The Invention Of Wings: A Novel

by Sue Monk Kidd
Read by Adepero Oduye, Jenna Lamia

Penguin Audio | January 7, 2014 | Audio Book (CD)

The Invention Of Wings: A Novel is rated 5 out of 5 by 1.
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: Audio Book (CD)

Dimensions: 1 pages, 5.79 × 5.22 × 1.52 in

Published: January 7, 2014

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1611762529

ISBN - 13: 9781611762525

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing story! On the occasion of her eleventh birthday Sarah Grimke was given a special (in her mother’s eyes) gift … she was gifted with 10 year-old Hetty – her own slave. Sarah was already the outcast in the family because her hair was too red and unruly, she stammered when she spoke, she had life ambitions and even at eleven knew deep down inside that owning another person was wrong. She tried to return her gift without success and even tried to free Hetty, but all to no avail. Although she knew it would make her life considerably easier than being in the plantation’s fields Hetty, or Handful as her mother named her, was no less eager to be Miss Sarah’s slave. Sarah makes a promise to Hetty’s mother to one day free her. A promise made with the best intentions but one that would prove very difficult to keep. Because of the closeness in their ages, Hetty and Sarah became friends of a sort. Sarah even went so far as to teach Hetty how to read and write, an effort eventually discovered and duly punished. When Sarah’s sister Angelina was born it began to look like Sarah finally had someone at home to love and who loved her. This was a bond that never faltered or broke throughout their whole lives. Accompanying her father north to seek medical attention for his lingering illness Sarah discovers a different way of life and a manner of thinking about the slave issue which mirrors her own. A shipboard friendship with a young Quaker man opens up a whole new world for her … a world that dares to value the ideas of women. With strong wills and a series of happenstances Angelina and Sarah become the first and most forceful women’s voices in the abolitionist movement in the mid 1800’s. Holding up her own end of the fight for freedom back in Charleston Hetty makes some pretty brave decisions of her own. This book is populated with both fictional and real historical figures. Some of the names were familiar to me and some were not. Ms. Kidd has done her research well to bring both Sarah and Angelina to life in this book. She has used actual quotes from letters and speeches in her dialogue and kept fairly true to the timeline of events that marked the lives of these two incredible sisters. Although many of the slave’s stories were also taken from historical documents and woven brilliantly into this book, I was disappointed to learn that Hetty and her mother, Charlotte, were totally fictional. Ms. Kidd did such an excellent job in writing their voices that I came to admire both of them. I particularly loved Charlotte. Charlotte epitomized the power of the human spirit and a mother's determination. Ms. Kidd does such a remarkable job with her characters that, even though I wanted to, I couldn’t even completely dislike the matriarch of the family, Mrs. Grimke. She was a simply a product of her times and social class. The story is told in the alternating voices of Hetty and Sarah. This works so well in this book as it gives the reader perspective from both sides of the slave issue. Sometimes the telling runs parallel but mostly each girl moves the story ahead. I had no problem what-so-ever following along between the two voices. Sarah (1972 – 1873) and Angelina Grimke (1805 – 1879) were indeed real women who took a stand against slavery. Sarah Grimke was the first woman to publish pamphlets and speak publicly against the issue and her “American Slavery” article influenced the writing of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. I listened to the audio version of the book and feel that I should mention and commend the readers in this review as well. Jenna Lamia (also heard on the audio version of “The Help”) and Adepero Oduye brilliantly brought the characters to life.
Date published: 2014-05-02

– More About This Product –

The Invention Of Wings: A Novel

by Sue Monk Kidd
Read by Adepero Oduye, Jenna Lamia

Format: Audio Book (CD)

Dimensions: 1 pages, 5.79 × 5.22 × 1.52 in

Published: January 7, 2014

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1611762529

ISBN - 13: 9781611762525

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.
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