With evocative dialect and remarkable prose, The Cigar Factory tells the story of two entwined families, both devout Catholics - the white McGonegals and the African American Ravenels - in the storied port city of Charleston, South Carolina, during the World Wars. Moore's novel follows the parallel lives of family matriarchs working on segregated floors of the massive Charleston cigar factory, where white and black workers remain divided and misinformed about the duties and treatment received by each other.
Cassie McGonegal and her niece, Brigid, work upstairs in the factory rolling cigars by hand. Meliah Amey Ravenel works in the basement, where she stems the tobacco. While both white and black workers suffer in the harsh working conditions of the factory and both endure the sexual harassment of the foremen, segregation keeps them from recognizing their common plight until the Tobacco Workers Strike of 1945. Through the experience of a brutal picket line, the two women come to realize how much they stand to gain by joining forces, creating a powerful moment in labor history that gives rise to the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome".
Moore's extensive historical research included interviews with her own family members who worked at the cigar factory, adding a layer of nuance and authenticity to her empowering story of families and friendships forged through struggle, loss, and redemption.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By . on 30-10-16
More than interesting
What made the experience of listening to The Cigar Factory the most enjoyable?
The uniqueness of the story.
What did you like best about this story?
All of it!
What about Robin Miles’s performance did you like?
She obviously has a great interest in the subject; her enthusiasm for the characters comes through and her command of the accents and language required is excellent. She also has perfect diction.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
The early 1900s seen from a different perspective.
Any additional comments?
The uniqueness of the subject matter opens the listener's thoughts to a whole new universe and what you thought you knew about racism and the inequality of that time might be challenged...
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Susie on 10-08-16
A Tale of Two Charlestons
Two families sharing common language, workplace and folkways, yet separated by race. "Cigar Factory" illustrates the psychological and social boundaries of poor whites and poor blacks. It portrays the opportunities that would come (and did come) from recognizing a potential ally. I loved seeing into a lost world in this well-researched book.
If Charleston's culture is rooted in its language Robin Miles takes you in deep. I had the feeling she relished the chance to take on the Gullah inflected english for the length of an entire book. Although the story is often dark, her performance is joyful. A virtuoso given a particularly complicated piece. She makes Charleston sing and effortlessly becomes the story.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Mary M. Greene on 29-04-17
If you could sum up The Cigar Factory in three words, what would they be?
Fascinating lowcountry storu
Have you listened to any of Robin Miles’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Haven't listened to others, but she,was spot on with her lowcountry accents. I think it made the book so much more enjoyable to listen to her read it rather than sitting down to read it. I loved it!
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
yes..wont say which parts because I don't want to give it away, but cried several times.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful