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Wench (P.S.)

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Wench (P.S.) Cover

ISBN13: 9780061706561
ISBN10: 0061706566
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez is startling and original fiction that raises provocative questions of power and freedom, love and dependence. An enchanting and unforgettable novel based on little-known fact, Wench combines the narrative allure of Cane River by Lalita Tademy and the moral complexities of Edward P. Joness The Known World as it tells the story of four black enslaved women in the years preceding the Civil War. A stunning debut novel, Wench marks author Perkins-Valdez—previously a finalist for the 2009 Robert Olen Butler Short Fiction Prize—as a writer destined for greatness.

Synopsis:

wench \'wench\ n. from Middle English “wenchel,”1 a: a girl, maid, young woman; a female child.

Situated in Ohio, a free territory before the Civil War, Tawawa House isan idyllic retreat for Southern white men who vacation there every summerwith their enslaved black mistresses. Its their open secret. Lizzie,Reenie, and Sweet are regulars at the resort, building strong friendships over theyears. But when Mawu, as fearless as she is assured, comes along and starts talkingof running away, things change. To run is to leave everything behind, and forsome it also means escaping from the emotional and psychological bonds thatbind them to their masters. When a fire on the resort sets off a string of tragedies,the women of Tawawa House soon learn that triumph and dehumanization areinseparable and that love exists even in the most inhuman, brutal of circumstances—all while they bear witness to the end of an era.

An engaging, page-turning, and wholly original novel, Wench explores, withan unflinching eye, the moral complexities of slavery.

About the Author

Dolen Perkins-Valdez's fiction and essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, African American Review, North Carolina Literary Review, and the Richard Wright Newsletter. Born and raised in Memphis, a graduate of Harvard, and a former University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow, Perkins-Valdez teaches creative writing at the University of Puget Sound. She splits her time between Washington, D.C. and Seattle, Washington. This is her first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Shauna, September 5, 2011 (view all comments by Shauna)
At a time when The Help is the focus on a lot of attention, Wench offers another view. Set shortly before the Civil War, the book focuses on the lives of a few Southern slaves who are brought each summer to a resort in the free state of Ohio to "vacation" with their masters. The characters in Wench are diverse - one enslaved mistress actually seems to love her owner, whereas others will do anything, including sacrificing their children, to try to escape horrendous situations. The contrast between planation life and the resort is extreme at times - as a reader you witness the slaves seeing free blacks vacationing, getting to dress up for a fancy dinner, and visiting a big city for the first time.

While the book is a work of fiction, the resort is not. After the resort closed because the Northerners stopped coming in protest over slavery, the facility was bought by the Methodists for use as a school. It eventually became Wilberforce University, which is now the oldest private African-American university in the United States.

Well written and engaging, Wench offers an interesting historical perspective on relationships between slave owners and their black mistresses. It is a fast-paced read and worthy of good book club discussion.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061706561
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Perkins Valdez, Dolen
Author:
Perkins-Valdez, Dolen
Publisher:
Amistad
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20110125
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.13 in 17.84 oz

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Wench (P.S.) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Amistad Press - English 9780061706561 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
wench \'wench\ n. from Middle English “wenchel,”1 a: a girl, maid, young woman; a female child.

Situated in Ohio, a free territory before the Civil War, Tawawa House isan idyllic retreat for Southern white men who vacation there every summerwith their enslaved black mistresses. Its their open secret. Lizzie,Reenie, and Sweet are regulars at the resort, building strong friendships over theyears. But when Mawu, as fearless as she is assured, comes along and starts talkingof running away, things change. To run is to leave everything behind, and forsome it also means escaping from the emotional and psychological bonds thatbind them to their masters. When a fire on the resort sets off a string of tragedies,the women of Tawawa House soon learn that triumph and dehumanization areinseparable and that love exists even in the most inhuman, brutal of circumstances—all while they bear witness to the end of an era.

An engaging, page-turning, and wholly original novel, Wench explores, withan unflinching eye, the moral complexities of slavery.

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