Cane River (Oprah's Book Club)
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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.
thought or motion, until she turned herself to the next thing to be done. She had to blink against the strong sun, still so low in the sky that the side of the house had blocked its glare until she had almost fully passed the front gallery. Before she even saw him there, she could feel his eyes on her. Narcisse Fredieu. He had always watched her, for as long as she could remember. She had grown up with those eyes always on her. In the beginning the watching had been just another condition of
communion. I can ask Aunt Françoise to give her permission for you to take classes when I do. Besides, I will always be around if there is something to be read.” * * * Oreline gave Suzette a secret, reassuring side glance when Françoise came in to lead the two girls in bedtime prayers. “Aunt Françoise, can Suzette take communion with me?” Françoise looked from one girl to the other. “First communion is not until you are twelve, and requires serious study to get ready.” “I would help her,”
2 C ANE R IVER , L OUISIANA —1837 S uzette felt the weight of the rosary alongside her lucky strip of cowhide, safely sheltered in her apron pocket. If her hands hadn’t been covered with butter, she would have taken a moment to finger the beads again, memorizing their shapes and sizes. She stood opposite her mother across the worktable in the cookhouse, her hands almost as fast as Elisabeth’s as she greased several baking pans. “That dress turned out fine,” Elisabeth said, and smiled.
addressed with such respect by her new last name. Cane River was topsy-turvy. She had to keep reminding herself that the gens de couleur libre were no more. They were all free now, although Doralise’s house was one of the few places former slaves mingled regularly with former Cane River colored royalty. Most of the gens de couleur libre refused to mix with any but their own, but Doralise pulled in a stream of visitors and went out of her way to make Suzette welcome. Especially since Yellow John
around the table, looking in wonderment from face to face, as if the gummy yellow mixture had not splattered on her shoe or the sharp splintering of the bowl had not set Angelite to crying. Philomene settled her hands high across her stomach, fingers laced one over the other, and began to laugh. “We got them this far,” Philomene said, exchanging a satisfied look with Elisabeth and Suzette. “We can ease up just a little. My two girls can handle it now.” Side by side, light and dark, Emily joined