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."
Arts & Ents blogs
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 3 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
- 4 California man Christopher Viatafa surrenders to police after googling own name and discovering himself listed as ‘most wanted’
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers