9 CDs. 11:30 hrs. Books on Tape. 2014. ISBN 9780804165914. $40. digital download. F
In this harrowing and gorgeous debut novel, Bond tells the story of Ruby, a woman who has returned to her hometown and descended into madness. In the 1950s, Ruby left Liberty, TX, as a damaged, sorrowful young woman and headed for New York. Rather than finding her salvation—which, for Ruby, would be finding her runaway mother—she is battered by life in the city. Called home in 1963, Ruby must face her devastating childhood and begin the long struggle to survive. This book is beautifully written, a necessity for a novel that confronts abuse and violence as unflinchingly as does this one. Part magical realism, part raw storytelling, Ruby is mesmerizing. Unfortunately, the choice of the author as narrator serves to blunt (although by no means eliminate) the glory of the writing. Understated narration suits this kind of work, but in the hands of a more skilled reader the impact of this audiobook would have been stronger.
VERDICT A worthwhile novel for any listener willing to brave the story's violent details. ["This book exhibits a dark and redemptive beauty. Bond's prose is evocative of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, paying homage to the greats of Southern gothic literature": LJ 4/1/14 starred review of the Hogarth: Crown hc.

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