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The Cutting Season: A Novel Hardcover – September 18, 2012
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“The impressively astute Attica Locke writes . . . in much the same way that Mr. Lehane [does]. . . . Each is willing to use the murder mystery as a framework for much more ambitious, atmospheric fiction.” (New York Times)
“Compelling. . . . A mystery that expands the whole idea of the mystery, reaching from the present deeply into the past. . . . Great writing, the kind that gives you goose bumps.” (Los Angeles Times)
“Although The Cutting Season succeeds as a thriller, above all it is a well-crafted warning about the damage wroughtgenerational, social, romanticwhen the past is distorted or denied.” (Financial Times)
“A thoughtful, well-written and absorbing read with a surprising ending.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“Dripping with southern Gothic atmosphere. . . . Equal parts murder mystery and family drama, the novel also draws readers in through its considerations of African-American history and life in post-Katrina Louisiana.” (USA Today)
“I was first struck by Attica Locke’s prose, then by the ingenuity of her narrative and finally and most deeply by the depth of her humanity. She writes with equal amounts grace and passion. . . . I’d probably read the phone book if her name was on the spine.” (Dennis Lehane)
“The Cutting Season is a rare murder mystery with heft, a historical novel that thrills, a page-turner that makes you think. Attica Locke is a dazzling writer with a conscience.” (Dolen Perkins-Valdez, New York Times bestselling author of Wench)
“The Cutting Season is a novel about the shifting definitions of family, the persistent pull of history, the sterling promise of home, and the stunning power of love. It pulled me in and held me close to the very last page.” (Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow)
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Top Customer Reviews
The Cutting Season is Attica Locke's second book. I missed her debut novel - Black Water Rising - it won numerous prize nominations and lots of praise. But, after reading The Cutting Season, I can see why. Attica Locke is good -really good.
Caren Gray and her young daughter have returned home to Belle Vie - the Louisiana plantation Caren was raised on. Her family history with Belle Vie stretches back to the days when her ancestors were slaves in the sugar cane fields. Now the plantation is a tourist attraction and Caren is the manager. It's not the path she wanted to pursue in life and she has mixed feelings about returning to the plantation.
When an migrant worker is found murdered on the grounds, old and new wounds are opened - long buried history and new controversy. And Caren puts herself in the middle....
Locke drew me in immediately. I was of course caught up in the present day whodunit. There are lots of suspects and the path to the answer is winding. But, at the same time, Caren is caught up in the disappearance of her ancestor Jason, one hundred years ago. Locke skillfully weaves the unravelling of both narratives together.
The mysteries are intriguing, but I enjoyed Locke's exploration of race, politics, business, history and yes, love, just as much. The juxtaposition of abolished slavery and the plight of migrant workers today provides much food for thought.
The character of Caren came across as 'real'.Read more ›
It seems the author wanted to write a great novel of modern race relations but felt compelled to force it into a mystery format, thus missing on both fronts. The unfortunate problem is Ms. Locke is a very talented writer, the setting of her book was beautiful, her characters had definite possibilities, and the crime itself was intriguing. She had all the pieces for a great novel but failed to put the puzzle together.
I think the plot derailed with the choice of main character, Caren, the caretaker of the living history museum Belle Vie Plantation. While an interesting person in her own right she never really investigated anything, nor as an ordinary citizen did she have an avenue to. Rather like my initial analogy, she was just a person to whom full solutions could be presented to over the course of the book. Typically a solid mystery would have a character dig into the threads of a solution and as the story progresses slowly find the truth. The side character of the investigative reporter would have had the means to pull that off much better.
Then when we are given the big climax wherein all is explained and it really comes as a complete package instead of a rewarding journey. There was so much to be explored and discussed between the two family histories, both Caren's and the villain's, and the two crimes, both ancient and modern.Read more ›
My thoughts: If pressed to pick a genre for this novel, I would begrudgingly call it a literary mystery. Somehow this moniker sells it short to me, however, as Locke uses a mystery to explore themes of race, class, history and progress. Caren is a fascinating character who slowly shares the details of her life, and the lives of her ancestors, with the reader. I appreciated how Locke used Caren to demonstrate the complicatedness of her relationship with Southern history.
I devoured this novel in twenty-four hours, and even though Locke sprinkled only minor clues throughout the novel, I did correctly guess the resolution to both the historic and contemporary storylines quite early. While normally figuring out the ending dampens my enjoyment of a mystery, in this case it did not. Finding out who killed the young woman on Belle Vie is never really the focus of the story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written, beautiful description of that part of Louisiana, interesting info on migrant workers. Was hard to understand many of the main character's actions. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Di-zee
I meant 5 stars!!!!!👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾, well written story of the struggle of tha Black American, with charm, romance, suspense, and family! I can't wait for her next book!Published 12 days ago by Patricia Malar Gray Sanders
Since this book is a Dennis Lehane book, I knew it had to be good, and I wasn't let down. I enjoyed Locke's story and the thoughtfully developed characters, and found it hard to... Read morePublished 13 days ago by CMA
I've ordered more books from this author. I liked this one... good suspense.Published 2 months ago by Michelle
I enjoyed the novel thoroughly and look forward to reading more of Locke's. I found the subplots just as interesting as the main plot, the inclusion of history and a perspective of... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lauri
The Cutting Season is set on Belle Vie Estate, formally part of a larger sugar cane plantation located in rural Louisiana. It is now a tourist attraction and event facility. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Heather Pearson