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Island Beneath the Sea
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2016 Group Reads > Island Beneath the Sea: November group read

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message 1: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - added it

kisha | 3907 comments Mod
Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarité -- known as Tété -- is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Though her childhood is one of brutality and fear, Tété finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in the voodoo loas she discovers through her fellow slaves.

When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, it’s with powdered wigs in his baggage and dreams of financial success in his mind. But running his father’s plantation, Saint-Lazare, is neither glamorous nor easy. It will be eight years before he brings home a bride -- but marriage, too, proves more difficult than he imagined. And Valmorain remains dependent on the services of his teenaged slave.

Spanning four decades, Island Beneath the Sea is the moving story of the intertwined lives of Tété and Valmorain, and of one woman’s determination to find love amid loss, to offer humanity though her own has been battered, and to forge her own identity in the cruellest of circumstances.


We will start this book on November 1st. Please post below is you will be reading along. I will do a reading schedule soon as it gets closer to the time.


message 2: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
I will be reading!


message 3: by Brina (new)

Brina My favorite author, so excited!!!


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments I'm in and looking forward to it.


message 5: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - added it

kisha | 3907 comments Mod
has anyone received their copy?


message 6: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
I've got mine.


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments I have it and I have to admit, I started it already.


message 8: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
lol


message 9: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - added it

kisha | 3907 comments Mod
lol Dosha how are you enjoying it? I just read the sample on Amazon and ordered my copy in the mail.


message 10: by Brina (new)

Brina I'm doing my buddy read first and will read it. Isabel Allende could write a cereal box and I'd read it.


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments I'm loving it. It is a little complicated when listening on audio. It is longer than the other books I've been reading lately, so in an effort to not be left behind I thought it prudent to begin early and whisper sync between audio and text. I'm proud of myself, LOL>


message 12: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - added it

kisha | 3907 comments Mod
Brina wrote: "I'm doing my buddy read first and will read it. Isabel Allende could write a cereal box and I'd read it."

lol


message 13: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee | 708 comments I have it & I'm ready!


message 14: by A.D. (new) - added it

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments I've got it and have read the first few chapters and I love it already. I've never read a book about slavery that looks at the French and Spanish perspective.


message 15: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - added it

kisha | 3907 comments Mod
The first chapter of this book Zarite starts off in a happy place with happy memories which for a slave novel, is nontraditional. She talks about when she first learns about dance and music, being able to choose the main she loves, and all of her living children and grandchild being free. DO YOU THINK THE FIRST CHAPTER OF THIS NOVEL PROPERLY SETS THE TONE FOR THIS NOVEL? WHY DO YOU THINK A BOOK ABOUT SLAVERY BEGAN IN A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE BY A SLAVE WOMAN?


message 16: by A.D. (new) - added it

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments I'm about halfway through the book and I love it. It makes me want to go to Haiti and learn more about voodoo.

I don't think the first chapter sets the tone. I actually didn't realise that slavery in the Carribean, or maybe Haiti in particular, was that horrific and because of how horrific it was it isn't surprising that Haitian slaves were the first to rebel and emancipate themselves.

I have been wondering about why the book begins with a positive perspective of a slave woman who appears to be looking back on her life and why those sections are written in italics. That and the title of the novel (view spoiler)


message 17: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
Starting this one tonight.


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments A.D., you made me smile. I love it. I want to go to Haiti also, but not particularly to learn more about voodoo, lol.

I'm about 1/2 way through it too. So much has happened that I cannot honestly remember what the first chapter is about, but I can say that I don't think Tete has a strong hold on the common reality of life for slaves because she seemed a bit more sheltered from what went on than was usual. she saw and was exposed to more than she had to actually experience. She was lucky to have her Godmother. She was not sold a lot, therefore didn't have a lot of masters and Chambray seemed to be her biggest threat.


message 19: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
Lets take a field trip to Haiti!! lol


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments I know that's right! We can pick a group read for the travel time there and back. Have you ever heard of a reading cruise? I understand they are becoming popular. Just saying, lol.


message 21: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (last edited Nov 07, 2016 10:53AM) (new) - added it

kisha | 3907 comments Mod
Oh a reading cruise I love the sound of that!

Have any of you read The Book of Night Women? It's another slavery novel that takes place in Haiti (or maybe Jamaica?). Do you think the concepts of slavery from these two books are similar or different?


message 22: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - added it

kisha | 3907 comments Mod
A.D if you are interested in learning more about voodoo try reading Voodoo Seasons by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Its a great novel with a beautiful prose similar to Toni Morrison. It focuses on the history of voodoo and ho it WS originally used for healing bit was eventually used for bad. It's very intriguing and historical. I think it's New Orleans based.


message 23: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
Reading cruise? I have to look into this!


message 24: by A.D. (new) - added it

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments You guys are so lucky I'm broke or I would be organising a reading cruise to Haiti lol. I think that is a fantastic idea for a holiday.

Your comment made me laugh, Dosha. I'm a scaredy cat so the nearest I'll be getting to any Voodoo is from reading about it in books lol. I agree that Tete was sheltered but (view spoiler)

Thanks for the recommendation, Kisha. I'll be adding that one to my TBR pile.


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments kisha wrote: "Oh a reading cruise I love the sound of that!

