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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Chosen by Barack Obama as a favourite read of 2020.

The New York Times best seller and Oprah's Book Club Pick.

From the winner of a National Book Award and author of The Good Lord Bird, soon to be a TV series starring Ethan Hawke.

The year is 1969. In a housing project in south Brooklyn, a shambling old church deacon called Sportscoat shoots - for no apparent reason - the local drug-dealer who used to be part of the church's baseball team.

The repercussions of that moment draw in the whole community, from Sportscoat's best friend - Hot Sausage - to the local Italian mobsters, the police (corrupt and otherwise), and the stalwart ladies of the Five Ends Baptist Church. 

Deacon King Kong is a book about a community under threat, about the ways people pull together in an age when the old rules are being rewritten. 

It is very funny in places, and heartbreaking in others. From a prize-winning storyteller, this New York Times best seller shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, and that the communities we build are fragile but vital.

©2020 James McBride (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Deacon King Kong is deeply felt, beautifully written and profoundly humane; McBride's ability to inhabit his characters' foibled, all-too-human interiority helps transform a fine book into a great one." (The New York Times Book Review)

"A hilarious, pitch-perfect comedy set in the Brooklyn projects of the late 1960s. This alone may qualify it as one of the year's best novels." (The Washington Post)

What listeners say about Deacon King Kong

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  • Overall
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Everything wonderful but...

It’s a shame that no-one took a moment to re-think the Irish accents in the performance. They were a grim weakness in an otherwise stellar narration.

2 people found this helpful

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A slow burner with incredible detail

I just couldn't get into this story at first I found it slightly slow paced and overly detailed but then all of a sudden I felt as if I knew the characters as if they were my own friends and couldn't wait to find out what happened next.

A really heartwarming tale with intricacies and character depth that not many people write with. Not a whole lot happens but I loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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A twisting and turning story..loved it

It took me a little while to settle into the story, as thought it might be all doom and gloom...
However the humour and sadness of the complex lives of the people was weaved together extremely well to tie up all the different story lines. I loved the narrators depictions of the characters.

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Entertaining throughout!

Great story, some good laughs too. Narration was perfect. Good work all round! Bravo to all!

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A hugely enjoyable read

This wonderful book is bursting with colourful characters humour and humanity. I didn't want it to end..