By David Canfield
September 24, 2019 at 12:15 PM EDT
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Benjo Arwas/Getty Images; One World

The Water Dancer

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Joe Morton is singing the tune of The Water Dancer.

The Emmy-winning actor (Scandal) beautifully records the audiobook of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ buzzy debut novel, which earlier this week was selected by Oprah Winfrey as her new Book Club pick, the first in its new iteration with Apple Books. Winfrey called it one of the best books she’s ever read, and her promotion of the book across social media and on CBS This Morning quickly got readers’ attention. By Monday afternoon, the book was Amazon’s No. 1 best-seller.

The Water Dancer tells the story of Hiram Walker, a young slave who survives a near-death experience and embarks on an improbable, mystical escape. The book marks Coates’ first foray into fiction, having previously written memoirs and Marvel comics to great acclaim, and is already generating great reviews. “Nearly every paragraph is laced through with dense, gorgeously evocative descriptions of a vanished world and steeped in its own vivid vocabulary,” EW’s Leah Greenblatt wrote in her review.

With the book now published, EW can exclusively debut an excerpt of Morton reading from a passage of The Water Dancer. It highlights not only Coates’ prose, but why Morton is such a perfect fit to deliver it. Listen below. The Water Dancer is now available in hardcover and audiobook forms.

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