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Song of Slaves in the Desert by Alan Cheuse
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Song of Slaves in the Desert

by Alan Cheuse

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He has no history in the rice fields, no background in being a master. Plantations are as foreign to him as the African plain that birthed the slaves his uncle owns. Surely, though, he knows his own heart. She has no say in his decisions, his day, his life. She doesn't even have a say in her own. But when Nathaniel Pereira plunges into the murky mysteries of freedom and survival in the suffocating Southern heat, Liza can see how she might change her life forever.

Tracing the thread of slavery from sixteenth-century Timbuktu, Song of Slaves in the Desert explores one man's struggle to understand a world where honor is in short supply yet dignity cannot be sold. His mission in peril, his mind nearly undone, Nathaniel's obsession binds him to his fate more tightly than chains ever could.A masterful writer skilled in both accuracy and nuance, Alan Cheuse grapples with the nether parts of our history, the murky boundary between right and wrong, and the wild tendency of love to break free.
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Sent by his father to observe and evaluate his uncle's South Carolina rice plantation, New York Jew Nathaniel Pereira is horrified by his first brush with the brutal realities of slavery, especially the irony of how a people who themselves lived in bondage for so long could now own slaves. His moral dilemma becomes even more complex after he becomes captivated by Liza, a beautiful slave who harbors a shattering secret.… (more)

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