Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Queen of the Underworld: A Novel

2.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"

Top 20 lists in Books
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ISBN-10: 1588365182
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588365187
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Gail Godwin is a three-time National Book Award finalist and the bestselling author of twelve critically acclaimed novels, including Unfinished Desires, A Mother and Two Daughters, Violet Clay, Father Melancholy's Daughter, Evensong, The Good Husband, and Evenings at Five. She is also the author of The Making of a Writer: Journals, 1961--1963, the first of two volumes, edited by Rob Neufeld. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has written libretti for ten musical works with the composer Robert Starer. She lives in Woodstock, New York.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book starts out with everything going for it: intriguing characters, an intimate look at the underbelly of Miami in the

1950's. But somewhere in there, Godwin seems to have completely bypassed the plot. She gets the nitty gritty of a newsroom right, and then does very little with it.

There was, I felt, an element of "Mary Sue-ishness" in it. Except for the evil stepfather (a minor character without the rich extensive history given most of the others), everyone seems to be standing in line to tell Emma (protagonist) how clever, pretty, stylish, bold, talented writer/reporter, she is. This got annoying. Except for a streak of perfectionism, she was perfect! That makes for a boring heroine no matter how "grirry" her job.

Also, the title is misleading. Emma, through sheer coincidence, manages to make contact with a young woman who gained notoriety by running a charm school for call girls. I expected much more of her story, which was dropped for pages before being brought up again at the end. This was frustrating because the "Queen of the Underworld" was a truly fascinating character, even more so than the heroine.

In addition for someone who has been extensively physically and sexually abused as a girl, Emma's adult relationships were amazingly stress free and wholesome. How can she possibly trust men as partners wholeheartedly after being beaten and raped by her stepfather? This rang false.
Comment 27 of 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Like many of the others who have reviewed this book, I am a longtime fan of Gail Godwin and found most of her other books rich, complex and rewarding. I was pleased to see she had a new book out.

After completing around 100 pages, I was still waiting for anything to happen, other than the introduction of characters, the writing of a few newspaper stories by Emma, and several meals. I determined that I would finish the book regardless, and it was a disappointment that by the end, I still felt that essentially very little of interest had happened.

Many plot threads were introduced and never resolved. These dead ends were distracting, because I had noted them and imbued them with future significance, which never happened. For example, Emma's aunt Tess is involved in a plot with her employer, a Cuban expatriate dentist, to smuggle weapons into Cuba. We never learn how either of them became involved in this, what eventually happened with the weapons, or the significance of their involvement. The plot, if you can call it that, was thin and aimless. With such rich potential - the Miami of the late 50s, during the early days of Castro's regime - the plot could have been incredibly meaningful and complex - but unfortunately it's almost as if we see it through the eyes of an uninformed person who doesn't understand what she is seeing.

Most of the characters are rather flat and undeveloped. I hate to say it, but they seem like caricatures. An example is Lydia, the Cuban mother of Alex, the manager of Emma's hotel. From statements that Alex makes, we realize that he feels manipulated and used by his mother, but this is never explored or explained. She's just a self-centered fashion plate who likes to throw parties.
Read more ›
Comment 16 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Once again, a book gets published only because it's written by someone who's been published in the past, with no regard as to whether the book is good or not.

This book is a definite NOT!

In 1959, no woman directly out of college would have been hired as a reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper. I was a journalism major in the mid-60s and the best I could hope for was a job on the society pages on a small paper or copy editor (if I were lucky) on a large one. All the job offers I received were for secretarial positions with the possibility of free lancing and maybe "working my way up." (And, yes, I had experience, had been published in Sunday magazine supplements, worked on several college publications, and done co-op work on a local weekly paper.) I went to grad school instead in an unrelated field.

But I decided to suspend my disbelief and plod on. I'm sorry I did. Nothing else about the plot was in any way realistic.

And then everything just stopped. There were no resolutions to any of the plot lines. Why was the book called "Queen of the Underworld" when she's a minor character barely mentioned? Why was the main character crazy about her married lover, but then not upset when he was no longer coming to Miami? Did the Cubans she helped leave the US get arrested in Cuba? The book ended and I kept checking to make sure the last 50-100 pages (it would have taken that many to have resolved all the subplots) hadn't been torn out.

I'm not sure if I'm more frustrated, disappointed, or angry. I'm glad that I borrowed the book from the library and didn't waste money on it.

Blech.
1 Comment 15 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Bright-eyed, independent Emma Gant arrives in Miami in the summer of 1959 with the world at her feet. She has a married lover who'll show her the ropes, and a reasonably-priced residence orchestrated by a family friend, and an upwardly-mobile job at the Miami Star, the most important accessory for a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill journalism school.

Emma joins the Star's reporting staff at a tumultuous time, shortly after Fidel Castro enacted his First Agrarian Reform. Living in a hotel run by Cuban émigrés for Cuban émigrés makes the upheavals of Castro's revolución more than just news to Emma. Placing her in this context, the author seems to be drawing a comparison between Emma's situation and that of the Cubans. As Emma is struggling to figure out her place in the world and gauge her future success, so are her newly exiled neighbors.

The more one reads into the life history of the author, the more Queen of the Underworld begins to seem like a semi-autobiographical novel. Godwin herself graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1959 and spent a year on the staff of the Miami Herald before embarking on the world travels that sparked her literary career.

What is most curious about the novel is that it takes place over such a short period of time. The story of Emma's coming into her own, Queen of the Underworld is a window into what seems to be a key moment in Emma's development, one that may affect her entire career. Godwin, however, manages to squeeze an unbelievable amount of action into less than two weeks.
Read more ›
Comment 7 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews