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Isle of Canes
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2014 Group Reads > Isle of Canes: November 1 -- November 30

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message 1: by Londa (last edited Oct 31, 2014 12:10PM) (new) - added it

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments Isle of Canes by Elizabeth Shown Mills
Isle of Canes by Elizabeth Shown Mills

Isle of Canes is the epic account of an African-American family in Louisiana that, over four generations and more than 150 years, rose from the chains of slavery to rule the Isle of Canes.


message 2: by Londa (last edited Nov 13, 2014 06:37AM) (new) - added it

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments Discussion Schedule:

November 5 --- Prologue & Part 1 --- Message 14
November 10 --- Part 2 --- Message 23
November 15 --- Part 3
November 20 --- Part 4
November 25 --- Part 5 & Epilogue


message 3: by Londa (new) - added it

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments This is a pretty hefty book. We will definitely be splitting it into 4 parts.

Has anyone started? Read it in the past?
How are you liking it so far.

The author is a prominent genealogist. I am curious as to how that will influence her novel and how she will introduce the characters. It could be a good thing or a bad thing in my thinking.

She might have the tendency to lean toward character overload, including everyone and their grandma. Or she might be very skilled at showing how everyone fits together without introducing us to each and every 3rd cousin twice removed. I guess we'll see. :0)


Maya B | 790 comments Glad we are splitting into 4 parts. I am going to start next week.


Jane Character makes this novel.


message 6: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee | 708 comments The pages of this book feels so good. It has that magazine feel to it at almost 600 pages. lol..


message 7: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee | 708 comments I wonder if I should've read Cane River by Lalita Tademy first?! lol


message 8: by Maya (last edited Nov 02, 2014 06:39PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments Lee I have not read Cane river either, but this should be interesting. Lol at the magazine feel


message 9: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee | 708 comments Hi Maya! How far are you in this book?


message 10: by Maya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments Lee wrote: "Hi Maya! How far are you in this book?"

Page 25


message 11: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee | 708 comments I'm on page 15. I wish it was a ebook (Kindle), then I could take it with me while away from home. It's too heavy to travel with. lol..


message 12: by Maya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments Lee wrote: "I'm on page 15. I wish it was a ebook (Kindle), then I could take it with me while away from home. It's too heavy to travel with. lol.."
Lol.....books with this many pages I like the hard copy


message 13: by Londa (new) - added it

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments Updated the discussion schedule in message 2.

I have read Cane River, and am interested in how the two compare.


message 14: by Londa (new) - added it

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments November 5 --- Prologue & Part 1 ***SPOILERS

Prologue - The Memory Keeper

We are introduced to the Metoyer family as Perine Metoyer watches the Augustin Manor go up in flames. Through her words, we are told that the Metoyer family is not living up to the legacy it once had. She decides to tell her "nephew" the family history

I really like the idea of the family matriarch reminding the youngest generation of who they really are. Great start to this family saga.

Part 1 - The Promise

We are introduced to the original family started by Francois and Fanny. Both born in Africa and belonging to the St. Denis family.

I found the story very easy to follow and was caught up in it right away.

Some quotes I found interesting

"You wonder why I cried that day we married?".....I cried because I did not want a husband at all. When a woman takes a man, she bears children, and children put stronger chains on a woman than any master can"

For a woman, it mattered little whether she was black or white. They were all somebody's property.

Both statements are testament to a woman's special burden. We encountered this in A Mercy as well. The quote from that book was

“There is no protection. To be female in this place is to be an open wound that cannot heal. Even if scars form, the festering is ever below.”

-----------------

Even though the women are especially burdened, so far, they are the backbone of this family.

What have been your thoughts so far?


Angie | 15 comments Londa wrote: " November 5 --- Prologue & Part 1 ***SPOILERS

Prologue - The Memory Keeper

We are introduced to the Metoyer family as Perine Metoyer watches the Augustin Manor go up in flames. Through her word..."


I found that quote from the book interesting also. All women regardless of color were in some type of bondage.
I really like the portrayal of Francois and Fanny. Both of them are from the motherland and are solid backbones of this family. Fanny clearly remembers who she was before she was sold into slavery. She even reminds her mistress that she was royalty once also. Francois was a merchant and dealt with the type of characters present in the story. Also Francois adores Fanny. I was saddened that they both died still enslaved.
Coincoin’s story is interesting but I had trouble understanding the meaning of the last paragraph of chapter 11. The next chapter skips to 4 years later. Who is the young man with olive skin? Am I missing something?

Enjoying the book so far.


message 16: by Londa (new) - added it

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments I also LOVED Francois and Fanny's relationship with each other. It is not very often that we see a loving romantic couple in a slavery novel. Even though they died in bondage, at least they were not separated as so often happened.

Angie I will have to reread that paragraph. I don't have the book in front of me.

Part II begins with the Metoyer branch that Coincoin eventually marries into. I have not read very much of Part II yet.

I have a feeling that those extensive family trees at the beginning of the book are going to be very useful in keeping everyone straight.


message 17: by Maya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments This book started out a little slow for me at first because I didn't feel the connection to the characters, but fanny and francois keeps me reading. It is starting to pick up the pace.


message 18: by Maya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments Angie you asked about the olive skin which I found on page 80. Seems the author is referring to a black man or a man of mix race.

