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The author makes it clear exactly where these prohibitions came from. Plantation society was rigidly hierarchical, after all, particularly on the heels of the Civil War and the economic hardships that came with Reconstruction. 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 the wake of a visit from the 1880 census taker, the aged Elisabeth reflects on how far they had come.
When the census taker looked at them, he saw colored first, asking questions like single or married, trying to introduce shame where there was none. He took what he saw and foolishly put those things down on a list for others to study. Could he even understand the pride in being able to say that Emily could read and write? They could ask whatever they wanted, but what he should have been marking in the book was family, and landholder, and educated, each generation gathering momentum, adding something special to the brew.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-color 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
What a book! Hope there will be a movie version of this. I couldn't put it down once I started reading.Published 9 months ago by Shopaholic
Note: This review was previously posted on my blog, The Baking Bookworm ([...])
My Thoughts: I was a little surprised that I enjoyed this book so much ... Read more
Grand Central Publishing | April 1, 2002 | Trade Paperback | ISBN 0-446-67845-7
Lalita Tademy was a successful corporate vice president at... Read more
Although it broke my heart many times over, I enjoyed listening to the abridged audiobook version of this story that spans several generations of African American women, beginning... Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by D. Prince
I had heard of Cane River for several years before I finally read it, and I was so glad I did. The beginning was slow going (for me), because I've read many stories about slavery... Read morePublished on July 3 2004
I do not know why, but I could not really get into this book. I usually enjoy narratives such as this, but I just could not enjoy it to the fullest. Read morePublished on April 25 2004 by LoVe2ReAd
Impressive debut novel spanning the history of five generations. From the plantation to freedom, the story is overflowing with tales and rich descriptions of the times. Read morePublished on March 29 2004 by Patty Philbrook