Morrison's prose is always coldly perfect, if not always entirely clear. Honestly, this is one of Morrison's most comprehensible books - there's not eMorrison's prose is always coldly perfect, if not always entirely clear. Honestly, this is one of Morrison's most comprehensible books - there's not even that much stream-of-consciousness! And it only jumps around the timeline a little bit!
In 1680s America, Jacob Vaark is an orphan who inherits land in America from a distant relative and becomes a wealthy merchant on the rum trade. He imports a wife, Rebekka, who turns into a boon companion to Jacob – she’s sober and practical and loving and it’s so nice that this blind arrangement worked out so well for them (except for the fact that all their children die young and Jacob becomes obsessed with building his legacy through fancy things because he can’t do it through any descendants).
Jacob's workers are a collection of tragedy. There’s Lina, a Native American sold into slavery. There’s Sorrow, a young girl who may be mentally ill (she sees/hears a “Twin”). Sorrow survived a shipwreck, but is raped by her rescuer's sons and then sold to Jacob as some sort of indentured servant. And there’s Florens, a slave girl whose mother begged Jacob to take her (because the master was raping the mother and was starting to turn his gaze on Florens).
This disparate group exists as happily as such a dysfunctional arrangement can, until Jacob dies, and everything splinters.
This is not a happy book (has Morrison ever written a happy book?). But it is a beautiful one....more