Have any of you read The Book of Night Women? It's another slavery novel that takes place in Haiti (or maybe Jamaica?). Do you think the concepts of ..."


I have The Book of Night Women on audio but have not got around to it yet.


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments A.D. wrote: "You guys are so lucky I'm broke or I would be organising a reading cruise to Haiti lol. I think that is a fantastic idea for a holiday.

Your comment made me laugh, Dosha. I'm a scaredy cat so the ..."

Excellent point about Tete and Valmorain. It was worded so smooth, you could easily miss it. But yes, so true all the way - it is what it is no matter how we phrase it.


message 27: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee | 708 comments In the 1st chapter, pages 7-8 were missing. The librarian informed me that it was received to them from the publisher that way. lol..

This is were Valmorain's father was dying of syphilis. O_o?


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments Tante Rose is my hero.


message 29: by A.D. (new) - added it

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments Lol, Lee.

Yeah, I loved her too, Dosha. (view spoiler)


message 30: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
I've finished Alex Cross's Trial and The Underground Railroad, both sucked me in. Lol.

What do you think caused Tete to run away twice? She was so young and she obviously loved Honore and seemed to really like Violette.


message 31: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee | 708 comments Where is everyone at in the book?


message 32: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee | 708 comments Lulu, I concur!


message 33: by A.D. (new) - added it

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments I've finished it and really enjoyed it.

I think the 2nd time she ran away it was because she knew she wouldn't be able to stay with Violette. I'm not sure about the reason why she ran away the first time, but I remember Violette remarking to the woman she bought her from that she was thin, so she wasn't being treated properly - though it sounds as if very few slaves were treated well in Haiti.


message 34: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
I'm still in the early stages LEE. About 20% through.


message 35: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
My heart goes out to Eugenia. What she is going through is just horrible.


message 36: by A.D. (new) - added it

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments Yeah, I felt sorry for Eugenia too. I found myself wondering at times whether she really was delusional or if some of the slaves had cursed her lol. I really loved the parts about voodoo in this novel and I want to learn more about it.

I saw this article ages ago and it scared the hell out of me.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments A.D. wrote: "Lol, Lee.

Yeah, I loved her too, Dosha. [spoilers removed]"


I think the likes of the Dr. and Sancho exist but in extremely low numbers. I really felt bad for poor Eugenia. She did not have a chance, neither did Tete.

I'm not sure how I feel about Violette.

I have made it as far as (view spoiler)


message 38: by A.D. (new) - added it

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments I liked Violette. She seemed to make the best out of her lot in life whether she wanted it or not.


message 39: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee | 708 comments Yes, Eugenia had a hard time with her pregnancies, but......

I'm still not sure what I think of Violette. lol

The Dr. sure gave Valmorain a history lessons on Africa. lol


message 40: by A.D. (new) - added it

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments Dr Parmentier made me laugh at times. Where are you up to, Lee?


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments Lee wrote: "Yes, Eugenia had a hard time with her pregnancies, but......

I'm still not sure what I think of Violette. lol

The Dr. sure gave Valmorain a history lessons on Africa. lol"


You got that right: I loved when the good Doctor told Valmorain that (view spoiler)


message 42: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
Cambray is straight up evil. He's a mulatto and a slave, right? How can he be so cruel?!?!


message 43: by A.D. (new) - added it

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments I know, Lulu. I don't know if Cambray was a slave. He could have been one of the free Mulattos. But Lacroix sounded like the worst of the lot even though the reader didn't get to meet him, just heard about what went on at his plantation.


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments Lulu wrote: "Cambray is straight up evil. He's a mulatto and a slave, right? How can he be so cruel?!?!"

Chambray certainly took full advantage of abusing his power, slave or not. The more I read about Valmorain, the more I came to despise him. And then his (view spoiler)


message 45: by A.D. (new) - added it

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments Yeah, I hated Valmorain too. (view spoiler)


message 46: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
I'm up to the part of the rebellion starting....this is a really good book!

I'm glad (view spoiler) Tete went through a lot during that situation, she's had to endure a lot up to this book in the book. I wonder why her strength and character is downplayed.....maybe I should just keep reading. ;)


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments A.D. wrote: "Yeah, I hated Valmorain too. [spoilers removed]"
He was an (insert any swear here), no doubt. (view spoiler)


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3228 comments Lulu wrote: "I'm up to the part of the rebellion starting....this is a really good book!

I'm glad [spoilers removed] Tete went through a lot during that situation, she's had to endure a lot up to this book in..."


Keep reading daughter. :-)


message 49: by A.D. (new) - added it

A.D. Koboah (adkoboah) | 261 comments I think Valmorain probably was considering selling his son, Lulu, and it was probably his affection for Violette that made him do the decent thing. The book is fascinating. Hearing about the rebellion just made me think about the extent to which slaves were brutalised in Haiti.

I don't know if you've got to that part yet, Lulu, but what do you guys think of the terms the rebels wanted to agree to when they had the meeting with the grand blancs? (I think that's what they were called)

I've read a lot about slavery in America but had no idea just how horrifying slavery in Haiti was. It's no wonder Haitians were the first to free themselves.

Dosha(view spoiler)


message 50: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2489 comments Mod
VALMORAIN IS SUCH A COWARD!!!!! Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!


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