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Song of Slaves in the Desert

3.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  87 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Lyrically told and impeccably researched, Song of Slaves in the Desert traces the story of Nathaniel Pereira, a young New Yorker who's called to revive his uncle's South Carolina plantation. Nathaniel is struck by the sobering reality of slavery as he becomes captivated by the young slave Liza. Liza's never known the meaning of freedom, and as Nathaniel plunges into the mu ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published February 8th 2011)
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Nov 22, 2012 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two very interesting stories that combine about a family from Africa who is brought to Charleston in the slave trade, and a family from Holland who lives in New York. The New York family has a brother who lives in Charleston and who owns a plantation, and sends his son to check out if it is a good value. The story has great messages about freedom, love, and interpersonal relations.
Kathleen Kelly
I just could not get into this book.
May 11, 2011 Cina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a good book. It was four stories that created one story of a families struggle through slavery. On one side you learn about the plight of the slave woman, her cross to bear, to have children not born from love but from slavery and rape, to yearn for freedom and hope for and the stories of other slaves that these women interacted with. Then you have the story of the slave owners family, unlike most southern families these owners are Jews, themselves persecuted and enslaved now ...more
Sep 21, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books I wasn't sure if I would like, but couldn't put it down! All in all, I really did enjoy it, in spite of some of the changes I wish the author would have made. I felt the beginning was a bit disjointed, with a little too much information. In the beginning it was difficult for the reader to connect the very different stories together as part of one plot. As the story progressed, I found it easier to understand the true meaning of the first part of the book. The story was ...more
Haley Whitehall
I try to read as many books I can relating to slavery. This one was unique because the owners are Jewish and their family understands what it is like to be persecuted. This was a slow read that I never could get into. Lots of filler, descriptions, characters thoughts. If some of this had been weeded out the book would have been faster paced.

It was told from four points of view, both master and slave, but none of the characters really came alive for me. There wasn't much plot either. It reminded
Anne Reynolds
Very lyrical, with maybe the most vile, despicable antagonists I've ever read.
April Pearson
I finally gave up on this. It was well-written and I thought I'd find it interesting, but it just wasn't holding my attention. I really didn't care for the way it switched perspectives so often and it spent too much time on the slave owner instead of the slave.

I've got too many other more interesting things waiting for me right now. I might go back to it later, but I really doubt it.

Ok novel-- interesting basis for a story but I had a hard time getting interested in the part of the narrative based in Africa because the characters kept changing and perspective did not seem reliable or believable. The rest of the story I liked to an extent but I would be interested to learn more about the historical accuracy. The ending was enjoyable because it was a little unpredictable.
Oct 07, 2011 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had great hope for this book since it dealt with Jews, who were slaves in Egypt, owning slaves in the south. But, I found it a great disappointment. Almost sll of the characters seemed stereotypical and the plot was unrealistic. The moral dilemma of owning slaves was just mentioned in passing and never really explored in depth.
Jul 06, 2011 Ashley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I stopped reading this book after 350 (of 500) pages. It shows such despicable behavior...I just didn't have the stomach to keep reading. And there's something about it that did not ring true.
Linda Furrie
Did not care for this book, it was very confusing at first. Than just seemed to go on and on.
It wasn't one of those books I look forward to coming home from work and curling up and read.
Gypsy Lady
Book club selection. No quotable quotes collected.
Jan 20, 2013 Falene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
very long - interesting though
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American writer and critic.
For more than two decades, Alan Cheuse has served as NPRs voice of books. He is the author of three novels, including The Grandmothers Club and The Light Possessed, several collections of short stories, and a pair of novellas recently published in The Fires. He is also the editor of Seeing Ourselves: Great Early American Short Stories and co-editor of Writers Workshop in
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