Set among the plantations in deepest Louisiana, Cane River follows the lives of five generations of women from the time of slavery in the early 1800s ...Show synopsisSet among the plantations in deepest Louisiana, Cane River follows the lives of five generations of women from the time of slavery in the early 1800s, through the Civil War and into the early years of the 20th century. From downtrodden, philosophical Suzette, who was born and died as a slave, to educated, pale-skinned Emily, whose high ambitions born in freedom become her downfall, we are introduced to a remarkable cast of charactes whose struggles reflect the tragedy of slavery, the determination to overcome, and, ultimately, the triumph of the spirit. This deeply personal saga - based entirely on the author's research into her own family history - ranks with the best African-American novels and introduces a major new writer.Hide synopsis
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This is one of the best books I ever read in my life, and I am a historian. I put this on a very similar level with Gone With The Wind, alhough they are not alike in story sense. I opened the first page, and never quit reading for two days solid. The cover did not particularly attract me to this book, until the author said the woman under the tree was her G G grandmother Emily. By the time the book ends, I just kept re-reading and looking back at pictures, not wanting the last page to be the end. I have recommended it to every one I know. And, I agree, this book should be mandatory reading in all high school history classes. I am a teacer, and white by the way.
As a white woman, with black friends, I found this book by a black woman fascinating, well-written and delightful to read. I appreciated the photos that were in the book of the family members that she wrote about, and it gave some new insight and understanding of the slave experience here in American. The book was heart-rending and yet joyful.
Following an African-American multigenerational family as they care for their families within the struggles of slavery, the reader is witness to beautiful description and character strength. At a time when birthing a child your own does not guarantee she will be able to live with you (she is the master's property like the rest of your family after all), "Cane River" characters do what they can to make life better for their families. Elizabeth, Suzette, and Philomene will live on in the reader's memory long after the book is closed.
I thoroughly enjoyed Cane River. It is a fast paced narrative that has excellent character development. I really thought that the author did an excellent job of getting into the hearts and minds of her characters and communticating that to the reader. This is just a wonderful story of a family that overcomes much adversity and comes out stronger.
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