Sunday, February 01, 2009

A MERCY by Toni Morrison (2008)

This is a quiet little novel (167 pages) by the Nobel laureate and Princeton professor who has made slave narratives her fictional voice.

Set during the infancy of the slave trade (1680s) when virulent religious and class divisions became entrenched in the Americas, race hatred takes root.

A MERCY follows the stories of several women: Florens, a small slave girl received as payment for a bad debt by a good Catholic plantation owner; Lina, an older servant in the same home whose tribe was decimated by small pox; Sorrow, a strange girl who spent her early years at sea dressed as a boy; Rebekka, the white mistress of the house, herself a victim of religious intolerance back in England, and Florens' mother who has to make the horrible decision to send her daughter away in order to save her.

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