Property by Valerie MARTIN

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From the acclaimed author of Mary Reilly, a groundbreaking novel that reexamines the questions of power and resistance, violence and sex, which inform all her work.

Set in the surreal heat of the antebellum South during a slave rebellion, PROPERTY takes the form of a dramatic monologue, bringing to the page a voice rarely heard in American fiction: the voice of a woman slave holder. Manon Gaudet is pretty and petulant, self-absorbed and bored. She has come to a sugar plantation north of New Orleans as a bride, bringing with her a prized piece of property, the young slave Sarah, only to see Sarah become her husband’s mistress and bear his child. As the whispers of a slave rebellion grow louder and more threatening, Manon speaks to us of her past and her present, her longings and dreams – an uncensored, pitch-perfect voice from the heart of moral darkness.

PROPERTY is riveting fiction, fast, richly plotted, shimmering with visual detail. It is also an invitation to re-examine the traditions of the Southern novel and the myth of the chivalrous South, and a haunting meditation on what Valerie Martin has called “the fantastic and constant perversity of the oppressor to feel victimized by the oppressed.”

About Valerie MARTIN

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VALERIE MARTIN’s works include the novels Mary Reilly, The Great Divorce, and Italian Fever. Her most recent book, Salvation, is a reconsideration of St. Francis’s life. A native of New Orleans, Martin now lives in upstate New York.
Published December 18, 2007 by Vintage. 210 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Property

The Guardian

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Manon persists in seeing Sarah as a sexual rival, despite her having resisted and been brutally subjugated, first by Manon's uncle, then by her husband.

May 30 2003 | Read Full Review of Property

Publishers Weekly

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The racial unrest of the 1820s reaches this unhappy trio in the form of a small gang of escaped slaves who, in an unforgettably hellish scene, wound Manon, murder her husband and allow Sarah to escape.

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Entertainment Weekly

Manon Gaudet loathes her husband, a pompous antebellum plantation owner who canes his field hands and impregnates his house staff.

Feb 28 2003 | Read Full Review of Property

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