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Paradise
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Nobel Prize-winning author of Beloved, Toni Morrison is one of the finest novelists of our times

About the Author

Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She was the author of many novels, including The Bluest Eye, Sula, Beloved, Paradise and Love. She received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honour, in 2012 by Barack Obama. Toni Morrison died on 5 August 2019 at the age of eighty-eight.

Reviews

So intense and evocative in its particulars, so wide-ranging in its arch, this is another, if imperfect, triumph for the Nobel Prize-winning author (Song of Solomon; Beloved; etc.). In 1950, a core group of nine old families leaves the increasingly corrupted African American community of Haven, Okla., to found in that same state a new, purer community they call Ruby. But in the early 1970s, the outside world begins to intrude on Ruby's isolation, forcing a tragic confrontation. It's about this time, too, that the first of five damaged women finds solace in a decrepit former convent near Ruby. Once the pleasure palace of an embezzler, the convent had been covered with lascivious fixtures that were packed away or painted over by the nuns. Time has left only "traces of the sisters' failed industry," however, making the building a crumbling, fertile amalgam of feminine piety and female sexuality. It's a woman's world that attracts the women of Ruby‘and that repels the men who see its occupants as the locus of all the town's ills. They are "not women locked safely away from men; but worse, women who chose themselves for company, which is to say not a convent but a coven." Only when Morrison treats the convent women as an entity (rather than as individual characters) do they lose nuance, and that's when the book falters. Still, the individual stories of both the women and the townspeople reveal Morrison at her best. Tragic, ugly, beautiful, these lives are the result of personal dreams and misfortune; of a history that encompasses Reconstruction and Vietnam; and of mystical grandeur. 400,000 first printing; simultaneous audio and large print editions (ISBN 0-375-40179-2; -70217-2) (Jan.)

Nobel laureate Morrison creates another richly told tale that grapples with her ongoing, central concerns: women's lives and the African American experience. Morrison has created a long list of characters for this story that takes place in the all-black town of Ruby, Oklahoma, population 360, which was founded by freed slaves. In what could be seen as an attempt to create some of the same mysticism that was present in many of her previous works, Morrison alludes to Ruby's founding citizens, now ghosts, and only minimally focuses on the present generations that have let the founding principles of Ruby's forebears deteriorate. Paradise is an examination of the title itself and deliberately builds into a plot that is unexpected and explosive. This is Morrison's first novel since her 1993 Jazz, and it is well worth the wait. Highly Recommended for all collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/97.]‘Emily J. Jones, "Library Journal"

"Toni Morrison makes me believe in God. She makes me believe in a divine being, because luck and genetics don't seem to come close to explaining her" * Guardian *
"Morrison is an extraordinary novelist" * New York Times *
"We don't know quite how Toni Morrison does what she does, but we do know we are left shaken as readers and, to a profound degree, changed" * Washington Post *
"Morrison has brought it all together: the poetry, the emotion, the broad symbolic plan" * New York Times Book Review *
"It is a tour de force of writing" * Independent on Sunday *

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