Property: A Novel
Title: Property: A Novel
Author: Valerie Martin
The tragedies and repercussions of slavery in the antebellum South are seen through the eyes of slave owner Manon Gaudet, who marries the owner of a sugar plantation, only to see her own slave, Sarah, become her husband’s mistress.
From the acclaimed author of Mary Reilly, a groundbreaking novel that reexamines the questions of power and resistance, violence and sex, which inform all her work.
Set in the surreal heat of the antebellum South during a slave rebellion, Property takes the form of a dramatic monologue, bringing to the page a voice rarely heard in American fiction: the voice of a woman slave holder. Manon Gaudet is pretty and petulant, self-absorbed and bored. She has come to a sugar plantation north of New Orleans as a bride, bringing with her a prized piece of property, the young slave Sarah, only to see Sarah become her husband’s mistress and bear his child. As the whispers of a slave rebellion grow louder and more threatening, Manon speaks to us of her past and her present, her longings and dreams – an uncensored, pitch-perfect voice from the heart of moral darkness.
Property is riveting fiction, fast, richly plotted, shimmering with visual detail. It is also an invitation to re-examine the traditions of the Southern novel and the myth of the chivalrous South, and a haunting meditation on what Valerie Martin has called “the fantastic and constant perversity of the oppressor to feel victimized by the oppressed.”