1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2008
Alice Walker's second novel, 'Meridian' (published 1976), is huge in scope but well-orchestrated and written, and she compresses a 25-year span into just 242 pages.
'Meridian' is tricky to get into. It's not at all that clear what's what & who's who to begin with & it would be easy to put the book down without going quite far enough to hold your interest. Persevere though, and you are rewarded with snippets of Meridian's story - her struggle into adulthood, to self-awareness, public-awareness, and ultimately her struggles for civil rights.
Meridian, as a young 17-year-old - married, divorced, one baby son, all of which happened almost without her even realising - kind of unintentionally stumbles upon some civil rights activists in her home town in the deep South... and from there, as she awakens into a world she has been sheltered from during her childhood, her involvement gets deeper and deeper. Reading just a little about the author's own life, you can see it's impossible to separate book and author here, as a number of parallels with Alice Walker's life in the 60s and 70s run through the novel.
Parts of the story are revealed in a non-chronological way, with themes running through that tie all the threads together - about losing children, inter-racial stuggles both in friendship and marriage and outside of it, the tensions between love and friendship, violence and peace, and of course the very human struggle for human rights. There are a few more themes to contemplate besides these.
It's a powerful and enlightening novel. Personally, I couldn't get on with the ending. I don't want to give anything away, but it doesn't really do justice to the Meridian we've followed haphazardly throughout a 25 year span - not quite a satisfying conclusion to an otherwise fascinating read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2002
I came to this book after having been blown away by 'The Color Purple', and having such high expectations was sadly disappointed by 'Meridien'. This is not because the book is bad - for many authors it would be a triumph to write a book such as this - but because it seems oddly fragmentary and short. Walker tackles so many different themes, and introduces such interesting characters, that I really could have done with it being twice as long as it is. Still, it has much to recommend it, and is well worth reading - but it has its flaws as well.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2005
Meridian is the story of a black woman in the South during the 60s. Meridian Hill is only 17 when she has been married, pregnant and divorced, and after giving her child away, she becomes politically involved in the 60s civile rights issues...
Hmm, I didn't really get the point of the book, I think... The plot was very diffuse (well, the Swedish word 'flummig', which I never use, would be the most right word). There wasn't that much happening in the book, and it took very long to get into the book and figure out what it was actually about. At times it was quite boring. Not a very deep book, I would say... I would have wanted to know more especially about Meridian and her feelings. So all in all not a very easy book to read. (Maybe I should go back to reading Alice Walker in Swedish...)