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The Invention of Wings Audiobook

The Invention of Wings: A Novel

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, January 2014 - The Invention of Wings is a powerful, sweeping novel set in the American Deep South during the nineteenth century inspired by real events. Sarah Grimke is the middle daughter - the one her mother calls difficult and her father calls remarkable. On her eleventh birthday, Hetty 'Handful' Grimke is taken from the slave quarters she shares with her mother, wrapped in lavender ribbons, and presented to Sarah as a gift. Sarah knows what she does next will unleash a world of trouble… putting into motion the kind of change that never comes easy. The Invention of Wings evokes a world of shocking contrasts, of beauty and ugliness, of righteous people living daily with cruelty they fail to recognize; and celebrates the power of friendship and sisterhood against all the odds. I was hesitant to keep this book as my personal pick for January after I heard it became the next selection for Oprah’s Bookclub 2.0. After all, what more could a book ask for? But as I dug deeper and read more and more of this novel I could not let it go. It is truly one of those rare books that, in my opinion, hit all the marks of great writing: Lush language full of imagery set within as story profoundly grounded in the real world where the characters become a part of you. I can’t wait to re-live the book in audio with narrator Jenna Lamia (The Secret Lives of Bees, The Help) and actress Adepero Oduye (12 Years a Slave) taking on the roles of Sarah and Hetty - I can’t think of better voices for these characters. What an amazing way to kick-off 2014! —Tricia, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women.

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

©2014 Sue Monk Kidd (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"Narrators Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye are well matched in talent; their performances of Kidd's dual-viewpoint fictionalized story of Sarah Grimké and her handmaid, Handful, complement each other perfectly. Both Lamia and Oduye adopt an accent and rhythm that befit the social status of their characters, modifying their voices subtly as the two protagonists grow from innocent girls to world-weary middle-aged women. Lamia keys in on Grimké's frustrations and victories in her fight for both abolition and women's rights, making it easy for listeners to sympathize with Grimké's difficult choices. Oduye's interpretation of Handful's personality, including her pride as a skilled seamstress and her yearning for freedom and self-identity, helps listeners connect emotionally to the slave. Together the narrators have created a stellar audiobook." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    ReliableReader corvallis, oregon 05-09-15
    ReliableReader corvallis, oregon 05-09-15

    kismet critic

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    5
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    "Best book I've read this year!"

    This book not only met but exceeded my expectations. The narration was wonderful and the storyline was spellbinding. Sue Monk Kidd continues to weave some of the best stories I've ever read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurel 05-07-15
    Laurel 05-07-15

    I am a retired teacher who listens because she is vision impaired and can no longer read. I love history, a touch of fantasy, and mystery!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Heart-rending and hopeful!"

    This book, The Invention of Wings will join Uncle Tom's Cabin and H.B.Stowe's other great book about the great Dread Swamp as one in a trio of greats on my reading list. In some ways it offers a slightly "sanitized" version of slavery that the people of high culture in Charleston might not even be shamed by; that makes it all the more horrifying when you hear the white mistress's rationalizations for Charlotte's story quilt. While H.B. Stowe drives the reader to his/her knees with the most horrifying examples of slavery, S. M. Kidd guides us each gently, inviting us to love a story and characters and allowing us to see how we might play and rationalize our own roles in established debauchery. Nothing makes it more real than the elder mistress agreeing to free certain slaves at her death. A confession of guilt - but one that will not inconvenience her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra Dawn Carr 05-06-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Truly Wonderful"

    One of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to. I didn't want to stop listening. The narrators were outstanding and I will start looking for any audiobooks they are a part of.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LLA 05-01-15
    LLA 05-01-15 Member Since 2015
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    29
    5
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    "This book will have you crying and laughing!!"

    Such an amazing story the needed to be told. So thank you Sue Kidd for doing so. I enjoyed ever inch of this book!!! I even re read it, because I was sure that I overlooked some details. There are so many layers to this book. But very artfully written, well executed. I would and have told everyone I know "read this book!"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Make Magic 04-29-15
    Make Magic 04-29-15
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    "Love it"

    Amazing narration
    Book exceeded expectation
    Really enjoyed Characters and history incorporated in to the story
    Moving, enjoyable, eye opening, although difficult to read of the torture that took place - slavery is something we must never forget and never repeat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy Smith Concord, NC USA 04-28-15
    Tracy Smith Concord, NC USA 04-28-15 Member Since 2011
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    10
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    "Excellent"

    This is an excellent book! Sue Monk Kidd is an amazing storyteller. Historical fiction done the right way. The narration was superb!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy 04-24-15
    Kathy 04-24-15
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    "Entertaining and educational"

    I couldn't wait to listen to this book every time I had a moment. Best in a while.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie 04-24-15
    Debbie 04-24-15 Member Since 2012
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    "A great book"

    This book was gripping, interesting, believable and rich in descriptive language. I could not put it down and, after reading how Sue Monk Kidd came to write this book, it was even more interesting to me - enough to merit a second round of reading enjoyment!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra 04-24-15
    Sandra 04-24-15
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    "Fabulous and beautiful book"

    I love this book-I have read it three times-the story is intriguing, heart full, soulful, and thoroughly enjoyable. I could not put it down and I loved the weaving of history with the story. It was absolutely beautiful and I would read many more like this. Excellent job on the audible reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Achterman 04-23-15
    Achterman 04-23-15
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    5
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    "Great historical fiction"

    Lovely readers who made the history come alive. We all need to learn our history through people who lived real lives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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