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The Water Dancer

Narrated by: Joe Morton
Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (133 ratings)

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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Winner of the 2020 Audie Award for Literary Fiction & Classics.

Every slave plantation is a house of spies and intrigue. No slave walks a straight line or has a single story - deep within their hearts is betrayal and insurrection. But against whom?

Hiram Walker is a man with a gift and a curse. He was born between worlds: his father a white plantation master, his mother a black slave. And, unbeknown even to himself, he was born with a special power. When he is sold to a new mistress as punishment for attempting escape, Hiram discovers her home is a secret hub of the underground railroad: a training ground for its agents.

Hiram fast becomes a highly skilled agent, retrieving the enslaved from the most dangerous circumstances and gradually learning to harness his power - but betrayals lurk everywhere. And eventually Hiram must risk everything to return to his father's plantation and free the friends he left behind.

©2019 Ta-Nehisi Coates (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Water Dancer

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Deliciously good

I have given 5☆ to narrators previously, however having now listened to this they are left in the water. Just astonishingly good at doing different voices and the singing sounds terrific. great book to have as an audio book. First time reading this author and loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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Poetry brought to life

Morton's sensitive, sonorous performance takes this extraordinary, moving, profound tale and gives it wings.

1 person found this helpful

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Masterfully delivered

The performance was exhilarating! The singing especially so! I don't know if fictionalizing the underground railroad to freedom and mystifying Harriet Tubman is the best call but I do know it certainly softens the narrative of slavery or as the author innocuously calls it 'The Task". The dichotomy between the tasked and the quality is masterfully rendered: Curious would-be-saviors, like Corrine Quinn, have dubious motives which makes them the victims and not the tasked that they wish to free. Well played! I do look forward to more.

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An interesting thought provoking work.

I enjoyed aspects of this work and it’s beautifully written. I didn’t enjoy the spy aspects and mystical elements. It is though a fascinating perspective on a subject I have read very little on. The performance of the book was first rate, it really brings it alive.

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Amazing

I have learned so much about the experiences of the people that were traded for profit. But the book is not about what was done to them but about what they did mixed together with supernatural, romance and love. Joe Morton is superb and the perfect voice to read this story.

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A whirlwind of history and power

A whirlwind of tragedy, hope resilience! A slow start but such an epic tale that will really give you insight into some of the unsaid things of human pain.

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Poetic and Important

Strongly recommended. This is a book about the Underground Railroad told through the point of view of one of the agents, an ex-slave. It is written in an almost poetic literary style and I felt transported to early nineteenth century America. I can imagine this being made into an excellent film, as there is much dialogue, character description and action, plus an added ingredient which I shan't reveal to you here! Although written from the viewpoint of a man, the woman's experience is emphasised greatly, giving a fair view to both genders in a non-clunky way.

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Exceptional

My heart is full. I want more. Beautiful story and performance. The blending of fact and fiction is worked so well.

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Gripping story

Excellent book, gives a small look into the lives of slaves in America and what they would do and sacrifice to be free.

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Outstanding

I really didn’t want this audio book to end what a journey. Narrator was great too keep me interested.

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  • Yas
  • 13-12-19

An old tale of slavery told like never before

This yet another old tale of slavery but told like never before. It's depiction of the free slaves underground network is classic & holds the different individual tales together. This a masterful performance by Morton.

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  • Helena Lindgren
  • 14-10-19

Fantastic story and narration

Can’t stop listening to this story, it’s characters that become so alive and the narration adding a level to the mesmerising world of people. Truly fantastic.