The Invention Of Wings: A Novel

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The Invention Of Wings: A Novel

by Sue Monk Kidd

Viking Adult | January 7, 2014 | Hardcover

The Invention Of Wings: A Novel is rated 4.75 out of 5 by 20.
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.
 

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.58 × 6.39 × 1.23 in

Published: January 7, 2014

Publisher: Viking Adult

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0670024783

ISBN - 13: 9780670024780

Found in: Fiction and Literature
What is it like to be a slave? And what is it like for a morally conscious young woman to live in a society built around the evil of slavery? These are the pivotal questions which inspire the Invention of Wings - the beautiful and tender new novel by Sue Monk Kidd. Since her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, it’s been clear that Kidd is a major talent. With The Invention of Wings, Kidd takes her storytelling to a new level. The Invention of Wings orbits two defiant women in South Carolina at the beginning of the nineteenth century: Handful, a slave, and Sarah, the favourite daughter of a plantation owner, modeled on the real life abolitionist Sarah Grimké. From the outset when Sarah is given Handful as a birthday present, we are compelled by their impossible friendship, and the horrific institution that brings them together. With Kidd’s deftness The Invention of Wings manages to be both hopeful and heartbreaking, full of petty cruelty and small kindnesses, and in the end an inspiring testament to the heroism of two extraordinary women.

