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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, The Devil's Dream is an animated, lyrical novel that is meant to be savored as spoken word. Consummate storyteller Lee Smith's creation will delight anyone who enjoys the sound of language and a good story.

Preacher's son Moses Bailey believed that the fiddle was the voice of the Devil and denied his wife the pleasure of the music she dearly loved. She fiddled for her three children behind her husband's back. Thus begins a magnificent 150-year saga of a musical Southern family featuring barn dances, medicine shows, the Grand Ole Opry, and the evolution of country music from hymns to rockabilly.

Generations of authentic, down-home mountain people spring to life, colorful dialects and all, through the magic of several extraordinary narrators. Each chapter, a story in itself, will move listeners with its passion, emotion, warmth, and intimacy.

©1992 Lee Smith; (P)1998 Recorded Books, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"In Smith's rollicking hillbilly saga about the family of a country music star, strong characters, their matter-of-fact voices, and their affection for their rustic mountain home make for a rich multigenerational tale." (Publishers Weekly)
"Warm, amusing, moving, this novel represents Smith at her best." (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Linda
  • Bethlehem, PA, USA
  • 03-20-05

Lyrical

This book was written to be listened to, each character has their own voice which brings them to life and the music enhances the story - makes you feel you are part of it. The book is a journey, with characters who are real people - both good and bad at the same time, facing life and doing the best they know how to survive it. Get this book, kick back and get ready to meet some memorible people.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Southern Soap Opera

The plot is interesting to start, but as the book drags on, the same type of characters (none likeable) reoccur in each succeeding generation. It gets tedious way before the story ends. The use of different narrators is a plus.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Several generations of a family

I thought this story told over several generations of a family of music lovers and singers was well-told. The narration was excellent, with both male and female narrators where appropriate. Tunes were sung where they occurred, and sung well. It's true that some of the story is a little soap opera-y, but I didn't think it was overdone at all. I enjoyed it quite a lot.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Such a Great Listen

I really enjoyed the telling of this story... the narration elevated the story from an okay read to folk art.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sarah
  • SEATTLE, WA, United States
  • 09-30-17

Has some wisdom in it

This book shows how people can grow foolish or wise, loving or tight and alone as they age. The century and education don't even matter. The book spans generations and families, following the thread of music. Lee smith is fabulous.

  • Overall
  • Marjorie
  • Rancho Murieta, CA, USA
  • 12-26-04

Devil's Dream is a Nightmare

I found this book to bear no resemblance to the descriptions posted. It is cornier and trashier than most bad country western tunes. The chapters run on with details that never seem to have relevance to the plot and none of the characters are attractive.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful