A Million Nightingales

A Million Nightingales✯ A Million Nightingales Books ✴ Author Susan Straight – Oaklandjobs.co.uk From National Book Award finalist Susan Straight comes a haunting historical novel about a Louisiana slave girl's perilous journey to freedomDaughter of an African mother and a white father she never From National Book Award finalist Susan Straight comes a haunting historical novel about a Louisiana slave girl's perilous journey to freedomDaughter of an African mother and a white father she never knew Moinette is a house maid on a plantation south of New Orleans At fourteen she is sold separated from her mother without a chance to say goodbye Bright imaginative and well aware of everything she risks Moinette at once begins to prepare for an opportunity to escape Inspired by a true story A Million Nightingales portrays Moinette’s experience–and the treacherous world A Million PDF \ she must navigate–with uncommon richness intricacy and drama. In this book even than ever Susan Straight creates a palette of physical details hair bone ink bodily fluids that in turn create a world In this case it's French Louisiana in the early 1800s where a young biracial slave uses her considerable wits to rise from powerlessness to relative freedom I loved how she was something of a scientist in a time when science barely existed always wondering about the natural world The novel reminded me a bit of Toni Morrison's A Mercy in terms of Straight's emphasis that other groups women gay men Indians uadroons free people of color suffer under slavery's many variations A sometimes sad sometimes uplifting always visceral book Susan Straight's A Million Nightingales is the story of Moinette a young teen with a white father and an African mother who is sold at the age of 14 to another slave owner The novel takes place during the Antebellum era of the old SouthI'm ashamed to say that I discarded this novel about mid way through I just didn't find it captivating or original especially when compared to other novels on similar subject matters by Alice Walker and Toni Morrison Although there are many possible plots for novels of the Antebellum era I didn't feel as if this particular slave girl novel was interesting enough to stick outStraight's style in writing protagonist Moinette's voice is simplified to a degree that allows us to better hear and understand this character; however the writing is so simplified that I failed to see the story as anything other than bland I know that as readers using our imagination is part of the job to relate to novels but A Million Nightingales just isn't lively enough The pictures painted of Moinette's experiences as a slave are vague and fuzzy and just not colorful enough to have a major impactMy favorite novel about the Antebellum era is The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton I went through a childhood phase that had me obsessed with anything about the Underground Railroad My favorite novels by Alice Walker and Toni Morrison are The Color Purple and Beloved respectively This is an interior novel that would work very well as an audio book Perhaps I think that because I heard the author read a short passage from it and her rendering was very moving At times I could still 'hear' the author's voice while I was reading Maybe I think it because some of the connections the narrator makes in her somewhat stream of consciousness telling might not sound as repetitive in an audio as they sometimes look to be on the page But that is a minor issue Moinette's story loosely based on court records that the author found that deal with a 'free woman of color' buying her son is told with admirable empathy and was one I wanted to come back to when I had to put it down Being from Louisiana I found it interesting and important from a historical viewpoint Much as with Holocaust stories there may already be many fictional narratives from this time period slavery; but that doesn't mean there aren't many uniue important stories still to be toldI wasn't surprised to learn from the acknowledgments that one of the author's inspirations was Intimate Enemies The Two Worlds of the Baroness De Pontalba I thought of that nonfiction book immediately while reading what happens to one of Moinette's owners I tore through this book faster than any novel in a long time It's a glimpse into the complexity of slavery in the USI found myself thinking about the characters and the prose even when I wasn't reading I love Susan Straight's writing style character development and subtlety In A Million Nightingales her fifth novel Susan Straight achieves parity with the writing that made Toni Morrison one of my top three most admired novelists a perfect amalgam of intelligence empathy and artistry This novel is a slave story and like the Civil War World War II the Holocaust the Cultural Revolution it takes hundreds maybe thousands of stories to encompass these huge life altering events Fiction biography memoir as well as history books are all reuired to bring the tales of individual human beings locations and the legacies of the past forward to people who live now Through Moinette daughter of a Louisiana slave and a white sugarcane planter we get an entire society and socio economic world set in a discreet location Susan Straight has said that she combined the stories of slave ancestors told by her in laws with extensive research By sheer artistic genius