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking and Beautiful I will never forget this book, it's such a heartbreaking read but also so beautiful at the same time. I loved how the family and events were based on a true story....although the whole story isn't based on facts (see author's note). A profound read which I've recommend to almost everyone I know....
Date published: 2014-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! I loved going back in time and seeing the relationship between Sarah and Handful along with relationships with mothers, sisters, etc. I also liked that it was loosely based on reality with Sarah and her sister working hard to abolish slavery and the lengths they went to do so. I found that all very fascinating as to how difficult it would have been to put forth your convictions at that time, especially for women! A book on strong women trying to make things right and make a difference, while still trying to find love and acceptance made for an excellent read. If you liked the Kitchen House, you will like this book as well.
Date published: 2014-08-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great read I ordered this book and didn't realize it was an Oprah pick. Now I love Oprah ,but have not enjoyed many of the books she has recommended over the years, so I dont often purchase them . This one was terrific! I very much enjoyed the relationship between Handful the slave and Sarah her reluctant owner. The women in the time this book takes place, played huge roles as abolitionist and credit to the women back then was slow to come to light. I highly recommend this book. I love books about strong women and this one has many.
Date published: 2014-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Invention of Wings I almost didn't read this book. I wouldn't have, but a friend whose opinion I trust encouraged me to do so. I am grateful to that friend, for this is a worthy read. The Invention of Wings is Sue Monk Kidd's fictional version of the real lives of Sarah and Angelina Grimké, two daughters of a wealthy landowner in 19th Century Charleston. As young children they rebelled against the cruelty of slavery and the restrictions of their church. As adults they lead an infamous charge to abolish slavery, strive for racial equality and promote women's rights. The Invention of Wings is also the story of Handful "Hetty" Grimké, a fictional African-American slave "gifted" to Sarah Grimké on her eleventh birthday. Monk Kidd alternates between the first-person accounts of Sarah and Handful, and these two perspectives allow the reader a broad view of Charleston life at that time. The two girls inhabit the same world but in two very different ways, and both women are trapped but in different ways. Sarah is trapped in her restricted female role by inflexible societal norms; Handful is trapped in her slave role by poverty, cruelty and oppression. From an early age Handful senses the intractable barrier between her and her white mistress, but the privileged Sarah takes longer to perceive their great divide. Later in life, Handful tells Sarah: "My body might be a slave, but not my mind. For you, it's the other way round." One of Monk Kidd's most intriguing characters is Handful's mother, Charlotte. She lives with the cruelty of slavery that breeds what Monk Kidd calls the "cold fire of hate." Even though her name is in the landowner's inventory book as part of the "goods and chattel,"—“right after the water trough, the wheelbarrow, the claw hammer and the bushel of flint corn,” Charlotte tells her daughter: "Ain't nobody can write down in a book what you worth." Her strength plants the seed of resilience in Handful, who grows up believing that her body might be "goods and chattel," but not her mind. "I have one mind for the master to see. I have another mind for what I know is me," she says. Monk Kidd navigates all the complexities of the world at that time; nothing is straightforward, and nothing is easy in the face of overwhelming societal and economic pressures. Sarah vows to "put feet to her words" and take action to abolish slavery, but in so doing, she sacrifices family connections, friendships and love. Sarah rejects slavery and moves north to join the Quaker movement to abolish slavery. She then discovers that the Quakers might want to abolish slavery, but they still want racial segregation. Even the abolutionists she and Angelina work with urge her to ease off on her feminist cause. She tells them, "Now sirs, kindly take your feet off our necks." I almost didn't read this book because Sue Monk Kidd's previous two books, while beautifully written, did not stir my soul. I wouldn't have read this book, but a friend whose opinion I trust encouraged me to do so. I am grateful to that friend, for this is a worthy read.
Date published: 2014-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific! An engaging and fascinating book from beginning to end. One of those rare, hard to put down books where I found myself reading way too late at night. An extremely well told story and the Author's notes at the end were an interesting treat.
Date published: 2014-05-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Pass on this one This story has been told before. Against odds, lone, entitled white person befriends suppressed black person. The book does not say anything we don't already know about slavery in a new and interesting way. Read "The Help" instead.
Date published: 2014-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent read This was an excellent story. As I read it, it was like watching a good movie in my mind. I learned a lot about what slavery was like back in the early 1800's. Highly recommend this book. You will laugh and you will cry.
Date published: 2014-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful. New favorite! I was given this book for my 20th birthday, and read it within a few days. Absolutely loved it, eye-opening and inspiring. Made me want to move mountains!
Date published: 2014-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Invention of Wings I am reading it at the moment and I am really enjoying it....a good read !!
Date published: 2014-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well done I really enjoyed this book, it robbed me of a few hours sleep but well worth it.
Date published: 2014-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You don't want to put it down I bought this book due to a spontaneous burst since i spent about an hour in the bookstore and haven't found much of what i liked, I have just picked up reading again and the great gatsby and this book has made me fall in love with reading all over again. I fell in love with the book right from the start, the fact that it showed heart and empathy in a time where you would think that white people wouldn't have much respect for coloured people made my heart dance. It was so hard to put down, and it's so well written my imagination went wild and it played out like a movie... which I do hope that it turns into a movie! 
Date published: 2014-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent story. I have recommended it to my friends. For a book club, the perfect book that will keep you talking for quite awhile. Will probably read some of her other books now.
Date published: 2014-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read Hated to put this one down. Personally liked Charlotte's little acts of rebellion.
Date published: 2014-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Invention of Wings I received this book as a Valentines present and read it in 6 days. I was completely engrossed in the sisters and their challenges. I so highly recommend this book to others and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Excellent read!
Date published: 2014-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down.... I have read several of her books and this is EXCELLENT!! I couldn't put it down. Each character was so unique and described so well, and the storyline dovetailed beautifully with each character. Fiction story based on non-fiction characters.....in my opinion it wasn't 'non-fiction' - if you are interested in history, business, the women's movement, abolition, relationships, Nth vs Sth society, it all intertwines....highly recommended!!!!
Date published: 2014-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I expected to love this book --- and I did! I loved The Secret Life of Bees, so I expected to love this book as well.  And it exceeded my expectations.  I found it interesting that Sarah was actually a real person - and I knew nothing about her - and Hettie/Handful was probably real, except that almost nothing was known of her, so her story is fictionalized.  I am sure I will read this again and recommend it for my book club.
Date published: 2014-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved the characters - strong! What a delightful read! I also liked at the end that the author explained the who,why and how she wrote the book.
Date published: 2014-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Invention of Wings great book, would recommend for everyone to read. I love historical fiction and especially stories of slavery and emancipation. Very fast paced and interesting book.
Date published: 2014-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sad story! Inspiring but a little sad! Makes me realize how far women have really come in the last few years! And makes you want to fight to keep those rights!
Date published: 2014-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sue Monk Kidd takes her storytelling to a new level! What is it like to be a slave? And what is it like for a morally conscious young woman to live in a society built around the evil of slavery? These are the pivotal questions which inspire the Invention of Wings - the beautiful and tender new novel by Sue Monk Kidd. Since her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, it’s been clear that Kidd is a major talent. With The Invention of Wings, Kidd takes her storytelling to a new level. The Invention of Wings orbits two defiant women in South Carolina at the beginning of the nineteenth century: Handful, a slave, and Sarah, the favourite daughter of a plantation owner, modeled on the real life abolitionist Sarah Grimké. From the outset when Sarah is given Handful as a birthday present, we are compelled by their impossible friendship, and the horrific institution that brings them together. With Kidd’s deftness The Invention of Wings manages to be both hopeful and heartbreaking, full of petty cruelty and small kindnesses, and in the end an inspiring testament to the heroism of two extraordinary women.
Date published: 2014-01-22

– More About This Product –

The Invention Of Wings: A Novel

by Sue Monk Kidd

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.58 × 6.39 × 1.23 in

Published: January 7, 2014

Publisher: Viking Adult

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0670024783

ISBN - 13: 9780670024780

From the Publisher

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.
 

About the Author

Sue Monk Kidd is the award-winning and bestselling author of the novels The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs, including the New York Times bestseller Traveling with Pomegranates, written with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor. She lives in Florida.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Invention of Wings “A remarkable novel that heightened my sense of what it meant to be a woman - slave or free. . .will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to find her power and her voice. . .Sue Monk Kidd has written a conversation changer.  It is impossible to read this book and not come away thinking differently about our status as women and about all the unsung heroines who played a role in getting us to where we are." —Oprah Winfrey, O The Oprah Magazine   “Alternating between Sarah’s and Handful’s contrasting perspectives on their oddly conjoined worlds allows Kidd to generate unstoppable narrative momentum as she explores the troubled terrain that lies between white and black women in a slaveholding society. . ..the novel’s language can be as exhilarating as its powerful story. . .by humanizing these formidable women, The Invention of Wings furthers our essential understanding of what has happened among us as Americans – and why it still matters.” —Margaret Wrinkle, The Washington Post                                                                     &#
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