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Home » Books » Fiction & Literature » History

Can River (Oprah's Book Club


By Lalita Tademy

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Format: Paperback / softback, 543 pages
Other Information: illustrations
Published In: United States, 28 February 2005
The "New York Times" bestseller and Oprah's Book Club( Pick--the unique and deeply moving epic of four generations of African-American women based on one family's ancestral past. "Evocative and convincing."--"Washington Post Book Review."


Like the river of its title, Tademy's saga of strong-willed black women flows from one generation to the next, from slavery to freedom. Elisabeth is a slave on a Creole plantation, as is her daughter, Suzette. The family, based on Tademy's own ancestors, wins freedom after the Civil War, but Suzette's daughter, Philomene, must struggle to keep her family together and to achieve financial independence. The melodious, expressive voices of narrators Belafonte and Payton are a pleasure to listen to, while Moore's tougher, grittier tone conveys the hardships faced by the family. However, Belafonte and Payton sometimes ignore vocal directions provided by the novel. For example, Payton reads one passage in a whisper even though the text says "in her excitement, Philomene's voice rose... louder and louder." The complex, multigenerational tale suffers somewhat in abridgment: at times the narrative too abruptly jumps ahead by decades and some emotional situations are given short shrift, as when Philomene discovers that her daughter Bette, whom she was told died as a baby nearly 20 years earlier, is actually alive and living nearby. Still, the audio succeeds in evoking the struggles of black women to provide better lives for their children despite all odds. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Forecasts, Mar. 12). (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

First novelist Tademy turns fact (the story of her antebellum Southern family) into fiction. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"A long-overdue response to Alex Haley's Roots."--San Francisco Chronicle "Astonishing... bold, breathtaking, and unforgettable."--Essence "Evocative and convincing."--The Washington Post Book World "Extraordinary... illuminates the soul of heritage... historical fiction of the highest order."--Philadelphia Enquirer

EAN: 9780446615884
ISBN: 0446615889
Publisher: Warner Books
Dimensions: 17.37 x 10.41 x 3.15 centimetres (0.25 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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2 review(s)
All Reviews
Sascha Edgecombe on
This is a book that will move you more than you would have expected. Although there are so many books of the similar stories, this one is different. It is moving, and will remind you of the true importance of family, it will make you cry & make you proud too be a woman. I could not put this book down & now can't wait too read the sequal, as you will too become very attached too these three women...
Another fabulous Oprah Book club.
Sharon Miller on
I read this after hearing a review on Oprah. I thouroughly enjoyed it.
A huge tale of slavery, womens lives in those times, how their very existance depended on the whim of a white man.
A true story based on the author's own family, tells of 4 generation of black women and the times they lived in and how they survived and lived the best life that they could.
Very interesting readable tale.

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