From the celebrated author of the international best seller The Secret Life of Bees comes an extraordinary novel about two exceptional women.
Sarah Grimké is the middle daughter. The one her mother calls difficult and her father calls remarkable. On Sarah's 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. She also knows that she cannot accept. And so, indeed, the trouble begins ...
A powerful, sweeping novel, inspired by real events, and set in the American Deep South in the nineteenth century, The Invention Of Wings evokes a world of shocking contrasts, of beauty and ugliness, of righteous people living daily with cruelty they fail to recognise; and celebrates the power of friendship and sisterhood against all the odds.
©2014 Sue Monk Kidd (P)2014 Headline Digital
Both the theme of people able to see right from wrong against all odds in the society they have been brought up in and in spite of it ostracizing them within their family, friends and community at large, along with the strength and endurance of the spirit during unspeakable circumstances.
They both narrated beautifully but I particularly love to listen to Jenna Lamia; I've heard her narrate before and she is mesmerising. If I had read the book instead it would have been fabulous but I would have missed out on the pleasure of hearing both of their lovely voices.
The whole book moved me.
I loved The Secret Lives Of Bees but this was even better.
Yes I would listen to it again - I have now classified this as one of my favourite books.
yes, but I had to listen over a period of time.
The beautiful voices of the chosen readers for each of the child characters.
Perhaps I'd compare it with Martin Zusak's The Book Thief. Both books choose the most difficult and shameful times in our histories in the world. And both books give the histories over to the voices of children; the simplicity and justice of the minds of children. The preservation and perpetuation of attitudes are shown to us by these girls. Each book reveals the vital importance of imagination as a tool for survival through impossible circumstances.
Oh, they were perfect. I could imagine each girl as she spoke.
I cannot imagine this story called by any other name. The invention of wings is what it is all about. We all have wings when we choose, or need, to use them.
I have listened to this book many times already. I will listen many more times. Both voices are compelling, like listening to the lyrics of a very long saga from two very different points of view. Opposing sides. Slavery is a distasteful subject historically. These girls, from opposing sides of the enslavement fence, can never be equal, no matter how they would both like it to be. Hence the invention of wings.
Yes - there is depth and complexity in the historical narrative and the character development that is likely to reveal more on a second listening. The cultural issues it explores (race, gender & class inequities) still impact Western society, if less explicitly. It is also very well written and read.
All of the characters are drawn with depth, and even the less heroic or likeable characters play thoughfully against the main protagonists.
I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!
I would listen again.. it was a beautiful story
The Housemaid's Daughter, 12 Years a slave. The book leads us on a tale of slavery and "below stairs" that is overlooked.
The two different stories of the "above stairs" and "below stairs". The different perspectives that each young woman has on life.
It had a languid poignancy to it that led you into a well woven story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. IT was well written and very well narrated.. Makes me want to quilt a story of my own..
I couldn't put it down. The characters lived with me and I missed them when I was not listening to the book. Beautifully read.
The contrast between the two strong female characters.
"The Invention of Wings"
Yes - the story is based on true events during the lead up to the US Civil War. It is told from 2 points of view, a slave girl and the child she is 'given' to who is age 11. This young girl Sarah is bright, thoughtful and sensitive. Her abilities are stifled by the over-riding desire of her parents for her to fit into society.
This is difficult to answer without giving away the story. The story swings from the pampered world of the plantation owners who lack all humanity towards their slaves and the slave quarters themselves. The exception is the young daughter, Sarah, who understands, intrinsically, that slavery is wrong. She has to live within the South's society all the while hating what it stands for. Eventually she leaves for the North leaving young Handful behind. Meanwhile we watch Handful grow up, see her hopeless situation and witness her mother's brutal punishment for running away. Of course with Sarah in the North Handful begins to think there may be a chance for her to reach freedom too.
The performances are well done and sound distinct from each other. The characters of Sarah and Handful are very different so having varying voices helped. The character of Sarah has a speech problem and this was handled well, Meanwhile Handful's strength and endurance comes through her 'voice' too.
Yes if I had enough time all at once!
Sue Monk Kydd is a consistent author and with this book she is definitely hitting high standards. I had no idea that Sarah and her sister , Nina, were real people.
couldn't be bettered
when Handful was "given" as a birthday present.....
Their emotions, their interpretations, their warmth in the words, that me as the listener actually felt, breathed, imbibed the South, thru their words and accents
my emotional reaction was one of wonder - the story a rollercoaster, stayed in my head even when not listening
I have to say that this is without doubt my "read" of the year
Full of wonderful history form a much different perspective. So well done, and read perfectly, I really enjoyed this book.
Both fantastic readers, authentic accents and so well read
The one-legged punishment
Unique, an unusual account of both white and black POV of slavery. Not just another slave story
"Slavery up close and personal"
I got this as in Top Ten New York bestsellers. I felt the narration was good and added to the story. I had never heard of Sarah or Nina and their role in the push for abolition of slavery.It was interesting the way that the story is told in turn by Handful and Sarah. I did feel that it dragged a bit and Sarah especially with her supposed high intellect was very annoying at times with the things and situations she accepted. I did enjoy the book and would recommend it but would not be in my top 10 reads.
"A wonderful listen"
gripping moving story
Handful, I cried with her.
The voices are perfect, the way they speak matches the characters so well.
A truly wonderful book, the second I have listened to by this author. I had to find excuses to get time on my own to enjoy as much as possible. I found myself not getting out of the car once arriving at my destination so I could listen to just a little more!
"One of the best books I've ever read (listened to)"
Highly recommended! This book tells a gripping story based on fact. It is well written and excellently read. The story is told from two sides throughout, giving it depth of insight.
My favourite character has to be Sarah or Handful... I cannot choose between them.
No I haven't heard these actresses read before, but they did an excellent job.
Many moments moved me – too many to relate. The book ends on an open note and I am left wondering what happened to Hetty and Sky. My favourite version is that they reached freedom, but it seems unlikely.
The author's epilogue was helpful in explaining how much of the story was true and how much was fiction.
This is the first fictional novel I've listened to on audiable and I loved it.
The way each of the 2 main characters read their own parts. It makes it so much more interesting to listen to
There are so many memorable moments in the book it would be hard to name one. One was when Handful was given to Sarah as her maid and a funny one was when Handful made herself at home in Sarah's room, even having a bath in her tub. Handful is such a good character. The description of the 'patchwork blanket' made by Handful's mother was brilliant. I would love to see one of these.
I just love Jenna Lamias voice. She is of the reasons I chose to listen to this as she was so brilliant as the narrator of Skeetar in 'The Help'. Adepero Oduye's voice was lovely and mellow. They were both perfect narrators.
What Sarah went through to try to liberate the slaves, she was so brave. Also the punishment that the slaves had to endure for such menial errors, as if they were animals or sub human. Makes you amazed that this sort of thing actually happened.
I actually didn't realise until near the end that this story was actually based on fact and that Sarah Grinke was a real person who did fight for the liberation of slaves and also for womens rights. The authors comments at the end of the book were really interesting and I have looked up a lot of the information she mentioned. EXCELLENT!!
This book captured me from the first moment, a little slow in places but maybe that reflected the times. But so very moving and beautifully written.
Also loved the piece from the author at the end of the book.
"Impactful, heart-wrenching journey"
After having only listened to fast-paced stories before I was unsure about this relatively slow journey through these two women's lives, however the story gripped me and I felt like I was there inside their lives.
The scenes I most enjoyed were those in which the women were at their most forceful.
a bid for freedom
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