The “New York Times” bestseller, Oprah’s Book Club AND NiaMagazine.com Pick– the unique and deeply moving epic of four generations of African-American women based on one family’s ancestral past. PURCHASE THE BOOK: HERE
The official Book synopsis:
Lalita Tademy had always been intensely interested in her family’s stories, especially ones about her great-grandmother Emily, a formidable figure who died with her life’s savings hidden in her mattress. Probing deeper for her family’s roots, Tademy soon found herself swept up in an obsessive two-year odyssey-and leaving her corporate career for the little Louisiana farming community of CANE RIVER.
It was here, on a medium-sized Creole plantation owned by a family named Derbanne, that author Lalita Tademy found her family’s roots-and the stories of four astonishing women who battled vast injustices to create a legacy of hope and achievement.
They were women whose lives began in slavery, who weathered the Civil War, and who grappled with the contradictions of emancipation through the turbulent early years of the twentieth century. Through it all, they fought to unite their family and forge success on their own terms.
Here amid small farmhouses and a tightly knit community of French-speaking slaves, free people of color, and whites, Tademy’s great-great-great-great grandmother Elisabeth would bear both a proud heritage and the yoke of slavery.
Her youngest daughter, Suzette, would be the first to discover the promise-and heartbreak-of freedom.
Suzette’s strong-willed daughter Philomene would use determination born of tragedy to reunite her family and gain unheard-of economic independence.
And Emily, Philomene’s spirited daughter, would fight to secure her children’s just due and preserve their future against dangerous odds.
In a novel that combines painstaking historical reconstruction with unforgettable storytelling, Lalita Tademy presents an all too rarely seen part of American history, complete with a provocative portrayal of the complex, unspoken bonds between slaves and slave owners. Most of all, she gives us the saga of real, flesh-and-blood women making hard choices in the face of unimaginable loss, securing their identity and independence in order to face any obstacle, and inspiring all the generations to come.
The Author’s Bio:
Lalita Tademy is the New York Times Bestselling author of three historical novels. Her debut, Cane River was translated into 11 languages, and became San Francisco’s One City, One Book in 2007. Stanford University recently selected Cane River as assigned reading for all incoming freshmen in 2015. Her second novel, Red River, was released to critical acclaim in 2007. Her third novel, Citizens Creek, was published in November 2014.
Before writing full-time, Lalita was Vice President and General Manager of several high technology companies in Silicon Valley, spending over a decade running business units within large corporations. 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 a family’s roots, and the ongoing issues of racism and women’s empowerment, led her to focus all of her energies on her second career – writing.
She has been featured in People Magazine, O Magazine, More Magazine, Good Housekeeping, The Today Show, The Early Show, CNN, and the Oprah Winfrey Show, and has appeared as a speaker for the Library of Congress and National Book Festival, the California Governor’s Conference for Women, African American Librarians – Black Caucus, Louisiana Library Association, Professional Businesswomen of California, National Association of Principals for Girls, and as a San Francisco Library Laureate.
Born in Berkeley, California, far from her parents’ southern roots, both her mother and father made sure their household (Louisiana West) maintained a definite non-California edge, including a steady supply of grits, gumbo, cornbread, and collard greens, and a stream of other transplanted southerners eager to share their “back-home” stories. Some version of those tales seem to steal their way into whatever she writes.
Lalita lives in northern California with her husband, Barry Williams.
Reading/discussion period (5/1-5/31)
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