The Conjure Woman


Read by James K. White

(4.6 stars; 43 reviews)

Published in 1899 by Houghton Mifflin, Chesnutt's first book, The Conjure Woman, was a collection of seven short stories, all set in "Patesville" (Fayetteville), North Carolina. While drawing from local color traditions and relying on dialect, Chesnutt's tales of conjuring, a form of magic rooted in African hoodoo, refused to romanticize slave life or the "Old South." Though necessarily informed by Joel Chandler Harris's popular Uncle Remus stories and Thomas Nelson Page's plantation fiction, The Conjure Woman consciously moved away from these models, instead offering an almost biting examination of pre- and post-Civil War race relations.

These seven short stories use a frame narrator, John, a white carpetbagger who has moved south to protect his wife Annie's failing health and to begin cultivating a grape vineyard. Enamored by remnants of the plantation world, John portrays the South in largely idealistic terms. Yet Uncle Julius McAdoo, the ex-slave and "trickster" figure extraordinaire who narrates the internal story lines, presents a remarkably different view of Southern life. His accounts include Aun' Peggy's conjure spells in "Mars Jeems's Nightmare," "Po' Sandy," "Sis' Becky's Pickaninny," and "Hot Foot Hannibal" as well as those of free black conjure men in "The Conjurer's Revenge" and "The Gray Wolf's Ha'nt." These conjure tales reveal moments of active black resistance to white oppression in addition to calculated (and even self-motivated) plots of revenge. (Introduction provided by Documenting the American South) (3 hr 39 min)

Chapters

The Goophered Grapevine 33:45 Read by James K. White
Po' Sandy 26:54 Read by James K. White
Mars Jeems's Nightmare 37:28 Read by James K. White
The Conjurer's Revenge 28:13 Read by James K. White
Sis' Becky's Pickaninny 28:00 Read by James K. White
The Gray Wolf's Ha'nt 32:30 Read by James K. White
Hot-Foot Hannibal 32:27 Read by James K. White

Reviews

Engaging stories well read


(5 stars)

Lively fables told through the character of a wile old ex-slave. Excellent reading.

Amazing reader!


(5 stars)

Interesting stories brought to life by an engaging, talented reader.

great stories that pull you back in time


(5 stars)

Terrific reader


(5 stars)

This may be the finest reader I have ever encountered on librivox. A difficult text to read well and he pulls it off with studied aplomb. Cheers.

great narration of a great book.


(5 stars)

Mr White, does a fantastic job bringing to life a book from the past.

one of the best librivox books


(5 stars)

not for me


(0.5 stars)

Too dated. Nasty use of n word throughout insults the ears in these more modern times. Well read but text not to my taste.