Cover image for Cane River
Cane River
Tademy, Lalita.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Warner Books, 2001.
Physical Description:
xii, 418 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
970 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.5 20.0 66559.

Reading Counts RC High School 9 25 Quiz: 25640 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Clearfield Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Concord Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Eden Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Elma Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Hamburg Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Lake Shore Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Lancaster Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Marilla Free Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Frank E. Merriweather Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Williamsville Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Based on the author's own search of her family's past, Cane River is an epic novel based on the lives of four generations of African-American women. Beginning with Tademy's great-great-great-great-grandmother, Elisabeth, this is a saga that sweeps from the early days of slavery through the Civil War and into a pre-Civil Rights South--a unique and moving slice of America's past that will resonate with readers for years to come. Photos throughout.

Author Notes

Lalita Tademy lives in Menlo Park, California.

(Publisher Provided)

Lalita Tademy is the New York Times Bestselling author of two historical novels. Her debut, Cane River, was Oprah¿s summer Book Pick in 2001, and her second novel, Red River, was selected as San Francisco¿s One City, One Book in 2007. Her third novel, Citizens Creek was published in November 2014. Before writing full-time, Lalita was Vice President and General Manager of several high technology companies in Silicon Valley. She was featured in Fortune¿s People on the Rise list, as well as Black Enterprise and Ebony. But her own interest led her to focus on her second career - writing.

She has been featured in People Magazine, O Magazine, More Magazine, Good Housekeeping and The Today Show. She has also appeared as a speaker for the Library of Congress and National Book Festival.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Tademy halted a career as a high-powered technology executive to research her family's history. Her findings--four generations of strong-willed black women who survived slavery and racial injustices, maintained strong family ties, and left a legacy of faith and accomplishment--are transformed here into a powerful historical novel. The tale is told from the perspectives of Suzette, Philomene, and Emily, all born and raised in a small farming community in Louisiana. Suzette was raped by one of her master's relatives, and this set a pattern of race-mixing for her descendants. Philomene, Suzette's daughter, is desired by a powerful white man, Narcisse, and, after her slave husband is sold away and she loses her children, succumbs to his attentions. But she uses her sexual allure and a gift for premonition to secure protection and, after slavery ends, land and education for her family. Philomene's fierce determination reconstitutes the family on land she has secured from Narcisse. She is also determined that her daughter, Emily, will have every possible advantage, including, eventually, a wealthy white protector. Throughout three generations, however, none of the women escapes the social conventions forbidding interracial marriages; each is abandoned or driven away when her white protector wants to produce legal progeny. The incidental, progressive whitening of the family ends when Emily's son, T. O., marries a dark-skinned woman and reclaims his racial identity, inaugurating the line from which Tademy comes. Including old photographs and documents verifying the reality that underlies it, this fascinating account of American slavery and race-mixing should enthrall readers who love historical fiction. --Vanessa Bush

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

First novelist Tademy turns fact (the story of her antebellum Southern family) into fiction. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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