Gina la quarteronne,
Sidonie de La Houssaye. Introduction and Notes by Christian Hommel.520
ISBN: 978-0-9793230-5-8. $21.50
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la quarteronne, Sidonie de La Houssaye.
Introduction and Notes by Christian Hommel.520 pages.
Gina la quarteronne
holds numerous surprises for readers who only know Octavia
or Violetta. First of all, the characters and secondary
storylines become more varied, complex and numerous, creating a
dizzying and ever-deeper level of suspense. The author, at the height
of her narrative abilities, dazzles her readers with the opulence
and exoticism of these tales of a fabulous New Orleans where Creole
beauties of every sort struggle to find their place in a society
dominated by rich and powerful men whose public prejudice is often
at odds with their private lives.
The third novel of de La Houssaye’s
Quarteronnes series finds a kinship with American novels
such as The Quadroons, by Lydia Maria Child and Uncle
Tom’s Cabin, by Harriot Beecher Stowe. However, de La
Houssaye offers a more complex vision of the women whose lives she
examines; these mythical protagonists are both victims and victors,
highly sought outcasts who enjoyed and suffered in a wealth pre-Civil
War New Orleans where French dominated social life and when life
itself mirrored a sort of mythological theater.
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