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The Invention of Wings Audiobook

The Invention of Wings: A Novel

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.
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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

4.5 (11502 )
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Performance
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  •  
    CJ Miller MN 03-03-15
    CJ Miller MN 03-03-15
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    Story
    "Interesting Historical Novel"

    This book is thoughtfully written in the voice of two main characters-a slave girl and the daughter of the slave owner. I would have given it 5 stars but the middle part got a little dragged out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle ERIE, CO, United States 03-03-15
    Michelle ERIE, CO, United States 03-03-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Novel or History Book?"

    Disclaimer: I did not know this book was based on historical figures and events until the afterword.

    Well, this is an eloquently written book about people who don't really do much, seem to stay stuck in the ruts they are in and often abandon their dreams. For most of the book, it dwells on the author's invention of muses for Sarah Grimke, who was actually a fascinating woman. Unfortunately, the fascinating (and true) part of her life just begins as the book is reaching its conclusion. Kidd weaves in actual people and events (fictionalizing them for the book) and this often slows down the pace. I was very pleasantly surprised to learn in the afterword that Sarah was a real historical figure, even if most of this book is fiction; I would have been far more disappointed had this revelation not come.

    The book does a great job of describing the horrors and hopelessness of slavery, along with the political and social eggshells of America in the pre-Lincoln age. The narration is excellent. The problem is story: for a history book it spends way to much time in fiction, and for a novel it tries to hard to tie historical people and events together. Very slow pace and hapless characters - for most of the book I felt I was wading through shallow quicksand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    03-03-15
    03-03-15 Member Since 2015

    reaseypeecy

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    "This one is destined for greatness!!!!!"

    The characters were so clear that I felt like I was living the book. The story was very well portrayed and so real. I would highly recommend this to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Schreuder 03-01-15 Member Since 2014
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    10
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    "Aftican-American Historical Fiction"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Invention of Wings to be better than the print version?

    I like the audio version for the linguistic sound of African American speech


    What did you like best about this story?

    Characters well developed


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    linguistic natural voice sounds


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tinafl 02-27-15
    tinafl 02-27-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Wonderful Historical Novel"
    What did you love best about The Invention of Wings?

    I loved the story, the real parts, the parts she created. Its a great novel


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Invention of Wings?

    The development of Sarah's character


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Sarah


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending


    Any additional comments?

    Just a great, great book and the narration is spot on!!! Heddy and Sarah are wonderful!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KS North Carolina 02-27-15
    KS North Carolina 02-27-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Loved the story and the reading"

    I enjoyed the two people who read the book. The story was engaging and very well done. The research Susan Monk Kidd does is exceptional!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mreenstringbean 02-27-15
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    "One of the best"

    I absolutely loved this book. I feel so bummed that it's over. The historical aspect of this is what made this book so special, not to mention the AMAZING writing. The reading of Sarah and handful by the narrators that were chosen made this book hit the 5 star mark for me. They brought the characters to life in a way I haven't experienced in an audio book thus far. Can't wait till it's a movie!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric 02-26-15
    Eric 02-26-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Heart breaking and healing"

    Great writing. Excellent narration. Love the tempo, story structure and and characterizations. Kidd does well to develop two distinctly different personalities and the intricacies of their relationship to each other and the world around them. A great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katy Baker 02-26-15
    Katy Baker 02-26-15 Member Since 2015
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    "BEST audiobook I've heard!"

    I absolutely loved this book! I loved that it was a long story you could commit to. Now that I have heard it I can't imagine having read it. Both narrators were so convincing you immediately felt like you understood their character! I felt like you knew where each girl would end up but following their journeys left you hopeful and excited! I will recommend this to everyone!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boakman 02-25-15
    Boakman 02-25-15

    Boakman

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    "Excellent Listen"

    I don't usually review books but this one was a wonderful story well narrated. The characters were well drawn, the storyline fascinating and the narrator did a fine job of bringing it all to life. I also enjoyed the author's notes at the end. Very enjoyable book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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