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The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club) (Digital Audiobook)

A Novel

By Ta-Nehisi Coates, Joe Morton (Narrator)

Publication Date: September 23, 2019

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (11/17/2020)
Hardcover (9/24/2019)
Paperback, Large Print (9/24/2019)
CD-Audio (9/24/2019)
Paperback, Korean (10/23/2020)

October 2019 Indie Next List

“Ta-Nehisi Coates understands something big and he understands it better than anyone else right now. The Water Dancer led me on a journey up and down the landscape of American slavery with a narrative that feels like The Book of Exodus meets, well, Ta-Nehisi Coates. Over 400 pages I have cried, I have laughed, I have been educated, and I have been enlightened. Coates writes with an honesty that can only come from a sublime, even spiritual, understanding of the souls of the white man and the black man in America. Written with poignancy and humanity, The Water Dancer left me stunned but clear-headed, like I had just been woken up from a deep, dream-filled sleep.”
— Norris Rettiger, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS
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Winter 2020 Reading Group Indie Next List

“Hiram Walker, the son of a Black woman and her white master, is born into slavery in this rendering of life in antebellum Virginia. But it is the strength of his memories that kindles a special inner gift: the magic of conduction. In the much-anticipated first novel from Coates, Hiram’s talent is used by agents of the Underground Railroad to bring runaway slaves north, and also to help make families whole once again. This searing and ultimately uplifting story explores the constructs of family, real or artificial, and the power of memory to bind people together from afar.”
— Keith Vient, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC
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Description

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • From the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me, a boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom.

“This potent book about America’s most disgraceful sin establishes [Ta-Nehisi Coates] as a first-rate novelist.”—San Francisco Chronicle

IN DEVELOPMENT AS A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE • Adapted by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Kamilah Forbes, produced by MGM, Plan B, and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films

NOMINATED FOR THE NAACP IMAGE AWARD • NAMED ONE OF PASTE’S BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time • NPR • The Washington PostChicago TribuneVanity Fair • Esquire Good Housekeeping Paste • Town & Country • The New York Public Library • Kirkus Reviews Library Journal


Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.

So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the Deep South to dangerously idealistic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.

This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children—the violent and capricious separation of families—and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today’s most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.

Praise for The Water Dancer

“Ta-Nehisi Coates is the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race with his 2015 memoir, Between the World and Me. So naturally his debut novel comes with slightly unrealistic expectations—and then proceeds to exceed them. The Water Dancer . . . is a work of both staggering imagination and rich historical significance. . . . What’s most powerful is the way Coates enlists his notions of the fantastic, as well as his fluid prose, to probe a wound that never seems to heal. . . . Timeless and instantly canon-worthy.”Rolling Stone