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Demon Copperhead

By: Barbara Kingsolver
Narrated by: Charlie Thurston
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Summary

A masterpiece in storytelling from the global bestselling author of Unsheltered and Flight Behaviour.

Winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction 2010

The multi-million copy selling author

Demon Copperhead is a once-in-a-generation novel that breaks and mends your heart in the way only the best fiction can.

Demon's story begins with his traumatic birth to a single mother in a single-wide trailer, looking 'like a little blue prizefighter.' For the life ahead of him he would need all of that fighting spirit, along with buckets of charm, a quick wit, and some unexpected talents, legal and otherwise.

In the southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, poverty isn't an idea, it's as natural as the grass grows. For a generation growing up in this world, at the heart of the modern opioid crisis, addiction isn't an abstraction, it's neighbours, parents, and friends. 'Family' could mean love, or reluctant foster care. For Demon, born on the wrong side of luck, the affection and safety he craves is as remote as the ocean he dreams of seeing one day. The wonder is in how far he's willing to travel to try and get there.

Suffused with truth, anger and compassion, Demon Copperhead is an epic tale of love, loss and everything in between.

©2022 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2022 Faber Audio

Critic reviews

"It's epic. Righteously angry, deeply moving, wholly immersive, totally convincing and exquisitely written." (Marian Keyes)

"A fantastic read." (Emily Maitliss)

What listeners say about Demon Copperhead

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Beautiful life story for modern times

Kingsolver has crafted a tale as heartwarming and lyrical as the story that inspired it yet filled with deep insight, realism and dark sadness at the damage inflicted by capitalism’s exploitations and society’s failures with looked after children. Yet through it all is laced love and hope.

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A full-on powerful re-working of Dickens

At 26hours of listening David Copperhead is massively long, rivalling the work which flows through it: Dickens’s David Copperfield (36 hours unabridged). I am not keen on today’s prequels and sequels and re-workings of classic works, but this is an exception. It could be read with no knowledge of David Copperfield, but a close familiarity with Dickens’s classic definitely deepens the interest of Kingsolver’s intertwined parallel novel with her arresting adaptations of Dickens’s cast of characters and moral messages.

I did find that the whole was over- long, however. From when Copperhead injured his knee playing football and became dependent on pain killing opioids (and subsequently many other drugs), the hours did begin to drag with an overload of addiction detail. (And what distressing detail she provides!) The very strong statement that Kingsolver is making about the dire and shameful condition of drug dependency, and of the neglect of impoverished people in America today would have been more effective if it had been hammered home less.

Dickens’s characters – the Peggottys, Mcawbers, little Emily, Agnes, Steerforth, Aunt Betsy and Mr Dick etc etc - are here and developed in new plausible and subtle ways, but the reinvention of Dora Spenlow (David Copperfield’s ‘child wife’) as a doomed drug addict was an extension of the drug scene which just didn’t work for me. Once Kingsolver entered the world of drug addiction with her characters, I found her polemic too insistent.

The whole of the story has been relocated to Appalachia and Charlie Thurston’s narration transports you wholesale into that part of America with its colloquial language of Copperhead’s narrative voice and all the dialogue . If that accent is not Thurston’s own, he did an amazing job of creating it for 26 hours!

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Terrific reworking of a classic

I've loved David Copperfield for decades. This updating is glorious - clever, heartbreaking and immediate, no longer with Victoria distance.

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A superb writer at her very best

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favourite writers, this in my opinion this one is her best.
Raw, gritty and realistic it is a novel that gives voice to people who often go unheard and certainly made me question my own prejudices.

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Fabulous

This is my book of the Year. A superbly written and read book. Just wonderful.

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Amazing book...

Great story and performance ! Makes you think about your life and appreciate what you have more...

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Probably the best book I’ve ever listened to.

You’re in for a emotional ride. You are in this story with the characters. Truly a masterpiece.

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Fantastic

Fantastic read! So well written and so captivating.
Really enjoyed it. A sad life of a magnificent boy.

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Fantastic Read

Thought provoking, beautifully written, fascinating insights.
I would highly recommend this book, a rollercoaster .

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  • 27-01-23

Loved this!

Loved the characters, amazing story! Loved the links to David Copoerfield, but you’d enjoy this even if you haven’t read it. I won’t forget this one in a hurry!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-02-23

Fabulous modern rewrite of David Copperfield

Loved this, loved the narrator. It was hard to listen to at times, some dark times, but I kept trusting Barbara Kingsolver, she is a magnificent writer.

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  • Yvette Anderson
  • 26-01-23

Did not want the bood to end.

I was unsure about the story content half way through, painful! I am so happy that I stayed with this story and I found my own story weaved in with Demon’s. Well told, and very well performed, and I want these characters to do well in their lives. I miss them.

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  • Sandie
  • 14-12-22

Loved this book

Brilliantly narrated and totally enjoyable. Gives such insight into what people endure and experience. Some reviews complain about it being long winded… I did not feel that way.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-12-22

Excellent novel, excellent narrator!

An amazing read. So enjoyed it. Demon is such a lovely character, you just couldn’t do anything but believe in him.

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  • Sue
  • 30-11-22

Another winner!

This is a book both relevant and insightful.
It was a rollercoaster of a ride but worth going on

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  • LUCY B.
  • 30-11-22

Story of childhood trauma and drug abuse

A deeply moving story, that places you in the mind of a young teenager and young adult who is the result of a drug home and the resulting drug addiction.
Although a heavy topic, it was beautifully written and I became very involved in the story.

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  • Olivia Henwood
  • 21-11-22

Vintage Barbara Kingsolver

after many years of audio books, this one moved me to write a review. You could just keep on telling me about this life. Thank you for sharing the gift of your storytelling with us.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-11-22

Addictively thrilling,

100% loved it. Different from other Kingsolver books yet equally charming, I enjoyed the dark and dirty first person narrative. I was hooked on this story from the start, whereas many audible books recently haven't gripped my full attention so vividly.
The narrator did a good job, though some of the character voice renders were annoying.

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  • Wayne Phillips
  • 09-11-22

Best Kingsolver book by far

I have read almost all Barbara Kingsolver books and everyone has their favourite. Mine use to be the Poisonwood Bible. But there is maturity and depth of quality in this prose and unique rural people and attachment to the land and culture that draws you in to the sad and equally hope story.