Announced June 20, 2001
About the Book
Lalita Tademy had always been fascinated by stories of her great-grandmother Emily — a strikingly beautiful, high-spirited woman who had stared down adversity. As she set out to research her family's history, she discovered astonishing truths about her ancestors — proud and fiercely determined women born into slavery. The quest to understand the realities of their lives took her back to an isolated, close-knit community along a river in central Louisiana, where white plantation owners, free people of color, and slaves once coexisted in convoluted and often non-stereotypical ways. To her surprise, Tademy found herself walking away from a coveted job in Silicon Valley to tell the stories of the remarkable women of her past. The result is a compelling, heartfelt, and sweeping American saga, Cane River.
An epic work of fiction deeply rooted in historical fact, Cane River spans a hundred turbulent years to trace the lives of women who battled unspeakable injustices to create a legacy of hope and achievement. Opening in 1834 on a medium-size Creole plantation worked by French-speaking slaves, the novel boldly explores the intricate relationships between slaves and slave owners, and provocative issues of class and racism within the black community. With profound insight into the social hierarchies and everyday brutalities, the emotional complexities and agonizing choices, Tademy vividly captures the resilience and courage of four generations of flesh-and-blood women.
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