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A Million Nightingales Paperback – May 8, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
More About the Author
Her website is www.SusanStraight.com, featuring An American Family, with ties to ancestors from Switzerland, Africa, Canada, Oklahoma, Colorado, and California.
Top Customer Reviews
Sold without warning, Moinette is carried to a plantation far from her mother, fearing she will never see her again. Their lives unbearable, some slaves dare to run, easily recovered with the aid of slave-catchers and rewards, dealt with severely: "Chiens de negre, chiens de renard. Dogs for blacks, dogs for fox." For Moinette, the years pass slowly, assaulted at every turn in a society that views her as property, her one chance at love lost because she cannot bear to leave her small son behind.Read more ›
She is sold to another plantation owner. Ripped from her mother and a somewhat sheltered life, Moinette becomes a sexual plaything to her new owner. Abused and sexual assaulted and raped, Moinette eventually gives birth, but is once again ripped asunder from a loved one when she is sold and her child remains behind. Her dreams keep her going that one day she, her mom, and her child will be reunited.
This is a fascinating yet horrifying look at the de jure plight of a black female slave who must suffer sexual assault and humiliation. Adding to the overall feel of debasement is the comparisons to the lifestyles of her mistress. Though Moinette seems too enlightened about her place in society, readers will feel for her (impossible to fully empathize unless you lived the scene as being beneath the lowest rung of society) as historical readers get the rest of the story not included in the hasty books.
Through the eyes of Moinette, we see what it was like to be totally dependant upon the caprice of owners, good and bad. Through her, too, we hear a cry for freedom in interior monologue as poignant as any we've heard. Susan Straight brings an elegant use of language to this novel, a way with metaphor that is sheer poetry, lyrical in sound as well as image, a song both beautiful and terrifying.
An inordinately intelligent child, Moinette learns more than most men or women of that day simply by listening to her young mistress repeat her lessons and confirming what she hears by looking at the pages when it's safe for a black girl who can read end write. She must conceal what she has learned for severe punishments await a slave discovered to be literate. We learn, too, from her silence -- head down, never looking the master in the eyes, no answering back; indeed, a slave never begins a conversation, but simply waits to be called upon. To do more can be taken as a sign of defiance.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had to read for our book club and I didn't finish. I have read some challenging books in the past and actually enjoy the challenge, but just had a hard time getting into the book... Read morePublished 4 months ago by lizm
After reading her book on the Bees, I was expecting more. The content of this book was interesting but the writing style wasn't enough to carry the book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by David W. Kimball
I wanted to like this book more. There's some beautiful writing here and Susan Straight does a good job of bringing to life an early 1800s Louisiana still struggling with the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Sophfronia Scott
A beautifully written account of one African-American woman's life and of women's realities in 18th century Louisiana. Atmospheric and haunting.Published on October 19, 2013 by Elinor
Straight dredges her rich imagination and empathy to portray mean, desperate lives in late 18th century Louisiana of slaves, plantation owners, their daughters and wives.Published on April 24, 2013 by Jill
A Million Nightingales allows the reader to feel the weight of the stories of three generations of women bound by slavery through the heart of the last of the last slave of her... Read morePublished on January 27, 2013 by robert mattson
Poetically written, with captivating characters. Many to keep track of, so I felt the need to make notes. Read morePublished on December 28, 2012 by lucy
Recently while listening to NPR Susan Straight was being interviewed. She sounded so interesting I wrote her name down and ordered "A Million Nightingales". Read morePublished on October 21, 2012 by Wendy S.
Moinette is born south of New Orleans to a slave mother as a mulatresse-she is half white and half black. Read morePublished on February 16, 2012 by AMM