A Mercy

  • by Toni Morrison
  • 6 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Oh, this book

Toni Morrison is one of my favorite authors. This story is stream of consciousness, poetry, beauty, horror, longing and sorrow. The characters have stayed with me. I was engaged and interested every moment. I truly loved this book.
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- Suzn F

Great book

Magnificent book from Toni Morrison. A story about love and betrayal in the late 1600s. A story told from multiple points of view. Morrison uses stream of consciousness for most of the book, what reminds me of Faulkner and "The Sound and The Fury". Not an easy book to read because until you finish it you really do not get the whole story: literally until the very last sentence of the novel.

I think this book is easier to read that to listen to, because each chapter is narrated by one character, and in the audiobook version the separation between chapters is not clear. Toni Morrison has a wonderful evocative voice, but she does not try to change it for each character of the novel, relying only for identification of each of them on the different way they express themselves. The makes the audition confusing, at least initially. I ended up reading the book on paper at the same time that I was listening to Toni Morrison's voice, and then I was completely hooked on the book.
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- Pablo Tebas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-11-2008
  • Publisher: Random House Audio