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Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings  By  cover art

Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings

By: Stephen O'Connor
Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini,Lizan Mitchell,Michael Early
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Publisher's summary

A bold, deeply moving, and highly imaginative debut novel about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, in whose story the conflict between the American ideal of equality and the realities of slavery and racism played out in the most tragic of terms.

In his vivid, original, and heartrending account of the 37-year relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, one that began in Paris in 1789 and ended with Jefferson's death in 1826, Stephen O'Connor manages to be unsparing in his rendition of the hypocrisy of the slaveholder who wrote "all men are created equal" and yet allow both of his protagonists their tender, beautiful, and deeply human moments. This is a novel in which nothing is what it seems, in which innocence shares the heart with evil.

O'Connor's tale alternates among lush realism rendered with a historian's eye for detail, a first-person confession penned by Hemings after Jefferson has passed away, and fabulistic interludes in which Jefferson watches a movie about his life. Hemings fabricates an "invention" that becomes the whole world, and they run into each other "after an unimaginable length of time" on the New York City subway. Fundamentally, Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings is a story about yearning - for love, for justice, for an ideal world - and about the survival of hope, even in the midst of catastrophe.

©2016 Stephen O'Connor (P)2016 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings

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Dream on...

Would you try another book from Stephen O'Connor and/or the narrators?

Maybe

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sally Hemings

Which scene was your favorite?

Every time Sally said, "You'll make me HATE you!"

Was Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings worth the listening time?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Just finished listening to another Jefferson-Hemings novel. This one, much like a dream, recounted vignettes of their lives, wholly out of order especially at the beginning. This was disconcerting to me, but I finally got a handle on what was going on. There were also some completely fabricated scenes that could not have possibly happened during their lifetimes, like riding on a subway. However, since the author did read several Jefferson non-fictions before he wrote the "Dreams" book, it did contain plenty of truths, a few of which I didn't know. The problem was, though, were these truths? Or dreams? It was hard for me to tell, but I ended up liking the book. Was that because of the male reader Ballerini's beautiful reading? That, also, is up for debate. You could just wrap yourself up in his voice.

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautifully Written and Performed

I was mesmerized. Every word, every emotion drew me in. I felt every conflicted emotion in Jefferson, the love-hate relationship Sally found herself in. There are so many levels to this performance. Beautiful!

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful!

Best audiobook I’ve had the pleasure to listen to. A delightful perfect story, perfect narration. This book made me cry, laugh, learn and love my fellow humans. We are all trying but life is so hard and unfair.

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1 person found this helpful

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Confusing

This book jumps around too much and was just confusing. Past then dreams next to present where the historical figures are on the subway...NOT A FAN!

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1 person found this helpful

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Love it!!

I wanted to read this book for a long time. As I progress further into my family’s genealogy I realized how far my history went into Virginia making me want to know more about Thomas Jefferson and Sally.
I like the author thoughts of Sally’s feelings. I didn’t expect that. Yes I would recommend this book to my book club.

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The worst !

Lost interest quickly! Do not like the format used. Obviously not my kind of book.

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It is all over the place

Found this hard to follow...painful even. I thought is was going to be very different. I was disappointed..

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