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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

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Performance
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  •  
    RedGreen 07-22-15
    RedGreen 07-22-15 Listener Since 2003
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    "Excellent story"

    One of my favorites this year for sure-- couldn't stop listening to it and hated for it to end. Exceptional narration, and a wonderful story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Renee 07-21-15
    Renee 07-21-15
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    "Historical fiction at its finest!"

    Although I was not at first interested in reading yet another novel about slavery, this was a surprise. I tend to be too sensitive when it comes to human mutilation and degradation stories and would rather be uplifted. I feel there is enough atrocities in this life and I would rather focus on the positive. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go in this area. That being said, the author took real characters from history and wove them with fiction to give the reader a life like depiction of what life back then must have been like. The Gremkey sisters were pioneers for women's rights and the anti-slavery movement. The only way for evil to prosper is for good men AND women to do nothing. Their courage and bravery left me so inspired to want to do the same in my life. This was a wonderful story on how just two women could have such a positive impact on their society. As the saying goes: "Good girls rarely make history. "

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Janet ARLINGTON, TENNESSEE, United States 07-21-15
    Janet ARLINGTON, TENNESSEE, United States 07-21-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Loved the performance. Liked the story."
    If you could sum up The Invention of Wings in three words, what would they be?

    Thoughtful, well researched and somewhat tedious at times.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Handful was my favorite character because of the beautiful performance by Adepero Oduye.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Knerq Virginia 07-19-15
    Knerq Virginia 07-19-15

    A TBI survivor since August 2013, I strongly support Little Free Library, More Love Letters, and Postcrossing. I enjoy reading and writing.

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    "Fantastic"

    A great story filled with rich language and history. I really enjoyed the performance from start to finish. Highly recommend you listen to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    twirling dancer Seattle, Washington 07-19-15
    twirling dancer Seattle, Washington 07-19-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Beautiful historic fiction written for PG audience"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It was a good read and an interestingly woven story of fictionalized historical events. The details and dramas could have been more explicit and were generally glossed over like some kind of Southern courtesy. I wish the author would have taken more risks with her writing when imagining scary/horrific events and romantic moments. Overall this book is not a waste of time as a real flavor of the South is wound up in the words and the narration. The author's note at the end of the book was useful and made the book more meaningful.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    The two narrators worked in perfect harmony.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Emily 07-15-15
    Emily 07-15-15
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    "Wow! Really brings history to life."

    Incredibly well written. You really relate with the characters and the history is chilling. Having just moved to Charleston, I can't wait to drive by the Grimke house and feel the presence of Sarah and Handful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Kathy in CT 07-09-15
    Kathy in CT 07-09-15

    book addict

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    "Couldn't stop listening or reading"

    This is an eye opening book about both slavery and the first female activists. It was well written and superbly narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Sam Cox 07-09-15
    Sam Cox 07-09-15
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    "High recommendation as an audio book"

    Touching historical fiction. A story well told and woven together. Expertly told through the 2 narrators and a fascinating authors note at the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kassia R. Regehr Croatia 07-07-15
    Kassia R. Regehr Croatia 07-07-15 Member Since 2012

    Kassia Regehr

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    "Sweet book, great performers."

    This book seemed to come at a good time, the 150th anniversary of emancipation, I like to be reminded of the struggles and the heroes of that day and gather strength in my small tasks that I struggle with day to day, absolutely no comparison to what these ladies went through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Elspeth Atkinson 07-06-15
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    3
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    "Excellent"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Invention of Wings to be better than the print version?

    I did not read the book, but just listened to the audio version.


    Any additional comments?

    Loved it! Great story (based on real persons) and the reading was excellent. Kudos to both the narrators!! I highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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