Do slavery, single motherhood, sugar cane harvesting, immigration, and politics fit together? Check out Attica Locke’s “The Cutting Season” to see how she pulled it all off in this coherent, thrilling novel. Usually I try not to be so blunt about what people ‘need’ to do – it’s kind of presumptuous to dictate another grown person’s actions – but you need to read this book. It is so good. I mean, better than “Gone Girl” (I personally wasn’t too entertained by that book, but a lot of people were). I was totally riveted. My Django was unchained.
The main character is Caren Gray, manager of a Louisiana plantation that is also her ancestral home. When she discovers the body of migrant cane worker on the border of the Belle Vie property, the story takes a harrowing turn as she struggles to figure out who the killer is. Could it be Donovan, one of Caren’s rabble rousing employees on the plantation? Or could it be the notoriously troublemaking overseer for Groveland Farm, which borders the Belle Vie plantation and is positioning a buyout of the Clancy family’s ownership? You really won’t know who the killer is until the very end, and you’ll be shocked. Along the way Caren also uncovers facts about another murder on that plantation that hits extremely close to home (I don’t want to give too much away, but it ties everything in very nicely). The themes of family, “home”, past, and labor are all woven together so tightly that you forget that the story itself isn’t real.
Locke’s experience writing for television certainly showed in this book – the action was fast paced, and I had a difficult time putting it down. In total it took me about 2 days to read all 300+ pages. Get your life, and get this book. It is, quite literally, the most breathtaking thing I’ve read in a very long while. Cop it here.