The Cutting Season

Jan 28, 2014

OakAlleyPlantationAdd another thoughtful, compelling look at American slavery to 12 Years a Slave and the Ani DiFranco/Nottaway conversation and cancellation: Attica Locke’s perceptive mystery novel, The Cutting Season.

Set in the present day, but haunted by the past, The Cutting Season features a conflicted modern black woman, Caren Gray, who has returned to Louisiana to manage Belle Vie, an antebellum plantation and tourist attraction where she grew up. Now surrounded by cane fields that are owned by a mega-agri-conglomerate, the mansion is once again her home—she lives in a guesthouse on the property and a sort of trap for her, filled with memories of her childhood and the echoes and consequences of slavery. When a Mexican migrant woman working in the surrounding fields ends up dead, Gray becomes tangled in a complex scenario that brings up, for readers, our own complicity in what amounts to present-day slavery, as well as our relationship to America’s past.

Creating characters you want to sit down and have a drink with, and plots as full of dodges and weaves as Mohammed Ali, Locke is a fluid, graceful writer who’s not afraid to educate as she entertains, weaving a seamless and fascinating tapestry of plot, personalities and politics.





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