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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

4.6 (12301 )
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Performance
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  •  
    J. Berry 04-11-15
    J. Berry 04-11-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Great book"

    The research was excellent based on true historical facts. Great listening very good narrator. I highly recommend this book Read it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keri Lawrence 04-11-15
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    1
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    "Great book!"

    To have of glimpse of the past and to be able to better understand what occurred is always liberating and inspiring! What courage these sisters had! I'm glad I've been able to come to know two woman American heroes!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leah 04-10-15
    Leah 04-10-15
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    47
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    "Beautiful Illustration"

    This story was heart felt and gut wrenching all at the same time. Slavery was such a horrible part of the South.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    paula HInsdale, MA, United States 04-10-15
    paula HInsdale, MA, United States 04-10-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Sensational"

    I love historical fiction , and this book is just about one of the best I've ever read.As a young girl I read Uncle Tom's Cabin, as well as any other book about slavery and racism I could find. Something in my heart broke for all those enslaved people. I am glad that all these years later that Sue Monk Kidd has brought this subject back in her novel so people never forget the horror of slavery in America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Tara 04-09-15
    Tara 04-09-15
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    "I couldn't stop listening..... wonderful book!!!!"

    I fully enjoyed this book. I couldn't "put it down".... and then to learn that it's inspired by true events and individuals has me planning to hear it again and soon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Devin 04-09-15
    Devin 04-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent historical novel and narration"

    The best part of the book was the post script from the author sharing the historical context for the story
    Amazing narration

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Myra Albuquerque, NM, United States 04-08-15
    Myra Albuquerque, NM, United States 04-08-15 Member Since 2012
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    "A Great Story"
    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    I loved both Sarah and Handful!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to this book all in one sitting on a 700-mile journey, and hated turning it off even for gas and pit stops!


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to the author's notes at the end, how she came up with the story, how history is written in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne 04-03-15
    Suzanne 04-03-15
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    "now that's a story!"

    A great story teller, a heart wrenching, touching story,and a most entertaining history lesson on the abolition and suffrage movements. This book is A beautiful example of riveting historical fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    MOE 04-01-15
    MOE 04-01-15
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    "Repression in a well written historical fiction"

    Not typically a book I would read but have done a couple of this type lately. This touches on the repression of black slaves in the south and women in general during the early life of the United States. Helps me to appreciate our past and how easy it is for us to justify how we treat other human beings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    J. Goen Washington, D.C. 03-30-15
    J. Goen Washington, D.C. 03-30-15
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    3
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    "Captivating"

    A beautiful, though sometimes harrowing, story performed convincingly by both readers. I highly recommend to anyone interested in historical fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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