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Cajun Folktales (American Storytelling (Paperback)) Paperback – December 19, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While the tales of African Americans and Native Americans have been much anthologized, the vibrant oral folk tradition of the Cajun has been more or less neglected by American publishers. This excellent anthology by Reneaux helps plug that inexplicable gap. Reneaux, a noted storyteller and a Cajun herself, retells 27 tales she heard in childhood from relatives or has heard since from fellow Cajuns. Their folklore is as spicy and interesting as their famed food and reflects a variety of flavors and influences. The story of Lapin and his theft of honey from Bouqui, for instance, is a Cajun favorite and is clearly recognizable as one of the contests between Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox. Likewise, the aetiological tale of why alligators hate dogs is reminiscent of Native tradition. The author tells a wide variety of tales--animal stories, ghost stories, fairy stories. One of the best relates the Hansel and Gretel-like story of Catafo and his brothers, who out-smart their devilish host. Another perhaps also familiar one tells of the ghost of the renowned pirate Jean Lafitte trying to free himself of his cursed treasure.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

While the tales of African Americans and Native Americans have been much anthologized, the vibrant oral folk tradition of the Cajun has been more or less neglected by American publishers. This excellent anthology by Reneaux helps plug that inexplicable gap. Reneaux, a noted storyteller and a Cajun herself, retells 27 tales she heard in childhood from relatives or has heard since from fellow Cajuns. Their folklore is as spicy and interesting as their famed food and reflects a variety of flavors and influences. The story of Lapin and his theft of honey from Bouqui, for instance, is a Cajun favorite and is clearly recognizable as one of the contests between Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox. Likewise, the aetiological tale of why alligators hate dogs is reminiscent of Native tradition. The author tells a wide variety of tales--animal stories, ghost stories, fairy stories. One of the best relates the Hansel and Gretel-like story of Catafo and his brothers, who out-smart their devilish host. Another perhaps also familiar one tells of the ghost of the renowned pirate Jean Lafitte trying to free himself of his cursed treasure. (Publishers Weekly)
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Product Details

  • Series: American Storytelling (Paperback)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: August House; 2nd edition (December 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874832829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874832822
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is full of tales to please even the hard-nosed, gonna find something wrong with it Cajun's like myself! Nothing annoys me quicker than to buy a 'Cajun' book and find it obviously written by someone who isn't. Ms. Reneaux always does a great job of depicting the truth as we see it, and recording our oral history in a way that even we (Cajuns) can recognize as our own! This book will teach you some about Cajun humor. If you want to learn more about our roots, this is a great place to start!
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I have reviewed two of her books alrtools the so I'm not going to take much time with this one. Suffice it to say, that this woman, and her oh so very much mellifluous twang, are not indicative of the Acadiana area at all. In fact, all of her work is extremely commercialized, Very thinly researched, and generally, to quote Mr Fontonot, flat. It is rather sad that this woman died at least 10 years ago, leaving behind nothing but these pulp rags, and confusion.

I would personally recommend Dr Barry Jean Ancelet's works on Cajun culture. They are, quite obviously, from much better sources; he being among the most widely-respected experts on Cajun culture and folklore in the world. Better yet, his works are all well annotated, and will lead you to the other authors who will share our marvelous culture with you.

While you are at it, you might listen to music by Balfa Brothers, Balfa Toujours, and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, to add a much better spice to these tails than any of the half-baked country harmonica or lackluster stock fiddle clips Ms Renneaux's producers used.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book! I have also read other books by the late J.J.Reneaux and listened to her tapes, and I believe she was a master storyteller. Another reviewer complained that Reneaux was "dumbing down" her Cajun persona, but I think it was JUST a persona she was putting on to make the stories more "flavorful" and entertaining. Anyway, it is a wonderful collection of folktales. My children loved them!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very entertaining book. However some of the stories are more like ghost stories. I read before bedtime on recent mini-vacation. Most stories are very short, some I read aloud to my husband while he drove. It's a quick read. Thanks foo for the quick shipping.I purchased this book as a used book but it is more like new.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I commend Reneaux for putting traditional stories into a convenient format, I read each of these stories feeling as if Justin Wilson was telling them. Wilson was over the top with his delivery, and so is Reneaux. It's one thing to tell a story in an interesting way, it's an entirely different thing to tell it in such a way as to "dumb down" the characters in the story. Also, judging by Reneaux's photograph on the back cover, it looks as if she's torn between wanting to be a voodoo queen and a theater student at the local university. In other words, she seems to be trapped in the the commercial idea of what is "Cajun." With no intended offense to Voodoo or its followers, Cajuns were never known for their mystical Voodoo powers as far as I know. We might be a little superstitious and quite a bit Catholic, but Voodoo never seemed to play heavily into the culture.

Anyway, the stories are fun to read, but just be cautioned that not all Cajuns act like Justin Wilson and J.J. Reneaux may want you to think they do. In fact, most of them are pretty intelligent people.
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Format: Audio Cassette Verified Purchase
I had listened to this many years ago and was entranced by J.J. Reneaux's storytelling. Because I had listened to it as a cassette tape, I figured it was updated to a CD. Did not notice anything in description mentioning that it was a cassette tape vs CD. I returned it to the seller for return but have not heard back.
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Format: Kindle Edition
After I read a few of these stories (folktales), I read them to my wife in bed at nightime...wonderful tales to read outloud...like when we were children. Some have morals, some are just stories....but most are great. I can think of only two I did not like. I recommend this.
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Format: Audio Cassette
the actual book has 26 stories, the "audiobook" only has about 6 WTF! How about a little more info in the description. Also the sound quality is little more than a cassette tape ran through some filters. "1" 54 min track. J. J. Reneaux is great, its just the sparse content and shoddy sound quality I have a beef with. Thought i was getting all 26 stories, Was this audiobook even finished?
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