THE INVENTION OF WINGS

Sue Monk Kidd

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.

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,

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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.

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.

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  • Penguin Books
  • Paperback
  • May 2015
  • 384 Pages
  • 9780143121701

Buy the Book

$17.00

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About Sue Monk Kidd

Sue Monk Kidd’s debut novel, The Secret Life of Bees, has sold more than 3,500,000 copies. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Poets & Writers award.

Praise

A remarkable novel that heightened my sense of what it meant to be a woman – slave or free…a conversation changer.” – Oprah Winfrey, O, The Oprah Magazine

“Exhilarating…powerful…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.” – The Washington Post

A textured masterpiece, quietly yet powerfully poking our consciences and our consciousness…leaves us feeling uplifted and hopeful.” – NPR

“If this isn’t an American classic-to-be, I don’t know what is…this book is as close to perfect as any I’ve ever read.” – The Dallas Morning News