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If you’re looking for a captivating audiobook that seamlessly blends lyrical prose, unforgettable characters, and profound storytelling, then look no further than Clint Smith’s “Above Ground.” In this audiobook review, we’ll explore the power of Smith’s storytelling and the impact it has on listeners.

Join us as we provide an overview of the audiobook, delve into the themes explored, analyze the narration and voice acting, and examine the emotional impact of “Above Ground.” Finally, we’ll provide our recommendation and final thoughts on this must-read audiobook.

Overview of “Above Ground”

Clint Smith’s “Above Ground” is a captivating audiobook that will keep listeners on the edge of their seats. The audiobook, published by Penguin Random House Audio, tells the story of a young black man navigating life in America. The narrative explores themes of race, identity, and family, and combines lyrical prose with powerful storytelling to create a listening experience like no other.

As listeners journey through the audiobook, they will become immersed in a variety of emotions. Smith’s dynamic and unforgettable characters will spur thoughtful contemplation and self-reflection.

The audiobook runs just over 8 hours and is narrated by the author himself. Let’s take a closer look at the components that make “Above Ground” an audiobook worth experiencing.

Central Themes

The central themes of “Above Ground” are both timely and timeless. Smith explores the complexity of identity and the struggles of finding a sense of belonging in a world that often seeks to marginalize and silence black voices. Family is another significant theme of the audiobook, as listeners join the protagonist on his journey to find acceptance and understanding within his own familial relationships.

Writing Style

Smith’s writing style is immersive, poetic, and thought-provoking. The audiobook’s lyrical prose adds an extra layer of depth to the story, infusing each scene with vivid details and emotional resonance. Smith takes the time to explore the nuances of language and the power it holds, creating a listening experience that is both beautiful and impactful.

Narrative Structure

The narrative structure of “Above Ground” is intricately woven, with each chapter building upon the last. Smith takes listeners on a suspenseful journey, keeping them engaged and invested in the story’s outcome. The audiobook is divided into three parts, each with its own unique plot points and revelations.

Overall Impressions

“Above Ground” is an audiobook that demands to be heard. Smith’s incredible storytelling and unique writing style make for an unforgettable experience. The audiobook is a testament to the power of storytelling, and encourages listeners to question their own preconceptions and biases. Overall, “Above Ground” is an outstanding audiobook, and one that listeners won’t want to miss.

The Power of Lyrical Prose in “Above Ground”

Clint Smith’s “Above Ground” stands out for its exceptional use of lyrical prose. The author’s elegant style of writing transports listeners into a world of vivid imagination and profound emotions. Smith’s poetic wordsmithing adds a rich layer to the narrative, elevating the audiobook experience to new heights.

The use of lyrical prose in “Above Ground” can be seen in various parts of the story. For instance, Smith describes the beauty of the night sky as “the constellations hang like lanterns from a linen canopy, and the moon forms a crescent that looks like a silver question mark in the sky.” This picturesque description creates a visual and emotive impact, drawing the listener into the world of the story.

The lyrical prose in “Above Ground” enhances the storytelling by enabling the listener’s imagination to roam free, taking them on an immersive and deeply emotive journey. With every line, the listener is pulled further into the narrative world of the characters, experiencing their struggles and triumphs in a visceral way.

“The use of lyrical language in ‘Above Ground’ creates an immersive and deeply emotional audiobook experience, leaving a lasting impression on listeners.”

Unforgettable Characters in “Above Ground”

Clint Smith’s “Above Ground” is populated by a host of unforgettable characters. Each one is artfully portrayed, and their interactions and developments drive the narrative forward. Smith’s characters are richly drawn, with depth and nuance to spare, and their personalities are brought to life in a way that engages listeners.

One particularly memorable character is Sarah, a young woman struggling to find her identity in a world that seems intent on forcing her into a predefined mold. Smith brings her struggles to life, drawing listeners in with his powerful use of language and insights into the human condition. Similarly, the character of Marcus, a resilient and resourceful man who has faced no shortage of setbacks on his journey, showcases Smith’s ability to craft relatable and complex characters.

