Deacon King Kong

A Novel
Narrated by: Dominic Hoffman
Length: 14 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: Fiction, African-American
5 out of 5 stars (92 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best seller.

"Cracking.... Terrific.... Deeply felt, beautifully written, and profoundly humane." (The New York Times Book Review cover)

"Hilarious...A rich and vivid multicultural history." (Time Magazine)

From James McBride, author of the National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird and the best-selling modern classic The Color of Water, one of the most anticipated novels of the year: a wise and witty tale about what happens to the witnesses of a shooting.

In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and in front of everybody shoots the project's drug dealer at point-blank range.

The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong, James McBride's funny, moving novel and his first since his National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird. In Deacon King Kong, McBride brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of the Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportcoat was deacon, the neighborhood's Italian mobsters, and Sportcoat himself.

As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters - caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York - overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion.

Bringing both his masterly storytelling skills and his abiding faith in humanity, James McBride has written a novel every bit as involving as The Good Lord Bird and as emotionally honest as The Color of Water. Told with insight and wit, Deacon King Kong demonstrates that love and faith live in all of us.

©2020 James McBride (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

Named one of the most anticipated books of 2020 by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, AARP, and more

"A darkly funny tale." (The New York Times)

"Perhaps you wouldn’t expect your next great read to be a sort of comic opera set in a Brooklyn housing project circa 1969 starring a drink-addled church deacon named Sportcoat, his best friend Hot Sausage and a melancholic amateur gardener with mafia ties known as the Elephant. Best put on your seat belt, because McBride (The Good Lord Bird, Five-Carat Soul) will take you on a fast, funny, farcical ride." (The Washington Post)

"McBride’s hilarious dialogue and an attention to detail reveals a complex local history. Capturing humanity through satire and witticisms, McBride draws everyday heroes." (Time)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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Me. McBride has done it again

Marvelous story. Dialogue, characters, history, sensitivity to the times. Narration beyond perfect. What a treat in these times.

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great book

Colorful and unique story. The characters are amazing. I grew up in nyc and this reminded me of the funny amazing characters and interactions of my childhood.

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Absolutely amazing!

Perfectly written and brought to life by Dominic Hoffman. Must read or listen. Whichever you prefer but do it!

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An excellent production

I am usually a nonfiction reader, but after reading reviews of this book I decided to order it. It was excellent. The dialogue in the book, the picture of New York City and it’s many races, but most of all the reading by Dominic Hoffman. It could not have been better.

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McBride is a story teller

I you are looking for academic conscious new literature McBride is not your guy. He tells a story of Brooklyn life in the projects as if you sat next to him on a train and he just began to ruminate on a man he knew called Sport Coat. The narrative fashioned as it comes to him. It is a delightful story.

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Everything I long for in a great novel!

Engrossing, engaging, entertaining--Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I was so sad it had to come to an end, but it was a perfect ending. It was bliss listening to it.

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Fantastic

I am glad I listened to it rather than read. Dialect is an important component and it added to the story.

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Stick with this one

Just a great story on all levels. Maybe a littler formula. But you won’t notice that until your finished.

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Another wonderful book by James McBride!

I loved this book and the performance by Dominic Hoffman. It takes you on a crazy journey of twists and turns. The characters are wonderful, delightfully multilayered and developed. Anyone would enjoy this book. What a banquet!

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Good Story!

Narrator was Very Enjoyable!
I was Very Impressed with the Author's storytelling!
I Highly Recommend this Thoughtful & Funny Book!