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February Book Club - Wednesday, February 7th, 2024

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This February we will be reading and discussing Flags on the Bayou by James Lee Burke, chosen in observance of Black History Month.

Powerful and deeply moving, Flags on the Bayou is a story of tragic acts of war, class divisions upended and love enduring through it all. Set in Civil War-era Louisiana, as the South transforms with a brilliant cast of characters; enslaved and free women, plantation gentry, battle-weary Confederate and Union soldiers, all are caught in the maelstrom.

In the fall of 1863, the Union Army is in control of the Mississippi River and much of Louisiana, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The retreating Confederate army is being replaced by Red Legs; irregulars commanded by a maniacal figure. Enslaved men and women are beginning to glimpse freedom.

When Hannah Laveau, an enslaved woman working on the Lufkin plantation, is accused of murder, she goes on the run with Florence Milton, an abolitionist schoolteacher, dodging the local constable and the slavecatchers that prowl the bayous.

Wade Lufkin, haunted by what he observed and did as a surgeon on the battlefield, has returned to his uncle’s plantation to convalesce, where he becomes enraptured by Hannah.

James Lee Burke, whose “evocative prose remains a thing of reliably fierce wonder” (Entertainment Weekly), expertly renders the rich Louisiana landscape, from the sunsets on the Mississippi River to the dingy saloons of New Orleans to the tree-lined shores of the bayou and the cottonmouth snakes that dwell in its depths.

The author:

James Lee Burke (born December 5, 1936) is an American author, best known for his Dave Robicheaux series. He has won Edgar Awards for Black Cherry Blues (1990) and Cimarron Rose (1998), and has also been presented with the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

in 1988 Burke was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in Fiction. Burke went on to receive the 2002 Louisiana Writer Award for his enduring contribution to the “literary intellectual heritage of Louisiana.” The award was presented by the then-Lieutenant-Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, at a ceremony held at the inaugural Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge.

Please join us in-person or via Zoom on Wednesday, February 7th at 7:00 p.m. for a discussion of this provocative and beautiful book. As you read, we welcome you to bookmark your favorite passages to share with the group!

Please RSVP for this book club meeting by calling the library at 315-662-3134 or emailing our book club leader, Clara. We look forward to gathering and reflecting on this book with one another! All are welcome.

Contact Us

New Woodstock Free Library
2106 Main Street
P.O Box 340
New Woodstock, NY 13122
Phone: 315-662-3134
Fax: 315-662-3096