In the 1680s the slave trade was still in its infancy. In the Americas, virulent religious and class divisions, prejudice and oppression were rife, providing the fertile soil in which slavery and race hatred were planted and took root.
Jacob is an Anglo-Dutch trader and adventurer, with a small holding in the harsh north. Despite his distaste for dealing in "flesh," he takes a small slave girl in part payment for a bad debt from a plantation owner in Catholic Maryland. This is Florens, "with the hands of a slave and the feet of a Portuguese lady." Florens looks for love, first from Lina, an older servant woman at her new master's house, but later from a handsome blacksmith, an African, never enslaved.
There are other voices: Lina, whose tribe was decimated by smallpox; their mistress, Rebekka, herself a victim of religious intolerance back in England; Sorrow, a strange girl who's spent her early years at sea; and finally the devastating voice of Florens' mother. These are all men and women inventing themselves in the wilderness.
A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and of a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.
Acts of mercy may have unforeseen consequences.
©2008 Toni Morrison; (P)2008 Random House Audio
Author Toni Morrison has written a great book again. However, she is very difficult to listen to. Monotone voice, lacking in emotion. This book would have been much better served bay a narrator with acting experience. I am always wary of books read by the author, and this book certainly validated that wariness.
Toni Morrison is a great author, but a poor narrator. I could understand her when she was being a property owner negotiating with big slave owner. But when she was being the adolescent slave girl, the central figure, I couldn't understand most of what she was saying.
Buy the book instead.
Morrison's command of voice, tone and timing is matched only by the compelling characters she so completely brings to life.
Genius to locate these characters in pre-America...imagining life before the colonies seems to give context to what came later...extraordinary.
Why rename it?
Not an audiobook
I found the reading to be very difficult to get into, Toni Morrison's voice is very soothing and the prose is lovely, but I kept needing to back track to try and figure out what was actually said.
I hadn't finished listening to Ms Morrison narrate her book when I ordered it from Amazon.com. When the book arrived, I read along as Ms Morrison narrated it. Her reading cadence exposes subtleties that I would have missed had I read the story to myself. A Mercy sheds light on our dark history. It also leaves me puzzled about some things. A tremendous amount of research went into writing A Mercy. It is not a off-the-top-of-one's-head novel. I will do some research myself and then read the book again. Oh, and not all indentured people were black. NOTE: A very informative interview follows the narration of this book.
I will definitely listen to this again. I loved everything about it...and hated when it was done.
I felt connected and invested emotionally in the characters and their lives. I could "see" these people as I listened.
Her voice is captivating...I suppose her being the author allowed for the telling of the story the way she intended as opposed to how another narrator would have interpreted it. The emotion and passion of what she wanted to portray were felt.
I actually did complete all of the book minus about 45 mins in one sitting. It was truly that good!
I love Toni Morrison's work. This was the first time I've listened to a book and now I cannot wait to listen to her "Beloved" even though I've read it twice already!
Toni Morrison's voice was incredible.
Florence realizing the person she loved didn't love her back.
You truly feel transported to another era
Historically accurate, engrossing tale of North American immigrants before the revolutionary war. The interview with Toni Morrison at the end was especially good.
I like Toni Morrison, so I'm not bothered by the dark tone her books take, or the inferences. I listened to this particular book in one sitting, and it made me want to go back and listen to it again, just to make sure I got it right. Heart-wrenching. Her characters are very human, very flawed, and they touch the dark places in all of us.
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