Queen of the Underworld

Version: Abridged
Author: Gail Godwin
Narrator: Stephanie Zimbalist
Genres: Fiction & Literature
Publisher: Random House Audio Assets
Published In: January 2006
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours
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Here at last is the eagerly awaited new novel from New York Times bestselling author Gail Godwin. Queen of the Underworld is sweeping and sultry literary fiction, featuring a memorable young heroine and engaging characters whose intimate dramas interconnect with hers.
In the summer of 1959, as Castro clamps down on Cuba and its first wave of exiles flees to the States to wait out what they hope to be his short-lived reign, Emma Gant, fresh out of college, begins her career as a reporter. Her fierce ambition and belief in herself are set against the stories swirling around her, both at the newspaper office and in her downtown Miami hotel, which is filling up with refugees.
Emma’s avid curiosity about life thrives amid the tropical charms and intrigues of Miami. While toiling at the news desk, she plans the fictional stories she will write in her spare time. She spends her nights getting to know the Cuban families in her hotel–and rendezvousing with her married lover, Paul Nightingale, owner of a private Miami Beach club.
As Emma experiences the historical events enveloping the city, she trains her perceptive eye on the people surrounding her: a newfound Cuban friend who joins the covert anti-Castro training brigade, a gambling racketeer who poses a grave threat to Paul, and a former madam, still in her twenties, who becomes both Emma’s obsession and her alter ego. Emma’s life, like a complicated dance that keeps sweeping her off her balance, is suddenly filled with divided loyalties, shady dealings, romantic and professional setbacks, and, throughout, her adamant determination to avoid “usurpation” by others and remain the protagonist of her own quest.

Reviews (2)


Written by Anonymous on January 9th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 1/5

The prior reviewer must have her books mixed up, as this is not read by the author and it is not in any way compelling. I am a fan of Godwin, but couldn't finish this five-disc set. Maybe something was lost in the abridgement, but I didn't care enough about the protagonist to even find out how it ends.

Queen of the Underworld

Written by Anonymous on May 27th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Loved this audiobook! It's read by the author, which is always a plus. The sometimes dreamy, sometimes sharp, witty sentences and historical detail create a perfect backdrop for this novel--a terrific coming of age story.

Author Details

Author Details

Godwin, Gail

Gail Godwin is the author of ten novels, three of which were nominated for National Book Awards. "A Southern Family" and "Father Melancholy's Daughter" were both NYT bestsellers and Main Selections of the Book of the Month Club. She has been translated into 12 languages. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and the recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and letters. She holds a doctorate in Modern Letters from the University of Iowa and has taught in the Iowa writers Workshop, Vassar and Columbia. A native of Asheville, N.C., she now lives in Woodstock, N.Y.