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A mercy
Cover of A mercy
A mercy
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In the 1680s the slave trade was still in its infancy In the Americas, virulent religious and class division, prejudice and oppression were rife, providing the fertile soil in which slavery and race hatred were carefully planted and took root A Mercy reveals what lies under the surface of slavery, and the opening chapter of the story of sugar, that great maw which was to eat up millions of lives But at its heart, like Beloved, this is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter in a violent ad-hoc world - a world where acts of mercy, like everything else, have unforeseen consequences
In the 1680s the slave trade was still in its infancy In the Americas, virulent religious and class division, prejudice and oppression were rife, providing the fertile soil in which slavery and race hatred were carefully planted and took root A Mercy reveals what lies under the surface of slavery, and the opening chapter of the story of sugar, that great maw which was to eat up millions of lives But at its heart, like Beloved, this is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter in a violent ad-hoc world - a world where acts of mercy, like everything else, have unforeseen consequences
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 22, 2008
    Some authors make mediocre readers, but Nobel Prize–winning Toni Morrison is certainly not among them. Her husky voice, lyrical rhythms and precise timing—especially of pauses within sentences or even phrases—give clarity and poignancy to her vivid metaphors and elegant prose. Set in the 1680s, this story tells of multiple forms of love and of slavery. Florens is a slave girl whose mother urges her sale to Jacob, a decent man, to save her from a rapist master. Florens feels abandoned and is finally betrayed by the lover she worships. Morrison holds the listener completely in thrall through her narrative, her characters, her language and her own fine reading. An enlightening interview with the author appears at the end. A Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 15).

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 15, 2008
    Nobel laureate Morrison returns more explicitly to the net of pain cast by slavery, a theme she detailed so memorably in Beloved
    . Set at the close of the 17th century, the book details America’s untoward foundation: dominion over Native Americans, indentured workers, women and slaves. A slave at a plantation in Maryland offers up her daughter, Florens, to a relatively humane Northern farmer, Jacob, as debt payment from their owner. The ripples of this choice spread to the inhabitants of Jacob’s farm, populated by women with intersecting and conflicting desires. Jacob’s wife, Rebekka, struggles with her faith as she loses one child after another to the harsh New World. A Native servant, Lina, survivor of a smallpox outbreak, craves Florens’s love to replace the family taken from her, and distrusts the other servant, a peculiar girl named Sorrow. When Jacob falls ill, all these women are threatened. Morrison’s lyricism infuses the shifting voices of her characters as they describe a brutal society being forged in the wilderness. Morrison’s unflinching narrative is all the more powerful for its relative brevity; it takes hold of the reader and doesn’t let go until the wrenching final-page crescendo.

  • AudioFile Magazine It may come as no surprise that Toni Morrison is as thoughtful, dramatic, and poetic a reader as she is a writer. A MERCY reveals itself to the listener in small, significant stages, using imagery far more than simple narrative, and Morrison's deft reading is an integral part of keeping the listener rapt with attention. The story provides a glimpse into seventeenth-century America, when servitude took on a variety of forms, and slavery was present on a smaller, but still merciless, scale. Morrison moves within a distinctive set of characters, her voice somehow both powerful and understated. As her prose weaves vivid and sometimes abstract snapshots of the characters' lives, Morrison's performance is the velvet cord that beautifully fastens the audiobook together. L.B.F. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
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A mercy
A mercy
Toni Morrison
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