Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Slavery Theme

Since reading "The Invention of wings", I have been thinking of other stories about slaves.  I have already mentioned "The Kitchen House", which I enjoyed.
But this may be my favourite:  "Cane River" by Lalita Tademy
This book allowed me to get inside the skin of a slave.  I was able to understand the thoughts and feelings as families are separated with slaves being sold separately.
Location: Louisiana (Rosedew Plantation)
Time: 1834-1936

There were three distinct classes in Cane river- Creole French planters, free people of colour, and slaves.  Surprisingly, even the free people of colour had slaves.
There was great skin colour bias in this family because they were attempting to 'bleach the line' - a conscious and not-so-conscious effort to improve life for their descendants.
The slave acution was very disturbing.  Each woman in each generation had emotional depressions but the family brought them through.
Main Characters:
Elizabeth - had 2 babies by the son of the plantation owner- she was sold away from them - loving relationship with Gerasimo (fiddler)- 2 daughters.
Suzette- raped by Eugene Daurat- 2 children - sold to Oreline (with daughter and sister)- later married Nicolas Mulon whom she had had a crush on earlier.
Philomene- psychic- married Clement - twins- Clement sold, babies die- gives in to Narcisse- 8 children- got land from Narcisse (and house)
Emily - fell in love with Joseph Billes, worked in his store- 5 children- Joseph got pressure from Night Riders- Emily got land and money.
Angelite- baby by Jacques- terrorized by Night Riders- Jacques returned to France.  Angelite married a black farmer, died in childbirth.

The situations that women have had to face are unbelievable!  And this book really brings them to life.

author- Lalita Tademy

   Lalita has a fascinating story!  She was Vice President and General Manager of several high technology companies in Silicon Valley, spending ten years running business units within large corporations. She was featured in Fortune’s “People on the Rise” list, as well as Black Enterprise and Ebony.  In 1998 she was named an African-American Innovator in the New Millennium at the Silicon Valley Tech Museum of Innovation.
   But her own interest in her family’s roots, and the ongoing issues of racism and women’s empowerment, plus her love of writing, led her to focus all of her energies on her second career – writing. 
  When she researched her family's roots, she said, "I discovered that the horrifying institution of slavery played out in individual dramas as varied as there were different farms and plantations, masters and slaves."

I loved "Cane River" and now I'm reading "Red River".  This book was selected as San Francisco’s One City, One Book in 2007. Her third novel, Citizens Creek, will be published in November 2014.

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