Paradise School & Library Binding – 1 Mar 2001
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|School & Library Binding, 1 Mar 2001||
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"They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time. No need to hurry out here. They are 17 miles from a town which has 90 miles between it and any other. Hiding places will be plentiful in the Convent, but there is time and the day has just begun." So begins Paradise, Toni Morrison's first novel since winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1993. As one would expect from the author of such brilliantly imagined novels as Song of Solomon, Beloved and Jazz, Morrison's Paradise is ambitious, political, deeply spiritual and peopled with characters as complex as they are unforgettable. Time is fluid in the universe of this particular novel; though set in 1976, Morrison travels easily between eras, taking the reader back in time to the founding of Ruby, an all-black township in Oklahoma, at the end of World War II, then further back to the establishment of its predecessor, Haven, which parallels the story of Exodus: a band of former slaves wanders the Oklahoma territory in search of a homeland. Overlying the strong sense of character and place that imbues each page is a touch of the supernatural--ghost children skitter through the halls of an abandoned Catholic girl's school and "unseen friends" visit lonely women by night.
Even as Morrison deftly limns the history of the town and its inhabitants, she lays the foundation for the conflict brewing in the present-day story: A new minister has come to town, bringing with him a whiff of the politics that engulfed that era--civil rights, student uprisings, rioting in the streets--activities which speak to the restlessness of the town's youth. Meanwhile, 17 miles away at the former girls' school nicknamed "the Convent," a small group of unconventional women have moved in. Their stories, told in individual chapters bearing their names, are also stories of exile, exodus and eventual homecoming. For the men of Ruby, however, these women represent everything that is dangerous about the outside world and as the sanctity of Ruby's traditions begin to crumble, nine men go on a deadly hunt.
As always, Morrison is not afraid to explore the relations between the races or the genders and she is particularly adept at creating characters who, though frequently not likable, are always sympathetic. Paradise is a book you'll want to read more than once and each time you'll find something new to haunt and amaze you. -- Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Toni Morrison makes me believe in God. She makes me believe in a divine being, because luck and genetics don't seem to come close to explaining her"See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot was engaging and the characters interesting.
I am still (again being honest, though I am a little embarrassed about it) confused about what happens to the women in the end! Or perhaps that is the point?
This would be a great novel to read with a book club so that everyone could share their ideas about this.
A great read, highly recommended.
The story then weaves its way back and forth through time relating the story of the people and origins of the town and how the women of the former convent found their way there. Through these elements and the third person prism of points of view from many different characters, the reader is lead toward the conclusion of the events on that morning of 1976 nineteen miles outside the town of Ruby.
“They shoot the white girl first”
This is a powerful and stunning opening line that has the reader asking a plethora of questions before they move onto the second line: Why is the woman shot? Was she killed or injured? Why is her ethnicity mentioned?Read more ›
Paradise is often a book of the differences and belief clashes between men and women. The families live in a highly patriarchal society which views the independent convent women, outsiders, as threats. I frequently found it difficult to work out and remember who was related to whom. Nicknames are used as well as given names so it often felt like reading a Russian novel and I wished for family tree diagrams. However, it later occurred to me that, as an outsider to Ruby, I probably wasn't intended to clearly understand their connections and this was another illustration of the differences between the townsfolk and the convent women - the women had no history in this place. Paradise is a great sweep of a novel which allowed me to easily imagine these lives and to become involved in the arguments and discussions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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I like the style as always, the astute observations of the people: but this story is strange, I couldn't hang on to the thread of the story, nor keep track of the characters, not a... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
Bought this book for uni but love it!
Good condition and kept to shipping times.
Would recommend to those interested in American or Women's literature.
Amazingly constructed book - raises many issues about black conservatism / American reactionary views / black peoples views on women and the fact that some blacks are more equal... Read morePublished on 8 Feb. 2013 by pcg_100
I haven't read Morrison before, and I'm slightly wary that I've started here, with what is almost surely (such is the exemplary quality of the prose, the themes, the style, the... Read morePublished on 12 Nov. 2008 by RachelWalker
This is without the doubt one of the greatest most lyrical works of literature I have ever read, its beauty and descriptions bring the story to life of a community that goes beyond... Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2005 by Jh Shiel