Paradise by Toni Morrison


Reviewed by Marianne from "Let's Read"

I love Toni Morrison, I really do. But I had a hard time getting through this book and I still didn’t understand it completely.

There are just too many unanswered questions in this scenario. Like – who is the white girl? I still haven’t figured that out.

I loved the story itself, the description of that small town life. I know it too well, growing up in a small village about half a century ago. She did get that right.

At the beginning, I didn’t understand who belonged to whom. So I started an old trick of mine and made a list of all the characters, a little note of their story and how they were related to each other. It got a little easier but I still can’t figure out who the white girl was ...

However, this is a completely typical Toni Morrison book, the description of the characters, the storyline, the everyday scenario, the relationship, the difference between the races, the genders, the rich and the poor. Toni Morrison is THE author when it comes to racism in the United States, I don't think anyone can portray this feeling better than she can. So, any of her books is worth reading. Even more than once. But it certainly is not a novel you can read "in between", "on the go" or "at the beach". It deserves a little more attention.

From the back cover: "Four young women are brutally attacked in a convent near an all-black town in America in the mid-1970s. The inevitability of this attack, and the attempts to avert it, lie at the heart of Paradise. Spanning the birth of the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, the counter culture and the politics of the late 1970s, deftly manipulating past, present and future, this novel of mysterious motives reveals the interior lives of the citizens of the town with astonishing clarity. The drama of its people - from the four young women and their elderly protector, to conservative businessmen, rednecks, a Civil Rights minister and veterans of three wars - richly evokes clashes that have bedevilled American society: between race and racelessness; patriarchy and matriarchy; religion and magic; freedom and belonging; promiscuity and fidelity. Magnificent in its scope, Paradise is a revelation in the intensity of its potrayal of human complexity and in the sheer force of its narrative."

Toni Morrison "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality" received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.

Read my other reviews of the Nobel Prize winners for Literature.


Amy said...

I read this years ago and remember having the same reaction. I liked it but at the same time was often confused by it.

Marianne said...

Thank you, Amy. I am glad I am not the only one. Have you read other books by Toni Morrison and if yes, which one was your favourite?

Amy said...

I don't think I've read others of hers. I'm sure I should, though!

Marianne said...

Sorry it took me so long to answer, I don't get notifications for this account, so I have to check from time to time. I would definitely recommend Beloved. It is my favourite.

Marianne from Let's Read

© Read the NobelsMaira Gall