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Cajun Waltz: A Novel Hardcover – June 14, 2016

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"Cajun Waltz captures the cadence of the Louisiana bayou during the Depression and beyond, with a cast of unforgettable characters who inhabit a dysfunctional time and place." - Connecticut Humanities, 2017 Connecticut Book Award for best fiction.

"Patton's novel is raw and atmospheric...mesmerizing [in a] way that readers won't be able to stop turning the pages."- Booklist

"Wondrous, fresh and oftentimes hilarious, Robert Patton's novel, 
Cajun Waltz superbly animates the Deep South and its many inherent contradictions. A compelling and vividly written page turner about lives that are alternately stunted by tragedy then brightened by hope. A magnificent romp of a book. I could not put it down." - Deborah Johnson, author of The Secret of Magic, winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Best Legal Fiction

"Robert Patton has written a fabulous novel of passion , race, and violent skullduggery set down in Cajun Country. Distinguish yourself by buying it now." - Winston Groom, author of 
Forrest Gump and the Pulitzer Prize nominated Conversations with the Enemy.

"If pleasure is your purpose in reading, you will be delighted with Robert Patton's 
Cajun Waltz, a novel of unforgettable characters caught in a dysfunctional world of family and place, a stay-with-it story that makes reading a celebration of gladness. And there is this plus: Patton is a remarkably gifted writer, one of the ablest I've read in years." - Terry Kay, bestselling author of To Dance with the White Dog

About the Author

Robert H. Patton holds degrees in literature and journalism from Brown University and Northwestern University. He worked as a Capitol Hill reporter, a commercial fisherman, and a real estate developer before publishing his family memoir, The Pattons, to wide acclaim in 1994. He lived and traveled throughout the South before settling in Darien, Connecticut, with his wife.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition (June 14, 2016)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 272 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250088992
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250088994
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.76 x 0.97 x 8.51 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 16 ratings

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Robert H. Patton's most recent novel, Cajun Waltz, received the 2017 Connecticut Book of the Year Award for fiction from Connecticut Humanities. A family saga set in southwest Louisiana in the first half of the 20th Century, the novel is available from Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's Press).

His previous book, Hell Before Breakfast, a non-fiction history of American newsmen-adventurers in 19th Century Europe and Central Asia, was published by Pantheon in 2014 and is available in paperback from Vintage.

Patton's current project is a series of historical novels centered around the world of colonial privateering chronicled in his acclaimed history, Patriot Pirates. The series features naval warfare, international intrigue, and the colorful money-madness of privateering during the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812. Look for Book One of Jackals & Foxes from Thomas Dunne next year.

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4.0 out of 5 stars and a violent encounter with some good old boys after a performance with a black musician ...
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 16, 2016
Cajun Waltz is a Greek tragedy with roots deep in black delta soil. The story begins with Richard (Richie) Bainard, a white musician from Texas who finds himself in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1928. Richie is a bit of a shiftless layabout, thinking about getting out of the music business and into something a bit more profitable. A chance encounter with the spinster daughter of the local dry goods store seems to offer him a way out, and a violent encounter with some good old boys after a performance with a black musician cements his choice. Richie marries the spinster and finds himself heir to a burgeoning retail empire.

Unfortunately, with a small taste of power and control, we find that Richie Bainard is not exactly a very good person. He is a violent and unfaithful drunk, terrorizing his family, friends, and mistress.

Like any good Greek tragedy, the sins of the father carry forward to the next generation. Here we have the twins: Bonnie, cold and pathologically calculating, and R.J., shiftless and casually violent. And then there is Seth, Bonnie and R.J.’s half brother, partially blinded and crippled in an accident as a child, trying to feel his way free of his poisonous family. Also exiting and entering the plot are the Bainards’ hangers-on, enemies, and victims, everyone’s stories weaving in and out of one another to form a tapestry of a dysfunctional family.

This book is the fictional debut of history writer Robert H. Patton. His style reflects his past; Cajun Waltz is written in the style of novelized nonfiction, and Patton draws on actual historical events and people to give the story bite. In the style of southern gothic tragedy, all the characters in Cajun Waltz (even the protagonists, such as they are) are deeply flawed, and occasionally difficult to sympathize with.The book being set in the 1920s through the 1950s, the issue of race indeed comes up, but is largely discarded later in the book. The book also features two women prominently: Bonnie Bainard (daughter of Richie) and Adele (one of the family’s victims) who choose very different (and not necessarily successful) routes to deal with the casual misogyny (and violence) of both their era, and the Bainard family.

In all, this book is a quick read and difficult to put down once started. I think it speaks well of the author’s characters when I want to reach through the page and slap/strangle a few of them. History buffs, or those into historical fiction will enjoy this book.

A copy of this book was provided by the author via Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.Cajun Waltz is currently available for purchase.

More reviews are available on my blog.
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