Paradise by Toni Morrison

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"Rumors had been whispered for more than a year. Outrages that had been accumulating all along took shape as evidence. A mother was knocked down the stairs by her cold-eyed daughter. Four damaged infants were born in one family. Daughters refused to get out of bed. Brides disappeared on their honeymoons. Two brothers shot each other on New Year's Day. Trips to Demby for VD shots common. And what went on at the Oven these days was not to be believed . . . The proof they had been collecting since the terrible discovery in the spring could not be denied: the one thing that connected all these catastrophes was in the Convent. And in the Convent were those women."

In Paradise--her first novel since she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature--Toni Morrison gives us a bravura performance. As the book begins deep in Oklahoma early one morning in 1976, nine men from Ruby (pop. 360), in defense of "the one all-black town worth the pain," assault the nearby Convent and the women in it. From the town's ancestral origins in 1890 to the fateful day of the assault, Paradise tells the story of a people ever mindful of the relationship between their spectacular history and a void "Out There . . . where random and organized evil erupted when and where it chose." Richly imagined and elegantly composed, Paradise weaves a powerful mystery.

About Toni Morrison

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Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is the author of many novels, including The Bluest Eye, Beloved (made into a major film), Paradise and, most recently, Home. She has also received the National Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction. In addition to Desdemona her theatrical work includes writing the text for Margaret Garner (music composed by Richard Danielpour) and Dreaming Emmett, an published play directed by Gilbert Moses and performed at the Marketplace Capitol Repertory Theater of Albany. Ms. Morrison has written lyrics for Kathleen Battle (commissioned by Carnegie Hall), Sylvia McNair, Jessye Norman, and Andre Previn. Ms. Morrison founded the Princeton Atelier which for fifteen years has brought actors, composers, writers, and artists of all genres together to work with students on the artists' own projects. Several of her novels including The Bluest Eye have been adapted for the stage.Rokia Traoré is a Victoires de la Musique award-winning Malian singer, songwriter and guitarist.Peter Sellars is one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the performing arts in America and abroad. A visionary artist, Sellars is known for his groundbreaking interpretations of classic works.
Published July 24, 2007 by Vintage. 336 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences, Children's Books, History. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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With one eye cocked for high drama, the other for any hint of bureaucratic bungling, Morrison (a reporter for Insight magazine) tells in fascinating detail the story of Yellowstone's 1988 firestorm.

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Kirkus Reviews

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The violence men inflict on women and the painful irony of an "all-black town" whose citizens themselves become oppressors are the central themes of Morrison's rich, symphonic seventh novel (after Jazz, 1992, etc.).

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Publishers Weekly

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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.

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AV Club

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Toni Morrison's new novel Paradise—her first since winning the Nobel Prize in 1993 and becoming the patron saint of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club—is a harsh, uncompromising work, very much of a piece with her previous two books.

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Paradise

Entertainment Weekly

Morrison describes two women running hopelessly to escape like this: ''Bodacious black Eves unredeemed by Mary, they are like panicked does leaping toward a sun that has finished burning off the mist and now pours its holy oil over the hides of game.'' This, Morrison makes clear, is paradise ...

Jan 23 1998 | Read Full Review of Paradise

London Review of Books

15 · 30 July 1998 From Kym Martindale I may be belated in this reply to Maud Sulter’s terse dismissal (Letters, 4 June) of Zoë Heller’s review of Toni Morrison’s latest novel Paradise, but Sulter’s remarks continue to unsettle me with their assumptions and appropriations.

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Project MUSE

Over the course of almost a dozen years, William Carlos Williams composed his epic poem Paterson, which focuses on what he calls “the city, the man, the identity.” While many critics have explored Paradise through a variety of critical perspectives, none have examined the novel as a metatextual f...

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Boston Review

Yusef Komunyakaa belongs to a generation of black poets that often gets lost in the wake of the Black Arts sea change of the 1960s.

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