Cane River

Cane River

by Lalita Tademy
4.5 227


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Cane River 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 227 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We know all the stories-how white men forced themselves on their black female slaves; the octoroon and mulatto children who resulted from those unions; the hope of freedom; the field work; the housework; the cruel overseers. There's nothing new in that arena in Lalita Tademy's debut novel, Cane River. But what makes this work stand out from any of the others in this historical area, which takes place along the Cane River in Louisiana, is the women who pepper this compelling family saga. First we meet Elizabeth and her daughter, Suzette. In her late thirties, Elizabeth seems much, much older, worn down by the burden of being a slave and her position as cook. Her motto is 'We do what we have to to survive.' Suzette is a high-spirited girl who has enjoyed being the shadow of her owner's daughter, Oreline Derbanne. Suzette cannot understand why she and her family are slaves, when there are free colored people living nearby. An white French immigrant and neighbor, Eugene Daurat, rapes Suzette and begins an affair with her that is rather odd, but intriguing. Suzette bears him two children. As time goes by, the plantation, Rosedew, the master, Louis Derbanne, dies. Suzette and her daughter, her mother, and her deaf-mite sister go in one direction; her son in another. Suzette's daughter, Philomene, grows up with a gift---the ability to see into the future----'glimpsings.' Philomene is about to marry Clement, the love of her life, but she is forced into intimacy with a white man, Narcisse Fredieu. Before Clement is sold away, she bears him twin daughters, but bears Fredieu eight. Philomene makes sure that Fredieu cares for his children by making certain the property on which he built them a home is in her name---security she calls it. The white stain Daurat started with Suzette is becoming more and more evident in each child that appears. By the time we reach Emily's (Philomene's daughter) stage of life, there are four generations of colored women living under the same roof. The children come from all over the Cane River area to have the dinner with Elizabeth and any other family member who can make it. Emily's tale goes up to her death in 1936 and is the frame of the novel. Tademy, who quit her vice-presidency position at a Fortune 500 company to research her family roots, has done an excellent job in portraying each individual woman. The names of the men, because they are French and resemble each other, are confusing and difficult to keep distinguished. However, Cane River is a wonderfully-written novel that moves at a dramatic pace and digs deeper into the soul's of these women and their era with remarkable richness and complexity.
just-a-thot More than 1 year ago
This book is one you will want to keep in your library, and pass down. A true story about Cajun, Negroe, and white families and slaves living together in the lower delta along the Cane river beginning in the mid 1800's, through the 1930's. It brought to me a life and time,& sacrifices made by the women who are ancestors of the author, that just tore at my heart. I could not put this book down, and am looking forward to the continuing story of "Red River". Highly recommend.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's important to know where you come from so your know where you are going. Ms. Tademy knew where to go to write this great book. It will go on my bookshelf next to 'Root' and the rest of my family's history books and albums. Sometimes we wonder why 'certain' things keep happening in the same family generation after generation after generation. After reading Cane River you will have the answer. This is a book that should be handed down from mother to daughter to grand-daughter to great-grand-daughter etc. to read and get an understanding of our responsibility as mothers. Cane River's story didn't just happen in Louisanna or to Black/Colored Creoles it happens through out the United States to many African American families today.
1louise1 More than 1 year ago
Three African-American women, Suzette, Philomene, and Emily, who put family first and did what they had to do, given their circumstances, to survive and also succeed. Meaningful read!
PricelessReads More than 1 year ago
I loved every minute of reading this book. Lalita Tademy spent years researching her family history, and then used what she found to write a semi-fiction, semi-fact based novel about her female ancestors beginning in the 1800's while they were still living in slavery. This is one of those rare books that tells a complete story. Each of these amazing, strong women, drew me in to the novel giving an excellent portrait of what a woman's life in slavery would have been like as well as the Civil War, reconstruction, and the years of discrimination that followed. I was so sad to say goodbye to these characters at novel's end that I found myself re-reading large sections of the book, unready to move on. I would recommend this story to anyone who has an interest in historical fiction, slavery, and the lives of real women. This is going on my all time favorites list.
LadyMoore More than 1 year ago
I read this book in less than 2 days. I couldn't put it down. Tademy tells a beautiful story of four generations of women and their battles with slavery, Jim Crow, love, and raising kids. It made me want to learn about my ancestors and their struggles and achievements. I felt like I was there, there was never a disconnect. Made more clear how things were back the and shows how many slaves fought, bled, and died for the next generation to have it even a little better.
