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Cane River

2 Ratings: 3.5
A book by Lalita Tademy

Lalita Tademy's riveting family saga chronicles four generations of women born into slavery along the Cane River in Louisiana. It is also a tale about the blurring of racial boundaries: great-grandmother Elisabeth notices an unmistakable "bleaching … see full wiki

Author: Lalita Tademy
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
1 review about Cane River

(3.5) A small matriarchy

  • Sep 21, 2002
  • by
Out of the most heinous situations the strongest human character will survive and adapt. For one Cane River family, from slavery and beyond, the women find the strength to continue their bloodline, as the men are sold to distant places and the white man helps himself to the spoils. No woman of color is safe once a free man has set his gaze upon her. But the children she bears will never be legitimate, because, pre- and post-abolition, a white man cannot legally marry a woman of color, although he may live with her at the expense of enjoying the respect of white society. And he can expect his family to be terrorized and his house to be burnt by ignorant purist zealots. The women gather their children about them, generation after generation, firm in their commitment to a future without fear and loss.

The popularity of this novel lies in the successful struggle for survival that is so familiar to Black families that have begun in slavery. Since the women are chattels of their powerful white owners and freemen, the once strong color of their line is diluted into many equally beautiful shades. It is left up to these women to maintain the strength and integrity of their family line. In this effort, they are all successful, from Elizabeth to Suzette to Philomene, and finally, to Emily. This is a story of hope in the face of heartbreaking loss, the courage to continue for the sake of family members yet to come.

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