The Talented Ribkins: A Novel

By Ladee Hubbard
Read by Kevin Kenerly

7.35 Hours 10/10/2017 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (15Tracks)
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At seventy-two, Johnny Ribkins shouldn’t have such problems: he’s got one week to come up with the money he stole from his mobster boss or it’s curtains. What may or may not be useful to Johnny as he flees is that he comes from an African American family that has been gifted with superpowers that are a bit, well, odd. Okay, very odd. For example, Johnny’s father could see colors no one else could see. His brother could scale perfectly flat walls. His cousin belches fire. And Johnny himself can make precise maps of any space you name, whether he’s been there or not. In the old days, the Ribkins family tried to apply their gifts to the civil rights effort, calling themselves the Justice Committee. But when their, eh, superpowers proved insufficient, the group fell apart. Out of frustration Johnny and his brother used their talents to stage a series of burglaries, each more daring than the last. Fast forward a couple decades and Johnny’s in a race against the clock to dig up loot he’s stashed all over Florida. His brother is gone, but he has an unexpected sidekick: his brother’s daughter, Eloise, who has a special superpower of her own. Inspired by W. E. B. Du Bois’ famous essay “The Talented Tenth” and fueled by Ladee Hubbard’s marvelously original imagination, The Talented Ribkins is a big-hearted debut novel about race, class, politics, and the unique gifts that, while they may cause some problems from time to time, bind a family together.

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Summary

Summary

Winner of the 2017 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2017

An Indie Next List selection

At seventy-two, Johnny Ribkins shouldn’t have such problems: he’s got one week to come up with the money he stole from his mobster boss or it’s curtains.

What may or may not be useful to Johnny as he flees is that he comes from an African American family that has been gifted with superpowers that are a bit, well, odd. Okay, very odd. For example, Johnny’s father could see colors no one else could see. His brother could scale perfectly flat walls. His cousin belches fire. And Johnny himself can make precise maps of any space you name, whether he’s been there or not.

In the old days, the Ribkins family tried to apply their gifts to the civil rights effort, calling themselves the Justice Committee. But when their, eh, superpowers proved insufficient, the group fell apart. Out of frustration Johnny and his brother used their talents to stage a series of burglaries, each more daring than the last.

Fast forward a couple decades and Johnny’s in a race against the clock to dig up loot he’s stashed all over Florida. His brother is gone, but he has an unexpected sidekick: his brother’s daughter, Eloise, who has a special superpower of her own.

Inspired by W. E. B. Du Bois’ famous essay “The Talented Tenth” and fueled by Ladee Hubbard’s marvelously original imagination, The Talented Ribkins is a big-hearted debut novel about race, class, politics, and the unique gifts that, while they may cause some problems from time to time, bind a family together.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“[A] rip-roaring adventure.” Entertainment Weekly
“[A] sly, pleasurable first novel.” Newsday
“If you love the works of Paul Beatty and Colson Whitehead, you’ll enjoy Ladee Hubbard’s wholly unique view of family and legacy with her dazzling first novel.” Essence magazine
“Ladee Hubbard delivers a fascinating twist on DuBois’ notion of the Talented Tenth in her debut novel…The Talented Ribkins recalls Colson Whitehead’s first novel, The Intuitionist.” Paste
“Ladee Hubbard has written a celebration of family, as well as of the individual.” New York Journal of Books
“Takes you on a magical-realist road trip.” Brooklyn magazine
“Hubbard weaves this narrative with prodigious skill and compelling warmth. You anticipate a movie while wondering if any movie could do this fascinating family…well, justice.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Hubbard’s ear for dialogue and creative character construction make the Ribkins family’s story fly.” Booklist
“A charming and delightful debut novel with a profound heart. Ladee Hubbard’s voice is a welcome original.” Mary Gaitskill, author of Veronica

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Ladee Hubbard

Ladee Hubbard is the winner of the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for the Short Story. She lives in New Orleans. The Talented Ribkins is her first novel.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Fantasy
Runtime: 7.35
Audience: Adult
Language: English