TONI MORRISON, 78 years old, alias Chloe Anthony Wolford, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in literature, returns to the issue of slavery in her new novel: A Mercy.Novelist, literature professor and American editor, Toni Morrison is the first black woman and finally the one afro-American author to win this prize. As an editor, Morrison played an important role inbringing black literature into the mainstream. For example, she edited books by authors such as Toni Cade Bambara, Angela Davis and Gayl Jones.
Set in the late 1600s, A Mercy is a very different bookto Beloved, the novel which won Ms Morrison the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and made her name famous all around the world. Beloved- that occurs two centuries later- staged a mother, Sethe, haunted by herbaby’s spirit that she killed, fearing that her daughter is to be sold into slavery. In Toni Morrison’s A Mercy we see life through the eyes of people physically and emotionally abandoned. So A Mercyis the reversed mirror of Beloved.
“Don’t be afraid. My telling can’t hurt you in spite of what I have done and I promise to lie quietly in the dark”: that is the way the novel begins; with Florens’voice, who was casted off by her mother in order to save her. The first person narrative of Florens mixes with the lives of other characters: Jacob, an orphan come from England and owner of a ruralNew York farm; Lina: a Native American and labourer on Jacob’s farm and one of a handful of survivors of a smallpox plague that destroyed her tribe; Rebekka, Jacob’s wife, devastated by the deaths oftheir children; Sorrow, a child surviving of a shipwreck; Willard and Scully, who work to pay their freedom. These are all men and women inventing themselves in the wilderness.
How can a man envy theriches of those who profit from slavery? How can a woman fight for living in a harsh new world when all her children have died and her husband has become delusional? How can a young slave girl find...