Vintage £7.99 (165pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop : 0870 079 8897
A Mercy, By Toni Morrison
Friday 19 June 2009
Set in 17th-century Virginia, Morrison's first novel in five years takes place on a small farm run by Anglo-Dutch trader, Jacob Vaark. Although Vaark does not trade in human flesh, he agrees to accept a young Angolan slave, Florens, in part payment for a bad debt.
Florens joins a largely female household that already includes the entrepreneur's English wife, Rebekka, her Native American maid, Lina, and Sorrow, a shipwrecked foundling. Each woman, in varying degrees, finds herself a slave.
From such an iconic writer as Morrison, portentous pronouncements are almost expected. In this novel, the story of America's messy birth lies in its terms of enslavement: "To be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing."
Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Universities aren't working us hard enough, say undergraduates
- 2 Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Strictly Come Dancing results: Steve Backshall and Ola Jordan sent home
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Why are the words 'mongol', 'mongoloid' and 'mongy' still bandied about as insults?
Tom DeLonge compares streaming music to killing elephants
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage of Lana Del Rey rape video
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever