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A Mercy
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
A powerful tragedy distilled into a small masterpiece by the Nobel Prize-winning author of Beloved and, almost like a prelude to that story, set two centuries earlier.Jacob is an Anglo-Dutch trader in 1680s United States, when the slave trade is still in its infancy. Reluctantly he takes a small slave girl in part payment from a plantation owner for a bad debt. Feeling rejected by her slave mother, 14-year-old Florens can read and write and might be useful on his farm. Florens looks for love, first from Lina, an older servant woman at her new master's house, but later from the handsome blacksmith, an African, never enslaved, who comes riding into their lives . . .At the novel's heart, like Beloved, it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.
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steph_phanie
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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5 likes1 stack add
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MallenNC
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

No one needs me to tell them that Toni Morrison was a great writer. A few times as I was listening there would be a line that made me stop and kind of marvel over it. I read this because it‘s the Stacked podcast book club pick for March. I‘m looking forward to the discussion episode because I know a lot of this went over my head.

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ChaoticMissAdventures
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

Like most of Morrison's books I think a lot of this went over my head. I listened to an interview with her on the book and that helped a lot but goodness do I wish I had had offered a Morrison class in college.
This is excellent but not my favorite so far.

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WhiskeyMistress
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

What can I say, it‘s a Toni Morrison book... her portrayals of womanhood and motherhood are unparalleled. This book had such beautiful prose, such atmosphere, such depth of scenery. Vivid, dramatic, and of course, dark.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5 stars.
Read date: 2/17/2021

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NikkiM5
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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A Mercy is a 5/5. The depth she gave to each character, made A Mercy a very emotional read 😭. Although I finished it a few days ago, the characters are still in my head. Looking forward to my next Toni Morrison book ❤️

Reggie So I can never say her books are my favorites but ask me whose stories I remember the most or paragraphs that are so exquisitely written even when they‘re just about what a sofa means to a family. Whose? Toni‘s. And even though I‘ve only read two of them, they leave a stamp on you. 2y
NikkiM5 @Reggie excellently said. I may read Beloved next, but I already watched the movie. I hate watching movies/shows before reading the book; it is a useless pet peeve of mine 😆 2y
11 likes2 comments
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NikkiM5
A Mercy | Toni Morrison

First week was a success 😁 #BFC21 motivated me to get my water in over the weekend, which is usually a struggle. Going to focus on my self improvement reading this week.
Self-help/improvement/skill related books: 0/2
Book goal: 2/5
A Mercy
The Last of the Stanfields
Yoga/Meditation 6/21
Drink recommended amount of water: 7/28

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Bevita
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

Got a little behind, read this one a while ago. Hard to read, glad I did.

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Hamlet
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

This is a complex book that addresses, starting in the 1680s , the history of labor & human trafficking (slavery, indentured servitude, ‘buying brides‘); the cruel history of capitalism in America; and the partnerships & sacrifices many make to endure. The characters are vivid & diverse; female bonds & the degradation, the displacement of not being valued are at the heart of the story. Complex & rich, this novel would be great to teach & discuss.

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Pinta
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Spoiler alert, but the END. !!!! That classic Morrison circularity, taking us back to the start. But this time revealing the voice of Florens‘ mother, the love behind the abandonment. The new perspective on actions we‘ve already visited with other narrators. Sizing up strangers, taking a chance. The book-long longing for the mother‘s love, answers finally realized and heartbreaking. SO masterful.

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Pinta
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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^^Feverish farmwife visited by ghosts from her passage. Cry of help turned inward. Impossibility of the female Job, the already-Jobness of women.

Morrison is queen of straight talk and critical detail (& voice & rhythm & plot & queen of EVERYTHING):
“the truth was she could not bear to be around their undead, healthy children.”
“noticed too how helpless-looking were the soles of Mistress‘s pale feet, protruding from the hem of her nightdress.”

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Pinta
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

Needed some Toni. Took me too long to get to this one. Classic Morrison authority of voice: huge love & unblinking cruelty. 17th-century frontier story. Bit of a Noah‘s ark of early American characters: native, enslaved African, Dutch, English, Portuguese, indentured “Europes.” Cast might seem pat in lesser hands, but Toni brings all voices to life, shifting narrative & focus. Landscape, ambition, family, religion, survival, women, love. 💜 2008

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sarahbarnes
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

This felt like the right book to read over the last week. It was beautiful and heartbreaking, in the way that only Toni Morrison can achieve. ❤️💪🏽

BarbaraBB Oh great review. I need to read it too since it won the Super Rooster! 2y
sarahbarnes @BarbaraBB I know! It was one of hers I hadn‘t read and then after the Super Rooster I had to change that! 2y
32 likes1 stack add2 comments
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UnabridgedPod
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

Toni Morrison's slim novel A Mercy made its way on to my TBR stack because of the @tournamentofbooks #superrooster contest in October. A Mercy won the ToB in 2009 . . . AND just won the "Super Rooster," the contest between the 16 winners of the Tournament. I love Morrison's work, so it was no surprise that this book features brilliant writing and a story that requires some work to piece together. ⬇️

UnabridgedPod The novel, set in 1680s Maryland, focuses on five characters: Jacob Vaark, an Anglo-Dutch trader who is distinctly NOT interested in owning slaves; his wife, who is basically a mail-order bride; Lina, a Native woman who is his servant; Florens, a young enslaved girl who he accepts as payment for a debt; and Sorrow, a mysterious girl found in the ocean who also becomes his servant. What ensues is primarily the perspectives of these women ⬇️ 2y
UnabridgedPod (we hear occasionally from Jacob) whose stories emphasize the roles of gender and racism in the amount of agency they have over their own lives. ⠀

As always, I appreciate so many of the ToB judgments. In her essay, judge Myriam Gurba wrote, "Although Toni Morrison‘s A Mercy is historical fiction, the novel couldn‘t be timelier. An aestheticized facsimile of 17th-century New England, the book reminds us that dystopia isn‘t new to these shores. ⬇️
2y
UnabridgedPod Apocalypses can take a long time, generations in fact, and often, their origins are hard to pinpoint, especially when one lives among people whose patriotism hinges on forgetting. When false propaganda colonizes history books, fiction can return some scraps of truth to us. Literature can provoke our unforgetting and such a provocation is a kindness that A Mercy bestows." ⬇️ 2y
UnabridgedPod A Mercy isn't an easy book--nothing by Toni Morrison is--but wow, is it ever brilliant. And it could NOT feel more timely this week.⠀

What books are you appreciating right now?
2y
29 likes4 comments
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merelybookish
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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I have been learning a lot about whiteness and how white supremacy is "baked into" the laws of the US. But it wasn't always that way. Nor did it have to be that way. A Mercy explores a more equitable possibility on a 17th century Maryland farm where husband and wife are mates; White, Indigenous and Black people coexist; and difference is tolerated. But this world is fragile and falls prey to larger forces: sickness, money, religion, etc. ?

merelybookish Narrated by multiple voices on this farm, Florens, the Black servant girl is the story's vibrant center. The story is disorienting at times and its message tends to override the story. Still a mediocre novel by Morrison is better than most. Unlike other #superrooster contenders who haven't aged well, A Mercy speaks to our current moment, giving a mournful taste of what might have been but also tentative vision for what could be. 2y
Reggie Very nice! 2y
batsy What a lovely and thoughtful review. 2y
merelybookish @reggie @batsy Thank you! 🤗 2y
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merelybookish
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Got in a lovely hike today! It was much needed.
Listening to the tagged book (one of the #Superrooster contenders I missed). Really liking it, thinking maybe it should win it all. It's been a while since I've read Morrison. Ive forgotten how brilliant she is.

MsMelissa Lovely view! 2y
Texreader How beautiful!! Where is this? 2y
merelybookish @Book_Fiend_Melissa It was good for the soul! 2y
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merelybookish @Texreader Evergreen, CO just outside Denver. 2y
Texreader @merelybookish I was guessing Colorado! I‘ve been a couple times and husband was just there camping this summer. So so beautiful. 2y
Leftcoastzen Nice! 2y
Avanders Beautiful!! 😍🥰 2y
Freespirit It looks amazing 😍 2y
BarbaraBB Really? Maybe I should read it too for the ToB. 2y
merelybookish @BarbaraBB Did you read today's verdict? Made me think how quickly books get dated. But this book still feels relevant. 2y
BarbaraBB I read it and you are right. I didn‘t love either of them nu the way when I read them. But - I have been thinking about Morrison because I was surprised I hadn‘t even heard of it. Looking forward to your review 💕 2y
BarbaraBB She beat Wolf Hall! I‘m sure now that I need a copy too 😀 2y
merelybookish @BarbaraBB I think it could go on to win. It's not Morrison's best but even weak Morrison is better than most. Plus it speaks to our current moment, in the US at least. 2y
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DHill
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Mehso-so

I had a hard time absorbing this book. The characters were hard for me to follow at first and I couldn‘t get into the story. I think I need to sit with it a while and give it a reread.

#authoramonth
@Soubhiville

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Skygoddess1
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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I enjoyed Morrison‘s examination of the relationships between mothers and daughters and what leads a mother to abandon her daughter in favor of a son. I especially enjoyed reading Morrison‘s early look at slavery and the slave trade in the early days of America. There was so much to digest in such a short book that I‘m sure I missed things and will more than likely return to this one many times. #AuthorAMonth #AAMTM

Skygoddess1 It should also be noted the audiobook has an interview with Morrison about the book and things she covers as well as her research for the book. Definitely give it a listen. 2y
Soubhiville This sounds like one I‘d like to read. 2y
Soubhiville Or listen to! The audio extras sound like that‘s the way to go. 😊 2y
Skygoddess1 I definitely found the interview fascinating @Soubhiville But I think when I go back and re-read it, I‘ll do so with the text to really delve into it. 2y
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ClairesReads
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Ooooo mate‘s. I‘ve just revised this one up to a 5 because it has STUCK with me. This is a slight, tight novella which really demonstrates Morrison‘s exceptional skills. This is so much more than a story of a place and a time. It‘s a story about people, about who we are when we are alone, and how we survive when we have to against stacked odds. The frontier looms large over each of the characters‘ lives in this novel. As ever Morrison is Queen.

Nute Love love love this photo! 2y
ClairesReads @nute thank you! 2y
35 likes1 stack add3 comments
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MsLeah8417
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Wading my way back into this masterful work

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thebluestocking
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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I enjoyed this short book about a slave girl pulled away from her mother and brother to serve on a small farm in Maryland. Each section is told from a different perspective, and they come together in a highly satisfactory way. I can see why this book won the #ToB in 2009, and I read it in preparation for the #superRooster I hope is forthcoming.

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BkClubCare
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Another #FirstBook2020 #audiobook and this one is for #SuperRooster #ToB #TournamentofBooks. I have challenged myself to read and post a review by Jan 15. Consider this an invitation to join me. #ReadbytheAuthor

Ruthiella Oh thank you for the reminder!!! I will go to the library tomorrow! 😀 3y
23 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Carla
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
This post contains spoilers
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I have a question about the interpretation of Florens‘ denouement. I interpreted the violence between The Blacksmith, Florens, and Malaik as: Florens attacked The Blacksmith, lashing out at him and wounding him with his tongs, & attacked Malaik & killed him. Malaik, taking her place (in her eyes), was the symbolic stand-in for her brother, so she destroys him this time. The Spark Notes state Malaik lived. https://www.litcharts.com/lit/a-mercy ?

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LaurenAsh
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

Painful, and captivating as Toni Morrison does so well.

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LaurenAsh
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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My first Toni Morrison in a long time...read Beloved in high school, I think, so really looking forward to picking her back up.

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Plaidsticks
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

As an audiobook there was a few moments of confusion between narrator changes, but otherwise solid and beautiful, as to be expected. I wanted a good, short audiobook to break up the epic listens of Brothers Karamazov and W.E.B. du Bois Black Reconstruction in America, and this fit the bill perfectly. #audiobook

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ErikasMindfulShelf
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Mehso-so

Not my favorite Toni Morrison. 3 ⭐️

DivineDiana Look at that sweet 🐕!!! (edited) 4y
ErikasMindfulShelf @DivineDiana Especially sweet while she‘s sleeping 😜 4y
staci.reads I love Toni Morrison, but I agree, this isn't one of my favorites I've read. 4y
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daniwithtea
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

I can‘t believe this was my first time reading Toni Morrison. I do want to re-read this eventually, because I feel like I missed some of the lush details and language in audio form, but this was positively stunning.

Carla This might help: https://www.litcharts.com/lit/a-mercy I just finished reading it, and enjoyed flipping through this guide afterward, catching some of the historical references, especially to First Nations Americans, that I missed. 3y
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noonaReadingAddict
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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My new read

suzisteffen Read this when it came out and think about it about once a day, still. Very interested to hear what you think! 4y
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ephemeralwaltz
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

Morrison never disappoints. This is another powerful novel about the horrific effects of slavery focused on 3 women in Catholic Maryland, at the end of the 17th century. Spanning decades this story might be a bit confusing because perspectives and timelines keep switching around but these 3 women's testimonies are very powerful. It all comes down to a mother who has to make a choice regarding her daughter...

🌟🌟🌟🌟

Cathythoughts Toni Morrison ❤️❤️❤️ 5y
66 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Blair_Reads
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Another great Toni Morrison read

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alisonrose
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
Mehso-so

This book really packs that exquisite emotional punch that you know you're going to get from Morrison. I admit though that I struggled with it due to the writing style - the timeline and voice jumped around a lot and it was not always made clear when it did. I kept having to go back and reread because I felt lost. I totally get why she wrote it this way but I wish it were just a little more linear. 3/5 ⭐️

Lindy I‘ve read this twice. The first time, it was the audiobook narrated by the author, who makes no attempt to differentiate the voices and I felt a bit lost each time the POV shifted. 2nd time, with print and already being familiar with the story, I got so much more out of it. Loved it. 5y
Caterina @alisonrose @Lindy I'm so glad to see y'all talking about this on the book's page, because I just picked this book up from the library having read one Toni Morrison before (Song of Solomon) and am SO lost. I'm still not sure this is the right time for me to struggle through, but it sounds like if I read it twice someday I might have a better time with it! And I know I'm not alone in the struggle! 4y
Lindy @Caterina It‘s a great book, when the time is right for you as a reader. 😊 4y
15 likes4 comments
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alisonrose
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Preparing to have my heart ripped out like only the master Toni Morrison can do. #nowreading

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MrsRBookish
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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I was ready to stop reading when I finished this chapter, until I realized that the next chapter is only 5 pages long.

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MrsRBookish
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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I needed a little more out of my reading, so I‘m trying a Toni Morrison book. Let‘s see how this goes.

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lauralovesbooks1
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

Morrison's writing is exquisite and her ability to craft connection and emotion with the reader is amazing. The last few paragraphs of this were so incredibly powerful -- the whole book was worth reading for that alone.

Whisper I agree! The last paragraph of the book is the best advice to give to a young woman. 😊 (edited) 5y
23 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Brittany.kilpatrick
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Toni Morrison's words seemed the dance on the page. Highly recommend.

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hilded
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Such a beautiful cover 📚#mercy #augustgrrrl @Cinfhen

Cinfhen This sounds like a gripping and compelling read! #stacked Thanks for posting & sharing 😊 5y
charissharpe I loved Beloved by Toni Morrison so this one's going on my#tbr 5y
hilded I am very much looking forward to this one myself, Morrison is great 😊 5y
24 likes3 comments
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24in48
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Hour 30 and we're waking up with a little poetry. #spinepoetry to be exact. A new challenge post is up on 24in48.com - show is your best spine poetry in the comments on the blog. Here's ours. #24in48

Leniverse I'm too busy reading to compose spine poetry. 😂 5y
monkeygirlsmama I was taking a reading break so I jumped on this one. Never did spine poetry before! 😊 5y
TheBookDream How do you include a photo (or link to a photo) on the blog? I can't figure it out and this one requires the photo 😕 5y
See All 6 Comments
24in48 @TheBookDream Just post a photo to whichever platform you prefer and share the link to it on the blog comments! 5y
TheBookDream NVM! Someone kindly e-mailed the instructions. I'll post them here for other folks once I test it out! 🙂 5y
TheBookDream To post a link to a Litsy post: Click the arrow to the right of the "stack" option on your post. Copy the link provided when you select e-mail or message. 5y
87 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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kerry
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Next pick for @StephanieY's Reading Like a Writer book club. Really looking forward to a quiet morning with this one!

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Lindy
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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There is no protection. To be female in this place is to be an open wound that cannot heal. Even if scars form, the festering is ever below.

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Lindy
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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I am not afraid of anything now. The sun's going leaves darkness behind and the dark is me. Is we. Is my home.

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Lindy
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Without money or the inclination to peddle goods, open a stall or be apprenticed in exchange for food and shelter, with even nunneries for the upper class banned, her prospects were servant, prostitute, wife, and although horrible stories were told about each of those careers, the last one seemed safest.

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Lindy
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Rebekka's understanding of God was faint, except as a larger kind of king, but she quieted the shame of insufficient devotion by assuming that He could be no grander nor better than the imagination of the believer. Shallow believers preferred a shallow god. The timid enjoyed a rampaging avenging god.

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Lindy
A Mercy | Toni Morrison

They both spoke of the gravity, the unique responsibility, this untamed world offered them; it's unbreakable connection to God's work and the difficulties they endured on His behalf. Caring for ill or recalcitrant labor was enough, they said, for canonization.

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Lindy
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Book group was unanimous that our favourite character is intelligent and resourceful Lina, who is also indigenous, and:
- not a victim
- not a noble savage
- not imbued with mystical powers.

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Lindy
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

Gender inequalities, race, motherhood and what freedom means from an individual's viewpoint. This complex, poetic, tightly-written novel hits home on difficult topics. The 17th-century setting is a strong presence, an era atypical in American fiction. I've now read it twice and believe further readings will continue to offer rewards.

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Lindy
A Mercy | Toni Morrison
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Just got home from my Feminist Book Club. (I remembered to take a photo before we devoured all the food.) Morrison's A Mercy was a hit and fueled two hours of discussion. Yes!

MrBook Wooooow! 😳😁👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 6y
61 likes1 comment