Friday, January 30, 2009

Review of A Mercy

I have been mulling over this one for a few days and have since even read another book (review to come of that one), and I still don't quite know what to say about Toni Morrison's latest.

I did my college thesis on the works of Toni Morrison, so of course I had to check this one out of the library when I heard about it. My first impression was that it's very short--big typeface, smaller trim size, and only 150 pages! It's set in 1682 and deals with one family in particular: a dutch trader, his wife, and their indentured servants and slaves. Toni likes to make you think while you read, so she doesn't spell everything out for you. Normally I enjoy this, but with only 150 pages to glean info, I thought Toni could've given me a hand. Or maybe reading US Weekly has finally caught up with me and I need to be spoonfed? Not sure.

Her language, as always, is gorgeous (no wonder she's won the Nobel and the Pulitzer), and the relationships between characters were complex. I felt that the wife's conversion to religion at the end was a little bit of a cop-out, an oversimplification of a more complicated personality. As with all of her novels, she explores race relations and how these change depending on the era.

On the whole, I enjoyed it, like I enjoy all of her writing, but it was not as fantastic as Beloved, which is my favorite, for all that it's disturbing and sad...she really captured something with that book, and I don't think she's matched it since. But that's just my opinion.

I would still recommend A Mercy, though.

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