I found a quote on page 75 that I found interesting "the tiny Eleanore, not quite white enough to fit into the world in which she had been born" does this mean that Marie's daughter Eleanore was of mix descent? Was her "lover" black?


message 19: by Londa (new) - added it

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments I am pretty sure he was Acadian (Cajun) (I'll have to check the book). The French elite did not care for them either. Thought they were too wild, poor, and uncultured.

http://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/genet...

Once again, reading has taught me something I didn't know. I really didn't know the history of the Cajun people and I thought the term was interchangeable with Creole, but it's not.

http://www.experienceneworleans.com/c...


message 20: by Maya (last edited Nov 07, 2014 02:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments Londa wrote: "I am pretty sure he was Acadian (Cajun) (I'll have to check the book). The French elite did not care for them either. Thought they were too wild, poor, and uncultured.

http://www.medschool.lsuhsc..."


good to know! I need to look up some books about this. This book has picked up the pace a lot . I am really enjoying it. I should be able to get a good bit of reading in this weekend.


Angie | 15 comments Thanks for that insight.


message 22: by Londa (new) - added it

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments Please feel free to start discussing PART II. :o)

I need to catch up.


message 23: by Maya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments SPOILER


I really loved Coincoin's story. It was so sad how she was put on public display because she had children with Pierre. It was a crime to have children of mix race. After reading pt 2 I could not help but to reflect on how times have changed and I am so glad that they have changed. People cant help who they love.

I could not believe her first husband Chatta ran away to freedom and left her with 5 children. I know he offered for her to come but wanted her to leave the children. I am glad she stayed even though she ended up falling in love with a man(Pierre) whom she could never legally marry.


message 24: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane I think Coincoin s character and story are the best in the novel.


message 25: by Maya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments Coincoin, Fanny, and Francois were my favorite characters.


message 26: by Londa (new) - added it

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments When Coincoin was whipped and humiliated because of her relationship with Pierre, I really didn't care for Pierre. He didn't seem to suffer at all, and she had to bear all of the punishment. It's not like she had much choice in the matter.

We didn't really get to know Chatta all that well. I would have liked to hear more about their relationship although I know there is only so much you can include in a multigenerational saga.


message 27: by Maya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments Coincoin's life could be a book all by itself.


I think Pierre loved for her, but of course his reputation was more important


message 28: by Londa (new) - added it

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments What did you all think of Pierre and Coincoin owning slaves? I really liked the way she made the 'deal' with them when the war started. The sharecropping was certainly more fair than the usual 'deal' slavery offers.

My mind kept drifting during the war portions.

----------------------------------------------------
Please feel free to discuss PART III. I am going to finish it tonight.


message 29: by Maya (last edited Nov 17, 2014 08:06AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments I think Pierre wanted slaves just for profit. Coincoin was very smart and I feel because she was a slave she wanted equal treatment for all slaves as well. She made sure they were paid fairly and made a little profit at the same time. Pierre did not like that at first but eventually it all came together and Coincoin's way worked out better than Pierre thought.

I have to go back over chapter 3 when I get home today.


message 30: by Maya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments SPOILER PT 3

I was glad Pierre kept his word when he moved out of the house that he and Coincoin shared. She was now free and all their children would eventually be free as well. He also gave her financial support for their children. I can't imagine what it must have been like for her to watch Pierre move on with his life.

I know Pierre did a lot for Coincoin, but did he really love her? Do you think it was more he could have done so that they could have stayed together?


message 31: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee | 708 comments Part 3
The children of Coincoin that are dying belong to Chatta or Pierre?


message 32: by Maya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments Maybe Pierre. I noticed the author did not write to much about the children Coincoin had with chatta. There is a chart in front of the book that list the children she had with Chatta and Pierre.


message 33: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 405 comments Maybe one of the Goodreads Award Winners.


message 34: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 405 comments Sorry, guys. I put this comment in the wrong thread :(


message 35: by Londa (new) - added it

Londa (londalocs) | 1526 comments I has taken me forever to finish this book! It is really dragging in the middle. I will keep the thread open and come back to it. Please feel free to discuss the entire book from this point forward.

I think he loved her in his own way, but that love was corrupted and incomplete. He still felt she wasn't 'good enough' so how could it be true love. He did as much as he wanted to. I supposed he didn't HAVE to leave her, but he would have risked a lot to stay.

What started to irritate me was Coincoin's attitude that anyone could better themselves, slaves or not. That simply wasn't true. She was emancipated, but only because she was attractive to a white man. Not everyone had the same avenues available.


message 36: by Maya (new) - rated it 3 stars

Maya B | 790 comments I agree this book did slow down in the middle. Coincoin was the only reason I finished. I became annoyed by her because I felt she set higher standards for the children she had with Pierre. Not much was said about the children with Chatta. It was as if she abandoned them.

I do remember one conversation her oldest child with Chatta and the daughter wanted answers as to why she left


message 37: by Jane (last edited Dec 03, 2014 08:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane Coincoin was the only reason I finished it too I just feel that it was too long.


message 38: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee | 708 comments Very long, still haven't finished part 5 yet. lol.. I don't know if I will. It's due back at the interlibrary a few days ago.


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