Thursday, June 10, 2010

Property by Valerie Martin

PropertySet in Louisiana in 1828, Property relays the life experiences of Manon, the white wife of a Louisiana plantation owner during the time of slavery. Manon is disgusted by her husband but is hardly more sympathetic herself. The book expresses the hypocrisy and evils of slave ownership through Manon's petty distinctions between her vulgar, brutal husband, and her idealized view of her father. Ultimately, there are no hero's of this tale. Each character is uniquely flawed and human, and the beauty of this book is its realistic recreation of the time period without appealing to sentimentality or melodrama.

This was a ver quick read. Like any good depiction of the human grotesque, reading 'Property' feels like watching a car accident, you are disgusted and appalled, yet you can't look away. A small book that from the very first chapter packs a punch - highly charged with emotion and uncomfortable to read but, I believe it captures that way of life.  So glad it is in the past but, definitely something we shouldn't forget.  This book will stay with me.

Rating: 4.1 Recommend