From National Book Award finalist Susan Straight comes a haunting historical novel about a Louisiana slave girl's perilous journey to freedom.Daughter 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 she must navigate–with uncommon richness, intricacy, and drama.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: A Million Nightingales|
|Release Date: 11-26-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House, Inc.|
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|Parent title||A Million Nightingales|
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A Million Nightingales
I couldn’t take the moss from the two oaks in front of the house, where the windows faced the river, because Madame Bordelon liked to look at that moss. It was a decoration. She watched me from the window of her bedroom. Everything on the front land at Azure was Madame’s, for decoration. Everything in the backlands was Msieu Bordelon’s, for money.
And me—she stared at me all the time now. She stared at my hair, though she couldn’t see it. My hair was wrapped under the black tignon my mother had made last year for me, when I turned thirteen. I hated the weight on my skull. My hair was to be hidden, my mother said. That was the law.
The cloth at my forehead felt like a bandage. Like it was holding in my brain. A brain floated in Doctor Tom’s jar, in the room where he always stayed when he came to treat Grandmère Bordelon, for her fatness, and where he stayed now to treat Céphaline, for her face. The brain was like a huge, wrinkled, pale pecan. One that didn’t break in half. Swimming in liquid.
When I came for his laundry, he sat at the desk and the brain sat on the shelf, with the other jars. He said, “You can hold it.”
The glass was heavy in my hands, and the brain shivered in the silvery water.
“I bought that brain in 1808, yes, I did, and it’s been two years in the jar after spending several years...