PROPERTY, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2003, is being reissued with a new cover alongside other classic titles from the Abacus list in our 40th Anniversary year.
Manon Gaudet is unhappily married to the owner of a Louisiana sugar plantation. She misses her family and longs for the vibrant lifestyle of her native New Orleans, but most of all, she longs to be free of the suffocating domestic situation. The tension revolves around Sarah, a slave girl who may have been given to Manon as a wedding present from her aunt, whose young son Walter is living proof of where Manon's husband's inclinations lie.
This private drama is being played out against a brooding atmosphere of slave unrest and bloody uprisings. And if the attacks reach Manon's house, no one can be sure which way Sarah will turn. . .
Beautifully written, PROPERTY is an intricately told tale of both individual stories and of a country in a time of change, where ownership is at once everything and nothing, and where belonging, by contrast, is all.
A wonderful novel, vivid, revealing - Carol Shields
Reminiscent of Doris Lessing's novel, THE GRASS IS SINGING...Martin's project was not to impose a contemporary sensibility on slavery, but to investigate what the daily fact of its brutality might do to one's interior life - GUARDIAN
She creates a heroine as intriguing as she is repellent. And she forces the reader into the complicity and discomfort of a voyeur - NEW YORK TIMES
This fresh, unsentimental look at what slaveowning does to (and for) one's interior life must be a first. And the writing - so prised and clean-limbed - is a marvel. - Toni Morrison
Valerie Martin is one of America's finest contemporary novelists, best known for her Orange Prize-winning Property and also the acclaimed Mary Reilly, which was filmed by Stephen Frears. Her most recent novel, her tenth, is The Ghost of the Mary Celeste.
She is the author of three collections of short stories and Salvation, a biography of St Francis.