Lalita Tademy gave up her high-flying career as a vice-president for a Fortune 500 technology company in Silicon Valley in order to research her family's history. After discovering her great-great-great-grandmother's original Bill of Sale, she decided she had to write this book.
Like the river of its title, Tademy's saga of strong-willed black women flows from one generation to the next, from slavery to freedom. Elisabeth is a slave on a Creole plantation, as is her daughter, Suzette. The family, based on Tademy's own ancestors, wins freedom after the Civil War, but Suzette's daughter, Philomene, must struggle to keep her family together and to achieve financial independence. The melodious, expressive voices of narrators Belafonte and Payton are a pleasure to listen to, while Moore's tougher, grittier tone conveys the hardships faced by the family. However, Belafonte and Payton sometimes ignore vocal directions provided by the novel. For example, Payton reads one passage in a whisper even though the text says "in her excitement, Philomene's voice rose... louder and louder." The complex, multigenerational tale suffers somewhat in abridgment: at times the narrative too abruptly jumps ahead by decades and some emotional situations are given short shrift, as when Philomene discovers that her daughter Bette, whom she was told died as a baby nearly 20 years earlier, is actually alive and living nearby. Still, the audio succeeds in evoking the struggles of black women to provide better lives for their children despite all odds. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Forecasts, Mar. 12). (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
An accomplished first novel weaves fragments of real-life family lore into a vivid tale of four generations of African-American women struggling to hold their families together, first as slaves, then as freed people subject to Jim Crow laws and white vigilantism ... The result is a richly textured family saga that resonates with intelligence and empathy,... this excellent novel... a moving tribute to the force of love and the unseverable connection of family ties' 12/1 - the Times
First novelist Tademy turns fact (the story of her antebellum Southern family) into fiction. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.