Regular price: $21.27

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $21.27

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The place is a Caribbean island. In their mansion overlooking the sea, the cultivated millionaire Valerian Street, now retired, and his pretty, younger wife, Margaret, go through rituals of living, as if in a trance. It is the black servant couple, who have been with the Streets for years - the fastidious butler, Sydney, and his strong yet remote wife - who have arranged every detail of their existence to create a surface calm broken only by sudden bursts of verbal sparring between Valerian and his wife.
There is a visitor among them: a beautiful young black woman, Jadine, who is not only the servant's dazzling niece, but the protegée and friend of the Streets themselves; Jadine, who has been educated at the Sorbonne at Valerian's expense and is home now for a respite from her Paris world of fashion, film, and art.
Through a season of untroubled ease, the lives of these five move with a ritualized grace until, one night, a ragged, starving black American street man breaks into the house. And, in a single moment, with Valerian's perverse decision not to call for help but instead to invite the man to sit with them and eat, everything changes.
Valerian moves toward a larger abdication. Margaret's delicate and enduring deception is shattered. The butler and his wife are forced into acknowledging their illusions. And Jadine, who at first is repelled by the intruder, finds herself moving inexorably toward him. He calls himself Son, and he is a kind of black man she has dreaded since childhood: uneducated, violent, contemptuous of her privilege.
Once again, Toni Morrison has given us a novel of daring, fascination, and power.
©1981 Toni Morrison; (P)2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
Show More Show Less

Critic Reviews

"Deeply perceptive....Return[s] risk and mischief to the contemporary American novel." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Arresting images, fierce intelligence, poetic language...One becomes entranced by Toni Morrison's story." (The Washington Post)
"Toni Morrison has made herself into the D. H. Lawrence of the black psyche, transforming individuals into forces, idiosyncrasy into inevitability." (New York magazine)
Show More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By S. Crier on 04-10-09

Disappointing

I'm an avid admirer of Toni Morrison's work and have absolutely loved all of the previous books by her that I have read. This book was absolutely boring. It took months to force myself to listen to it. Some of the subplots were very undeveloped and led nowhere, just hanging there like untied threads. Basically, everyone just seemed underdeveloped and the book as a whole lacked the depth and character I have come to expect from Ms. Morrison.

Read More Hide me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Francis on 11-15-17

I love Toni’s books!

Another great listen! I’m making my way through all Toni Morrison’s books and I’m glad to have listened to this one.

Read More Hide me
See all Reviews
© Copyright 1997 - 2017 Audible, Inc