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Deacon King Kong: A Novel

Unabridged Audio Book

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Dominic Hoffman

14 Hours 7 Minutes

Penguin Audio

March 2020

Audio Book Summary

Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction
Winner of the Gotham Book Prize

One of Barack Obama's 'Favorite Books of the Year'

Oprah's Book Club Pick

Named one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and TIME Magazine

A Washington Post Notable Novel

From the author of the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird and the bestselling modern classic The Color of Water, comes one of the most celebrated novels of the year.

In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and, in front of everybody, shoots the project’s drug dealer at point-blank range.

The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong, James McBride’s funny, moving novel and his first since his National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird. In Deacon King Kong, McBride brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of the Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportcoat was deacon, the neighborhood’s Italian mobsters, and Sportcoat himself.

As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters—caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York—overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion.

Bringing to these pages both his masterly storytelling skills and his abiding faith in humanity, James McBride has written a novel every bit as involving as The Good Lord Bird and as emotionally honest as The Color of Water. Told with insight and wit, Deacon King Kong demonstrates that love and faith live in all of us.

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  • Russell C.

    Great book brought back memories from my childhood

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  • Roxie Y.

    I bypassed this book several times because I didn’t want to read or hear about another shooting of any kind. Once I bought it and started listening, I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it was a book I didn’t want to end!

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  • Benjamin S.

    Excellent narration. Every character came full of personality and life.

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  • Dionne G.

    I worked with senior citizens and hearing some of the old sayings made laugh and smile! This is a very entertaining story.

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  • Florine L.

    I loved the author’s detailed description of characters and settings. Sport coats many escapes from danger were both humorous and somewhat mystical.

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  • Lauren W.

    Loved it. Reader was great. Didn’t want it to end.

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  • chaloba91

    I loved this book. I wasn’t sure about it when our book club picked it but was pleasantly surprised. It brought back memories of my childhood growing up in NY and had me laughing. The narration was great. My family is originally from SC and migrated to NY so I related to it a lot

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  • Anonymous


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  • Anonymous

    Sportcoat is ma man!

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  • Willie S.

    This was the most amazing book I’ve read in years. I really needed to be taken away from reality in times like these. In the times of corona virus, this was my brief moment of normalcy.

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