A Mercy Hardcover – 30 Oct 2008
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'A Mercy is a furious novel, a volley of anger, contempt and sorrow'
-- The Herald
'A Mercy is so enthralling that you'll want to read it more than once'
-- The Sunday Times
'for all its restraint...A Mercy is a furious novel, a volley of anger, contempt and sorrow'
-- The Herald
Varied and authoritative and frequently beautiful -- The New Yorker
`...carries great emotional force' -- Independent on Sunday
`Morrison writes passages of undeniable beauty' -- Spectator
`Morrison's prose is confident and secure, her language masterful...This is another penetrating and profoundly disquieting view of America's past'
-- Historical Novels Review
`Unsettling, exquisitely written, and deeply moving, it's an amazing piece of work' -- The Gloss
a challenging, disorientating way of reading and as soon as you finish A Mercy, the novel demands that you start it again.
-- Scotland on Sunday
`Unsettling, exquisitely written, and deeply moving, it's an amazing piece of work'See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Florens lives and works for the next eight years on Vaark's rural New York farm. Lina, a Native American, who works with her, tells in a parallel narrative how she became one of a handful of survivors of a plague that killed her tribe. Vaark's wife Rebekkah describes leaving England for New York to be married to a man she has never seen. The deaths of their subsequent children are devastating, and Vaark is hoping that eight-year-old Florens will help alleviate Rebekkah's loneliness. Vaark, himself an orphan and poorhouse survivor, describes his journeys from New York to Maryland and Virginia, commenting on the role of religion in the culture of the different colonies, along with their attitudes toward slavery.
All these characters are bereft of their roots, struggling to survive in an alien environment filled with danger and disease.Read more ›
This is a character-focused book which deals with feelings and fears and Morrison's themes of slavery and sexual exploitation. It is evocative and often touching. However I found myself going over many paragraphs more than once trying to understand which of the protagonists was telling her tale at any given point. Three stars because of this major flaw in the novel, but I would have given it 3.5 if I could because the writing is so assured and accomplished otherwise.
The book is written from the perspectives of most of the different characters. This takes a while to get used to as they all have different ways of talking - different dialects. The book also throws you in at the deep end putting it's most difficult to comprehend voice first talking about things you will only understand at the end. So don't give up at the first chapter.
The book is quite female focussed, it looks at the status of women as wives and servants in newly colonised America. It covers a multitude of themes including female identity, slavery, racism and religion. Sometimes it felt like the author could have been more focused on a couple of these rather than try to cover all of them in such a small book.
A Mercy, first published in 2008, offers a snapshot view into the 17th century psyche, through the lesser-heard voices of the New World women of that time. The novel explores many interesting motifs through the overarching theme of mercy. Mercy is a notion considered in terms of the utter vulnerability of an individual who finds him or herself at the complete mercy of another, and also, in terms of the surprising acts of kindness human beings are capable of bestowing or withholding at their whim. Not my favourite novel, but one that I'm glad I've read. (3 stars out of 5).
A Mercy is the ninth novel by Toni Morrison, an American author and winner of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize. Morrison was born in Ohio in the spring of 1931, and has worked as an editor and a professor; she published her first novel: The Bluest Eyes, in 1970. A Mercy is the first of Morrison's novels which I have encountered. The majority of her work seems to be set in more modern times, whilst A Mercy is is a journey back to 17th century America, exploring themes of slavery, abuse, social-mobility, spirituality, grief and abandonment, and most searing of all, the feminine experience within early America.
The narrative is primly shared by the voices of four very different women. All of these women are at the mercy of New York farmer, Jacob Vaark, as well as the hostile landscape and culture in which they live, and, ultimately, each other. Jacob is a very interesting character; from humble beginnings as an orphan, he later inherits land in America. He appears to hold quite a liberal attitude for a man of his time, showing compassion to animals, as well as a tendency to take into his household orphans and other vulnerable individuals.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would love to give this work four stars because I did eventually care for each of the four female characters. However, it is the 'eventually' that was the problem. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Rae Cowie
My first Toni Morrison definitely not the best . A good story but wrapped in a complicated and sometimes confusing telling . Read morePublished 11 months ago by G. Chambers
I confess that I find Toni Morrison's writing quite difficult, even tedious. When I have heard her talking about her work or, even better, when she is reading excerpts from her... Read morePublished on 26 July 2013 by Dr R
Reading Tony Morrison's novel, A Mercy, one gets a feeling that in this rather mediocre novel there is a very good one, if not great, trying to get out. Read morePublished on 3 Aug. 2010 by Herman Norford
A Mercy is the harrowing story of three slaves and their owners in the 1690s. This book left a bitter taste, as it shows man's inhumanity to man at its worst. Read morePublished on 21 April 2010 by Anon
I really couldn't get into this book. I loved 'Beloved', but nothing interested me here - the characters weren't appealing or well-developed enough to make me care about them, and... Read morePublished on 11 Nov. 2009 by Amazon Customer
I was looking forward to this book immensely, the subject matters being of interest to me.
However, from almost the first page, I found the writing style very difficult to... Read more