A Mercy, Toni Morrison
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A Mercy

Author: Toni Morrison

Narrator: Toni Morrison

Unabridged: 6 hr 6 min

Format: Digital Audiobook Download

Published: 11/11/2008


Synopsis

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.

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.

Author Bio

Possibly one of the best known and most talented Black authors, Chloe Anthony Wofford Morrison, was an American author, essayist, book editor, and college professor. She was born and grew up in Lorain, Ohio. She was the second of four children of a working class family. Her parents had difficult childhoods, with her father having witnessed a lynching of two Black businessmen who lived on his street. It was a very traumatic experience for her father, so he ended up moving to Ohio where there were more industrial jobs being offered. When Toni was about two years old, their landlord set fire to their house for non-payment of rent. They were home at the time. They laughed at the incident which she later described "as how her family kept their integrity and claimed their own life".

Morrison read frequently the works of Jane Austen and Leo Tolstoy. She took the Baptismal name of Anthony, which led to her nickname, Toni. She attended Lorain High School where she was on the debate team, participated in drama productions, and assisted with the yearbook. She then graduated from Howard University in English and the classics. Continuing her education, she completed her Master's Degree in two years from Cornell University, writing her thesis on Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner.

After graduating from Cornell, she settled in Texas, where she taught at Texas Southern University.

She has received about every prestigious award for her writing, which includes......The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved (which was made into a 1998 film), Jazz, Love, and A Mercy. Her highest honor was in 2012 when she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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