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BookBrowse Reviews A Mercy by Toni Morrison

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A Mercy

A Novel

by Toni Morrison

A Mercy
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2008, 176 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2009, 224 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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A powerful tragedy by the Nobel Prize-winning author of Beloved, set two centuries earlier in the 17th century

I was quite disappointed by A Mercy. There, I've said it. It feels sacrilegious to speak ill of such a worthy book and such an exalted author. But if a novel can be at once worthwhile and disappointing, this one is.

The story begins in a recognizably Morrisonian voice. "Don't be afraid," the voice says. "My telling can't hurt you in spite of what I have done and I promise to lie quietly in the dark—weeping perhaps or occasionally seeing the blood once more—but I will never again unfold my limbs to rise up and bare teeth." Immediately what springs to mind is the incomprehensibly monstrous deed at the heart of Beloved, and we wonder: who is this woman and what has she done? Is Morrison going to take us to a place as terrible as that in Beloved? At the end of the first chapter, the voice intones, "But I have a worry. Not because our work is more, but because...

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