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A Mercy

A novel

(1)
A powerful tragedy distilled into a jewel of a masterpiece by the Nobel Prize-winning author of Beloved and, almost like a prelude to that story, set two centuries earlier.
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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Rezension
"A horrifying act stood at the center of Toni Morrison's 1987 masterwork, Beloved: a runaway slave, caught in her effort to escape, cuts the throat of her baby daughter with a handsaw, determined to spare the girl the fate she herself has suffered as a slave. A similarly indelible act stands at the center of Ms. Morrison's remarkable new novella, A Mercy, a small, plangent gem of a story that is, at once, a kind of prelude to Beloved and a variation on that earlier book's exploration of the personal costs of slavery-a system that moves men and women and children around 'like checkers' and casts a looming shadow over both parental and romantic love.
Set some 200 years before Beloved, A Mercy conjures up the beautiful, untamed, lawless world that was America in the 17th century with the same sort of lyrical, verdant prose that distinguished that earlier novel. . . . Ms. Morrison has rediscovered an urgent, poetic voice that enables her to move back and forth with immediacy and ease between the worlds of history and myth, between ordinary daily life and the realm of fable. . . . A heartbreaking account of lost innocence and fractured dreams, [that] also stands, with Beloved, as one of Ms. Morrison's most haunting works yet."
-Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Spellbinding . . . Dazzling . . . [ A Mercy ] stands alongside Beloved as a unique triumph in Morrison's body of work. The lush poetry and amorphous structure of [the novel] reflect the story's distant setting in the mist of America's creation, when independence and the three-fifths compromise of the Constitution were still a century away. . . . Morrison, who has written so powerfully of catastrophe, cruelty and horror, here adds to that song of tragedy equally thrilling chords of desire and wonder, which in their own way are no less tragic. Where Beloved ends with the cathartic exhaustion of an exorcism, A Mercy concludes with an ambiguous kind of prayer, redolent with possibility and yearning but inspired by despair. This rich little masterpiece is a welding of poetry and history and psychological acuity that you must not miss."
-Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World
"Luminous and complex . . . In Beloved, Morrison told the story of Sethe, a woman who murdered her own child rather than see her sold into slavery. Early on in A Mercy, we watch a mother do the opposite-she puts her daughter Florens up for sale . . . It's a less bloody moment, but in its way it's no less chilling. A Mercy is that daughter's tale. . . . Morrison is mooting the perversely hopeful possibility that slavery could have existed without racism or at least without racism as we know it. She lavishes some of her best writing in years on [ A Mercy 's] pre-Revolutionary world . . . A Mercy shows us America in the moment before race madness ruined it-it is a wounded land, but the wound has not yet turned septic. . . . In A Mercy, Morrison is urging her younger self, the tortured soul who fashioned the infernal vision that is Beloved, to look even further-beyond the veil of pain and anger, however righteous, to hope. There was a time before the present misery, Morrison seems to be telling herself. And therefore, maybe, there will be a time after it."
-Lev Grossman, Time
"Magnificent . . . As with all Morrison's finest work, A Mercy compellingly combines immediacy and obliquity. Its evocation of pioneer existence in America surrounds you with sensuous intensity. . . . An attack by a bear is described with thrilling power. . . . Idioms have potent directness, too. . . . Rich knowledgeability about 17th-century America is put to telling effect. Voices speak to you as if you were there. . . . The book keeps you vividly aware of the vital human individuality that racism's crude categorizations are brutally trying to iron out. . . . A stark story of the evils of possessiveness and the perils of dispossession emerges slantwise. Hints, suspicions, secrets, ambivalences, scarcely acknowledged
Portrait
Die amerikanische Schriftstellerin Toni Morrison wurde am 18. Februar 1931 in Lorain, Ohio als zweites von vier Kindern eines schwarzen Arbeiterehepaares geboren. Nach dem Besuch örtlicher Schulen 1949 Beginn des Studiums an der Howard University in Washington, DC. Erste Erfahrungen mit dem Südstaaten-Rassismus während einer Tournee als Mitglied der Universitätstheatergruppe. Ab 1953 Anglistikstudium an der renommierten Cornell University bis zum Magisterabschluss 1955. Lehrtätigkeit, zunächst an der Texas Southern University (1955-1957), danach an der Howard University (1957-1964). Ehe mit dem jamaikanischen Architekten Harold Morrison, aus der zwei Söhne hervorgehen. Nach der Scheidung 1964 Rückkehr nach Lorain. 1965 Umzug nach New York und Lektorentätigkeit.
In ihren Werken beschreibt sie unter anderem die Rassenprobleme in ihrer Heimat sowie die zwischenmenschlichen Beziehungen innerhalb der schwarzen Bevölkerung. Ausgezeichnet mit dem Pulitzer-Preis (1988) und dem Literatur-Nobelpreis (1993) gehört sie zu den bedeutendsten Vertretern der afroamerikanischen Literatur.
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Produktdetails


Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 176
Erscheinungsdatum 01.06.2009
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-307-47234-2
Verlag Random House LCC US
Maße (L/B/H) 175/103/19 mm
Gewicht 95
Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
6,99
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A Mercy
von einer Kundin/einem Kunden am 06.08.2010

A Mercy ist das erste Buch, das ich von Toni Morrison gelesen habe. Am liebsten wollte ich meine Eindrücke sofort nach beendeter Lektüre in Worte fassen, doch erst mit einigen Tagen Abstand gelingt es mir. Denn Morrison erzählt eindringlich eine kunstvoll konstruierte Geschichte mit komplexer Thematik und erzeugt damit... A Mercy ist das erste Buch, das ich von Toni Morrison gelesen habe. Am liebsten wollte ich meine Eindrücke sofort nach beendeter Lektüre in Worte fassen, doch erst mit einigen Tagen Abstand gelingt es mir. Denn Morrison erzählt eindringlich eine kunstvoll konstruierte Geschichte mit komplexer Thematik und erzeugt damit ein lang nachhallendes Echo. Was bringt eine versklavte Mutter dazu ihr Kind freiwillig in die Hände eines anderen Besitzers zu geben? Macht nur Sklaverei einen Menschen unfrei? Gibt es eine innere persönliche Freiheit unabhängig von äußeren Einschränkungen menschlicher Freiheit? Was macht die Freiheit eines Menschen aus? Morrison spricht diese Fragen nicht offen aus und doch sind es die Fragen, die ihr Buch letztlich ausmachen.

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typisch Toni Morrison
von einer Kundin/einem Kunden am 12.04.2011
Bewertetes Format: Buch (Taschenbuch)

dieses Buch lohnt sich, in sämtlichen Literaturkreisen gelesen zu werden. Es ist spannend und zugleich erschreckend, wie es damals zuging.

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