A Million Nightingales by Susan Straight [Thoughts on Women and Suffering]

I’ve always been drawn to African-American history.  This novel I picked up four years ago repaints the slave culture of Louisiana that was new to me.  Something struck me about the half-white, half-black protagonist.  I wrote the author, a writing professor at the University of Riverside 20 minutes away.  Here are the excerpts of my email and of her reply:

It struck me that Moinette could have been Asian.  There is something singular about the poignancy of Korean drama.  The premodern Korean woman in particular was literally long-suffering.  It was not only the incredible afflictions Moinette endured and navigated but her taciturn response, her posture that could have set her on an island on the other side of the world in Asia.  I found it so interesting that her measured narrative and matter-of-factness in all the adversity were culturally familiar to me.  Her voice.  Was it the unremitting suffering that evened the voice, the hopes?  Or that she was a woman?  Or that she was not white? 

I did not take to the style too much, especially in the beginning.  Fewer clipped sentences would’ve smoothed out the reading – at least for me.  I continued beyond the first chapter because I wanted to finish what I’d started, but from the point of Pelagie’s murder I was hooked and found myself moved by the last of the pages long after the reading. 

Thank you for the enlightening and stirring journey!

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I’m glad you wrote.  I think those are some excellent parallels with the particular suffering of Asian women, of so many women of color.

4 thoughts on “A Million Nightingales by Susan Straight [Thoughts on Women and Suffering]

  1. Thank you. I strongly feel that oppression, poverty and ignorance are social problems that affect all races but most particularly people of color. I have not read this book, but I can appreciate the author’s reflection over her own work.

My Two Gold Cents in the Holistic Treasury

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