    I downloaded this expecting another book. One of the best books I have experienced on audio. The reader does an excellent job, the story is fascinating, the writing is some of the best I have read recently.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Venice, FL, USA 06-29-08
    David Venice, FL, USA 06-29-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Brilliant!"

    Banks' hugely ambitious, yet emotionally introspective novel is brilliantly complemented by Hurt's compelling reading. One of the finest audiobooks I have heard!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim San Diego, CA, United States 03-06-07
    Jim San Diego, CA, United States 03-06-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    345
    24
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "What a Surprise!"

    As I looked through the Audible collection, something about this book caught my attention and made me buy it. I knew nothing of the author or the story but I am so glad that I gave it a chance.

    As a "radical" child of the sixties, I could relate to the life-progression of the main character. Her experiences were moving and very well presented. The narrator was excellent, too, and I would highly reccommend the book .

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill New Paltz, NY, USA 05-08-05
    Bill New Paltz, NY, USA 05-08-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    68
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "really, very good"

    Russell Banks is an excellent writer and this book is an excellent listen. It is very well read and the sound/engineering is very good. Banks' characters are drawn with unromatic honesty, sometimes a bit harshly, but that is true to the perceptions of the narrator. This would probably be a good book club selection, lot of fodder for chatter. No one in this book makes a truly human connection with anyone else and in some way that undercuts the horror of the completely benighted mayhem that overtakes them. But the context is good and the pacing in subtle but very effective, you will be moved when he wants you to feel something. Whereas it is a totally engrossing book, I am still stuck on the fact that Hannah never did really want to find her sons.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 30 results PREVIOUS123NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.