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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

Poetry brought to life

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

2 people found this helpful

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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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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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Great story but lost its way

Really enjoyed the first half, but it became a bit of a struggle to stay with it as I felt it went off course and because increasingly convoluted.
It picked up again in the last couple of chapters but I was rewarded for my staying power with a very abrupt ending which really disappointed me!

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Great performance

Shame the writing is so dispersed, elungated and feels pointless at time... I'd love to focus more on details and less on the whole situation.

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Wow

I didn't know what I was getting into when I read this book and I am amazed at the writing and voice throughout the book. I highly recommend this and I loved it.

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Full of hidden gems...

Hidden within the Subplot are several hidden Gems of commentary on the plight of the enslaved peoples. Written withadifferent perspective The characters are humanised and not just see us “slaves”; and there is the recurring theme of memory. In order to move forward from the trauma of slavery we must first remember our own stories. I really recommend this book to those descendants of enslaved peoples as well as anyone interested in learning our stories from our perspective.

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5 star audio book

Most beautiful narration I have ever heard and the most beautifully written book. Couldn’t stop listening and wish it would never end .

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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.