PamT2u More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent read. The story is captivating and emotional. There are moments when you wanna cry. The women in this story are likable. You get a good glimpse into the various aspects of slavery and the role color impacted the system. The author did serious research and it is reflected in her writing. A must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have a hard time putting this book down. I am three quarters through and hate to know this book will come to an end. Reading this book makes you realize how very fortunate you are to live in the present era. Such hard times that people had in the 1700-1800s are hard to imagine. I chose this book for our Bookclub to read and we have not had a discussion yet. I am looking forward to our upcoming meeting. I would love to read more from this author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While it took me months to finish this book reading it in between others it was a great story.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I learned so much about Creoles and blacks that lived during the Civil War and pre-Civil War era in Louisiana. The story was a roller coaster of emotion. You're up, then flip the page and you're back down. The only thing that was difficult to follow were all of the names of everyone. I did a lot of flipping back and forth trying to remember who was who. Totally enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I recommended iy to my Brdge Buddies. The story is set on " bleaching the line" a theory that is new to me. The characters seemed authentic and I would give the novel 4stars.
Josie88 More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most engaging books I've every read! I could hardly put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely enjoyed this book. Thanks to Ms. Tademe for sharing your family with us. This book is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not one to read books that break my heart - especially if the book is similar to real history. However, this was my book club's choice and I am very happy I read Cane River. At first, it is difficult to remember all of the names. But, after a while, I got the hang of them ALL! The inner strength and intelligence the three generations of women had in the face of their adversities was impressive. My book club gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. The only reason for not having a full 5 stars was the same issue I had at the beginning of the book. We had a two hour discussion on the book which led into historical issues and current issues in the south. Amazing!!
4everbooks More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. What a beautiful story. I felt like I was living in this time period. I laughed and I cried. It stayed with me for a very long time, I highly recommended it to all who love to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading this book. It was painful, thought provoking, and exciting all at the same time. I stayed up late reading and tried to imagine how these strong women found the courage to go on after all they had to endure. This book opened my eyes to a lot of questions i had about Louisiana. I was facinated to learn that they all spoke French! This book was on my "to read" list for many years, and I'm so glad I finally got to enjoy it!
MaBrownWI More than 1 year ago
I read this one immediately after a trip to New Orleans that included a visit to a Cajun plantation. What a great coincidence! This book, the fictionalized biographies of three generations of strong, biracial women, the author's ancestors, challenged my preconceived notions about the antebellum south, its social hierarchy, and indeed, the nature of both slavery and slave holders.
AliciaDC More than 1 year ago
I found it hard to put down as I was eager to follow through with each character until I reached the end.
Maryanne Poole More than 1 year ago
Well researched, beautifully written. the author takes you to places to feel much of what is was like to be of mixed race blood in these particularly turbulent times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book years ago and I've reread it multiple times. Great book that pulls you in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a great read of how things were then. I am enjoying it very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved it! The best stories are those that begin with a real llife experience.  I was engrossed in this book because of it's readability, it is very well written, but also because the chronicle of their lives is the result of detailed research by Ms. Tademy, who is the great-granddaughter of Emily. This research gives an authenticity to the Cane River account which begins with the Civil War and ends in 1936, with the death of Emily.  It is simply put, an epic "page turner." 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found it very inspiring in light of Black History Month, of the struggle of being Black in America. Despite the fact that slavery has ended, many of the underlying prejudices still exist for African-Americans. You can be the fairest or the darkest, and still not be accepted as a valueable human being to many in this country! A Black man holds the highest position in this country, and is still not given the respect that he deserves for holding that title, simply because of the color of his skin. Even though Emily looked white, was educated, and owned land, she still wasn't quite good enough to many. She almost fooled the young white store clerk, until the older white woman came in. How quickly his attitude changed once it was brought to his attention.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed tremendously... highly recommend this historical fiction page turner!