she transmuted it all into the life of Moinette and created a woman whose experiences made her a strong survivor It is a horrific tale but left me with huge love and admiration for Moinette who was a cadeau fille or gift girl because her mother Marie Therese was gifted to a visiting white planter for an evening's entertainment Various characters present gifts to Moinette in the form of education protection and funds which enable her to survive Cephaline the rebellious daughter of Moinette's first master who lived only to study read and write passed on the skill of reading to Moinette Between Marie Therese and Cephaline though their words and teaching differed Moinette worked out the basics of survival for a mixed blood slave woman As in all of Ms Straight's novels motherhood is a strong factor as is a love of language and an implacable urge for freedom She makes it clear that personal freedom is attained and maintained through strength intelligence extreme wariness and plenty of luck Even with all of those elements in place in any individual there are absolutely no guarantees because human beings are also capable of depths of weakness stupidity and unawareness Further life is random including weather and dangerous environments These are the lessons and realities of Moinette's life One of the great benefits of reading an author's novels from earliest to most recent is seeing the development of the author herself I see A Million Nightingales as Susan Straight's finest most powerful novel In answer to the uestion of what she wanted readers to take away she says I'd like them to take away a few hours of having lived like someone else I have taken that from all of her novels so far but than ever in this one This novel was an emotional journey for me I can't accurately put into words how I felt while reading it At times I felt inspired by the characters at other times I felt betrayed by the author However I do understand the author's choices for the characters since life has never been fair to anyone let alone to slaves in 1800s LouisianaWhat I most love about this novel is what I've come to realize that I love about all of Ms Straight's writings is the sense of genuineness I feel whenever I read one of her books While reading this book for my MA dissertation no less I felt transported to that time period of history I found myself adapting the way of thinking and completely immersed in the novel Hence the red weeping eyes and puffy nose I am currently supporting while writing this reviewIn short this was an amazing read I recommend to all who wish to take a dive into Louisiana's history and see life from the point of view of a survivor This book just about broke my heart To live a life so fettered emotionally physically intellectually must be intolerable but to add the loss of anyone and anything meaningful in your life has to be unbearable Yet Moinette our heroine in the truest sense of the word continues on in spite of all her heartbreakThe writing is lush and beautiful which makes the subject matter even harder to bear as Straight captures the rhythm and cadences of early 19th century Louisianna Straight up this book does it in ways that only Toni Morrison has ever touched on slavery and importantly the slavery of being female on a planet filled with hate for women The language is wonderful I'm going to read all her other books now I read this book for both good and ridiculous reasons but I am really glad that I didRidiculous I recently read the third book in the trilogy Between Heaven and Here I'm a completist so I don't read books out of order and I read all of themGood I really enjoyed Between Heaven and Here and wanted to find out the stories that occur before and after The third book chronologically falls between the first and second booksRidiculousGood I discovered the GoodReads most read authors list feature and was embarrassed by 1 how few female authors were on the list 2 how low they were in the rankings first ones were tied for 22nd and that included JK Rowling and 3 how high James Patterson was on the list tied for 5th So I am working on getting some strong female representation in the top 10 eg Margaret Atwood Patricia Highsmith and possibly Susan StraightThe not as good I thought the ending of the story felt rushed and took a few too many dark turns view spoilersyphilitic rape and the pointless death of her son hide spoiler Moinette is born south of New Orleans to a slave mother as a mulatresse–she is half white and half black Since her mother’s slave labor consists largely of laundry and also due to her looks Moinette spends her life serving predominantly within the white homes instead of the fields which is a dangerous location She also spends her life striving to be free and to save her familyStraight manages to depict the aching despair and struggles of those enslaved while simultaneously not demonizing anyone and making Moinette highly relatable She is an intelligent woman in an impossible situation and her life story is gut wrenchingI do feel however that Straight rushed the story a bit toward the end Significant events like deaths of certain people in Moinette's life feel rushed over I wanted the book to last longer and be in depth in the end than it wasOverall this is a powerful book that takes an unflinching look at the impact slavery had on black women Recommended particularly to fans of historic fictionCheck out my full review