Cane River (Oprah's Book Club)

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9780446678452: Cane River (Oprah's Book Club)
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A New York Times bestseller and Oprah's Book Club Pick-the unique and deeply moving saga of four generations of African-American women whose journey from slavery to freedom begins on a Creole plantation in Louisiana.

Beginning with her great-great-great-great grandmother, a slave owned by a Creole family, Lalita Tademy chronicles four generations of strong, determined black women as they battle injustice to unite their family and forge success on their own terms. They are women whose lives begin in slavery, who weather the Civil War, and who grapple with contradictions of emancipation, Jim Crow, and the pre-Civil Rights South. As she peels back layers of racial and cultural attitudes, Tademy paints a remarkable picture of rural Louisiana and the resilient spirit of one unforgettable family.

There is Elisabeth, who bears both a proud legacy and the yoke of bondage... her youngest daughter, Suzette, who is the first to discover the promise-and heartbreak-of freedom... Suzette's strong-willed daughter Philomene, who uses a determination born of tragedy to reunite her family and gain unheard-of economic independence... and Emily, Philomene's spirited daughter, who fights to secure her children's just due and preserve their dignity and future.

Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Cane River presents a slice of American history never before seen in such piercing and personal detail.

*Includes reading group guide

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Review:

Lalita Tademy's riveting family saga Cane River chronicles four generations of women born into slavery along the Louisiana river. It is a tale about the blurring of racial boundaries: great-grandmother Elisabeth notices an unmistakable "bleaching of the line" as first her daughter Suzette, then her granddaughter Philomene and finally her great-granddaughter Emily choose (or are forcibly persuaded) to bear the illegitimate offspring of the area's white French planters. In many cases these children are loved by their fathers, and their paternity is widely acknowledged. However, neither state law nor local custom allows them to inherit wealth or property, a fact that gives Cane River much of its narrative drive.

The author makes it clear exactly where these prohibitions came from. Plantation society was rigidly hierarchical. The only permissible path upward for hard-working, ambitious African Americans was indirect. A meteoric rise, or too obvious an appearance of prosperity, would be swiftly punished. To enable the slow but steady advance of their clan, the black women of Cane River plot, plead, deceive and manipulate their way through history, extracting crucial gifts of money and property along the way.

In her introduction, Tademy explains that as a young woman she failed to appreciate the love and reverence with which her mother and her four uncles spoke of their lively Grandma 'Tite (short for "Mademoiselle Petite"). She resented her great-grandmother's skin-colour biases, which were as much a part of Tademy's memory as were her great-grandmother's trademark dance moves. But the old stories haunted the author, and armed with a couple of pages of history compiled by a distant Louisiana cousin, she began to piece together a genealogy. The result? Tademy eventually left her position as vice president of a Fortune-500 company and set to work on Cane River, in which she has deftly and movingly reconstructed the world of her ancestors. --Regina Marler, Amazon.com

Review:

"Extraordinary... illuminates the soul of heritage... historical fiction of the highest order."--Philadelphia Enquirer

"Evocative and convincing."--The Washington Post Book World

"Astonishing... bold, breathtaking, and unforgettable."--Essence

"A long-overdue response to Alex Haley's Roots."--San Francisco Chronicle

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780446615884: Cane River (Oprah's Book Club)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0446615889 ISBN 13:  9780446615884
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2005
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9780747266495: Cane River (Oprah's book club)

Headline, 2001
Softcover

9780446530521: Cane River (Oprah's Book Club)

Warner..., 2001
Hardcover

9780446527323: Cane River

Warner..., 2001
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9780786233731: Cane River (Thorndike Paperback Bestsellers)

Thornd..., 2002
Softcover

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