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The Cutting Season: A Novel Paperback – September 17, 2013
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In this atmospheric follow-up to Black Water Rising (2009), Locke once again confronts matters of race and conscience. Some days, Caren Gray can hardly believe she is still rooted to Belle Vie, the Louisiana plantation where she grew up, where her mother was a cook and her great-great-great-grandfather was a slave. Now the single mother to a nine-year-old daughter, she manages the showplace, which has long been owned by the prosperous Clancy family and is a popular site for weddings and banquets. Despite the beauty of the house and grounds, Caren still feels uneasy whenever she visits the former slave quarters, a stark reminder of the antebellum plantation’s notorious past. When a cane worker is found with her throat slit, Caren is drawn into the investigation as the police target one of her employees as the murderer. Soon, though, Caren learns some rather unsavory information about the Clancy family and their nefarious dealings in both the past and the present. This is a nuanced look at the South’s tragic past and one strong woman’s stand against ingrained cultural and economic oppression. --Joanne Wilkinson --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
“One of the most engaging and gifted new voices in the genre. . . . The Cutting Season does more than exhume a body—it rattles the bones of slavery, race, class, and power to examine a crime that reverberates from more than a century ago.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“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 wrought—generational, social, romantic—when 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
Many of the staff there knew Caren when she was a little girl watching her mother run the main kitchen of Belle Vie for the Clancys up in the big house.
We find Caren hosting a tour for 5th graders, when just before one of her staff members was about to take them to the old slave quarters, a young girl's body was found near the fence of Belle Vie's property and the sugarcane fields on the other side. Needless to say, that put a holt on letting the children survey that area of the land, and opened up an investigation that not only involved the sugarcane business owned by the Groveland Company, but also a deep-rooted family secret tied to Caren. She knew this plantation meant a lot to her having grown up there and now she was raising her daughter, Morgan.
What Caren soon discovers is something that she couldn't have possibly dreamt of, and someone out there wanted to kill her for learning the truth.
I enjoyed this book tremendously. My only critique is that I felt the story could have ended much earlier than it did and Attica is a wonderful talent and gives a multitude of detail, and some of it I felt could have been done away with, but it didn't take anything away from the story. Outstanding read and I learned a great deal about slavery and the plantations on which my ancestors once lived. Well done.
Always, there were secrets. Whoever grew curious to look for the answers to the secrets didn't live to tell the truth. For example, Inez Avalo, a migrant worker, who meant no harm to any one, but brought horrible harm to herself. This is not just a deep, dark mystery. It's about a place with a historical story to tell. For example, the cutting season is harvest time on the plantation. Leave it to me I didn't think of that as the meaning of the title until one night the meaning became clear within a few sentences in the book, THE CUTTING SEASON.
"The cutting season, the harvest, is late fall, and goes until the first frost. It's been that ways for hundreds of years."
As I read Clancy's bright idea for Belle Vie my thoughts turned to the importance of maintaining history at whatever cost. Not allowing greed to sway the mind from the importance of keeping alive what our ancestors have built and died for during wars and aftermaths of wars. Merging with another business just to make more money is so shallow and shortsighted when it comes to keeping the meaning of our lives alive in architecture, legends, etc."Caren paused over the name. She thought by now she'd heard all the stories, the legends and tall tales. But she had never heard....."
Our History is a part of ourselves. Just like our blood flows through us, times of long ago flow through us, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. More money is not important. Leaving bridges to our past is what will build confidence within us.After all the plantations have a deep desire to tell the stories in their way. If I listen, this is what will come through the leaves and twigs."The plantation was a chorus of whispered voices. The wind in the tree leaves, the wind in her hair, and the long, green fingers...."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Character development was good author able to keep you in guessing