Automotive Holiday Deals Books Holiday Gift Guide Shop Women's Cyber Monday Deals Week Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Train egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Subscribe & Save Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer mithc mithc mithc  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage R6 Siege Shop Now bgg

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.

Kindle Price: $11.99

Save $2.96 (20%)

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Flip to back Flip to front
Audible Narration Playing... Paused   You are listening to a sample of the Audible narration for this Kindle book.
Learn more

Queen of the Underworld: A Novel Kindle Edition

41 customer reviews

See all 13 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Length: 368 pages Word Wise: Enabled
Audible Narration
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration with Whispersync for Voice. Add narration for a reduced price of $7.99 when you buy the Kindle book.
Audible Narration: Ready

The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders
"The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip" by George Saunders
Featuring fifty-two haunting and hilarious images, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip is a modern fable for people of all ages that touches on the power of kindness, generosity, compassion, and community. Learn more | See author page

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the summer of 1959, plucky North Carolinian Emma Gant escapes overbearing parents to begin her career as a reporter at the Miami Star. Lodged at the colorful Julia Tuttle Hotel (a fictional Florida property named after Miami's real-life founder), Emma meets a group of Cuban families who've recently fled Fidel Castro. Emma spends her days learning the ropes as a reporter and her nights bantering (in broken Spanish) with the eclectic group of exiles. She also arranges rendezvous with her married lover, Paul, an innkeeper largely responsible for her decision to move South. Godwin, a three-time National Book Award nominee, taps into her experiences as a fledgling Florida journalist to render a tale whose ambling, amiable plot is redeemed by a cast of memorable characters. Among them are an arms-smuggling dentist, a diminutive German perfumer, a nefarious reporter with an "overall gleaming effect," and a distinguished academic who flees Cuba with his memoir stitched into his wife's wedding dress. Topping the list of provocative personalities is Ginevra Brown, aka the Queen of the Underworld, a former Miami madam once betrothed to a mobster. Readers who can't get enough Godwin can snap up the first installment of her two-volume memoir, The Making of a Writer: Journals, 1961–1963, also due out this month (and reviewed on p. 44). (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

The twelfth novel by Godwin, a three-time National Book Award nominee best known for her sharp women characters and Southern sensibility, is a disappointing attempt to recycle in fiction the youthful passion, determination, and self-doubt that she has written about with vitality in recently published journals. Emma Gant, Godwin's alter ego, is an eager young reporter just out of college, who lands at a Miami paper in 1959 and makes her way through a landscape populated by scheming journalists, Jewish mobsters, Cuban exiles, a schmalzy ex-beauty queen, and the former madam of an "elite island whorehouse." Unfortunately, Emma's flat first-person narration blanches even such an eclectic cast of characters of its native color.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker

Product Details

  • File Size: 608 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 073932599X
  • Publisher: Random House (January 10, 2006)
  • Publication Date: January 10, 2006
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,729 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images or tell us about a lower price?

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By E.M. Bristol VINE VOICE on February 7, 2006
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 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
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Susan L. Flynn on January 2, 2007
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 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
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ilene Schneider on July 6, 2006
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.

1 Comment 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
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 2007
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 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


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in