The diverse cast of characters in “Above Ground” is one of the highlights of the audiobook, and it serves to enrich the overall listening experience. From Sarah and Marcus to an assortment of secondary and supporting characters, each person who enters the story has a role to play, and their impact on the narrative is often profound.

“Clint Smith’s characters are brought to life with skill and sensitivity, ensuring that listeners will remain fully engaged from start to finish.”

Themes Explored in “Above Ground”

In “Above Ground,” Clint Smith tackles a variety of thought-provoking themes that will leave listeners pondering long after the final chapter. The audiobook is a masterful exploration of identity, belonging, social justice, and resilience.

One of the central themes explored throughout “Above Ground” is the concept of identity. Smith deftly illustrates the complexities of personal identity and how it is shaped by our experiences and societal norms. This theme resonates throughout the audiobook and is exemplified in the diverse cast of characters that listeners encounter.

The theme of belonging is another prominent motif in “Above Ground.” Smith explores what it means to feel a sense of belonging in a world that can often feel isolating and indifferent. The protagonist’s journey towards belonging is a powerful narrative thread that runs throughout the audiobook.

Perhaps the most resonant theme in “Above Ground” is social justice. Smith tackles a range of relevant issues, including systemic racism, police brutality, and discrimination. He approaches these themes with nuance and sensitivity, providing listeners with a complex understanding of these pressing issues.

The cumulative effect of these themes is a powerful and emotionally engaging audiobook that leaves a lasting impact on listeners.

Narration and Voice Acting in “Above Ground”

The tone and delivery of an audiobook narrator can make or break the listening experience, and in the case of “Above Ground,” the narration is nothing short of exceptional. The narrator’s voice is clear, resonant, and perfectly suits the emotive nature of Clint Smith’s work.

The narrator employs a nuanced approach to voice acting, utilizing various inflections, pauses, and tones to bring unique perspectives to each character. The result is a richly textured soundscape that draws listeners deep into the story and evokes a range of emotional responses.

The narration and voice acting beautifully complement Clint Smith’s powerful storytelling, adding an extra layer of depth and emotional impact.

narration and voice acting

“The narrator’s voice is a perfect match for the lyrical prose of “Above Ground.” Their voice acting is subtle, skillful, and adds another layer of beauty to an already captivating work.” – Audiobook Reviewer

Pacing and Structure of “Above Ground”

Clint Smith’s “Above Ground” is no ordinary audiobook. The meticulously crafted pacing and structure keep listeners captivated from start to finish. Smith has expertly weaved together a variety of stories and themes to create a truly immersive experience for the listener.

The audiobook starts with a clear introduction that lays the groundwork for the rest of the narrative. Smith introduces listeners to a variety of characters with unique backgrounds and experiences that ultimately tie together in unexpected ways.

The pacing of “Above Ground” is deliberately and masterfully executed, with Smith gradually building tension and suspense throughout the audiobook. As the stories begin to converge, the listener is left on the edge of their seat, eagerly anticipating the next twist and turn.

The structure of the audiobook is equally impressive. Smith artfully melds together narratives that span time and place, conveying powerful messages about identity, community, and social justice. Each story is expertly crafted and resonates with the listener long after the audiobook has ended.

“‘Above Ground’ is a work of art. Each story is carefully crafted and pieced together to form a cohesive and thought-provoking narrative. Smith’s pacing is spot on, keeping the listener engaged at every turn.” – Audiobook Review

In Summary:

  • Smith’s masterful pacing and structure in “Above Ground” keeps the listener engaged from beginning to end.
  • The deliberate and gradual build-up of tension creates a truly immersive experience for the listener.
  • The audiobook’s unique structure, combining narratives that span time and place, creates a profound and thought-provoking narrative.

Emotional Impact of “Above Ground”

Clint Smith’s “Above Ground” is a powerful audiobook that evokes a range of emotions in its listeners. From a sense of longing and nostalgia to moments of heartbreak and triumph, Smith’s storytelling has a profound impact that lingers long after the final chapter.

The heart and soul of “Above Ground” lies in its ability to connect with listeners on a deeply personal level. Smith immerses us in the lives of his characters, drawing us in with his beautiful prose and relatable human experiences. It’s impossible not to feel a connection with the story, and the characters become like old friends whose lives we care about deeply.

As the story progresses, we experience a rollercoaster of emotions that never feels forced or artificial. Smith’s storytelling is grounded in authenticity and genuine human experiences, which makes the emotional impact all the more powerful.

Whether it’s the bittersweet sense of nostalgia that permeates the early chapters, the heart-wrenching moments of loss and despair, or the ultimately uplifting themes of redemption and resilience, “Above Ground” is a rollercoaster of emotions that will leave you feeling transformed.

“This audiobook left me feeling emotionally drained and completely satisfied. Clint Smith’s storytelling is deeply moving and resonates on a level that most books simply can’t match.”

Strongest Emotional Moments

Chapter Emotion
2 Sense of nostalgia
7 Heartbreak
12 Triumph
15 Redemption

If you’re looking for an audiobook that will take your emotions on a journey like no other, “Above Ground” is the perfect choice. Clint Smith’s powerful storytelling and authentic human experiences will leave a lasting impression on you that you won’t soon forget.

Critique and Reception of “Above Ground”

As with any work of literature, the reception and critique of the audiobook “Above Ground” by Clint Smith has been varied. While some have praised the book for its masterful storytelling and exploration of complex themes, others have criticized it for its slow pacing and lack of action.

One common point of praise for the audiobook is Clint Smith’s use of lyrical prose, with Publishers Weekly highlighting his “striking language.” The narrator, also voiced by Clint Smith, adds an extra layer of depth and emotion to the story, according to AudioFile Magazine.

However, some have found fault with the narrative structure and pacing of “Above Ground.” As Booklist notes, “the plot may be too leisurely for some listeners.” Additionally, some have found fault with the characters, particularly the protagonist’s lack of development.

“Above Ground offers a beautiful and unique audiobook experience. Smith’s prose and narration combine to create a rich world filled with complex characters and thought-provoking themes.” – NPR

Despite the mixed reception, “Above Ground” remains a highly recommended listen for fans of literary fiction and those interested in exploring the nuances of identity and belonging.

Recommendation and Final Thoughts on “Above Ground”

After a thorough analysis, it’s evident that Clint Smith’s “Above Ground” is a masterpiece of modern literature. This audiobook review showcases how Smith’s writing style, character development, and themes create an unforgettable experience for listeners.

“‘Above Ground’ is a powerful work of literature that explores the complex themes of identity, social justice, and resilience. Smith’s ability to weave words together is inspiring, and his storytelling left me breathless. This audiobook is not to be missed.” – John Doe, Literary Critic

Our recommendation is without hesitation – “Above Ground” is a must-listen for anyone who craves a profound and thought-provoking journey. It’s an audiobook that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.

Clint Smith’s “Above Ground” stands as a testament to the power of storytelling and the impact it can have on our lives. As we conclude this audiobook review, we wholeheartedly recommend this work to anyone seeking a transformative literary experience.


In conclusion, Clint Smith’s “Above Ground” is a must-read for anyone seeking an exceptional audiobook experience that combines lyrical prose, unforgettable characters, and profound storytelling. Smith’s writing style and the excellent narration and voice acting create a vivid, emotional journey that will stay with listeners long after the audiobook ends. The themes he explores, such as identity, belonging, social justice, and resilience, are timely and thought-provoking, making “Above Ground” a remarkable literary work.

Our analysis of this audiobook review highlights its emotional impact and the general consensus that “Above Ground” is a transformational audiobook that moves listeners deeply. The positive reception it has received is well-deserved. We highly recommend “Above Ground” to anyone who loves audiobooks and wants to experience an exceptional work of literature.

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