C's Reviews > Paradise
by Toni Morrison
by Toni Morrison
I liked this very much. Possibly the Morrison book I liked best. There are probably a lot of biblical metaphors I'm still not getting, just like Toni Morrison's other books, but I think I could understand this book better. This is very good. Morrison won the Nobel Prize for a reason. This is the story of an ex-slave town that had to relocate (but some of them were also ex-lieutenant governors, they were not just ex-slaves, which is very bizarre to me. Ex-slaves were allowed to be lieutenant governors but that went downhill yet again when even more racism fired up. They weren't given so much power again for a long time. ) On their way, they tried to stay at a town with people that were not '8-rock' (a way for one character to describe how pure black the town is) and were rejected. They realized that not only were whites racist, but so were other black folk to shades of skin different than their own. When they eventually found their new home, the town of Ruby is unaccepting of anyone, until inevitable tragedy. Also near the town is an old convent, a house of women, that are trying to escape the brutality of the world, just like Ruby.There is much brutality, like any Toni Morrison book, but how can that be avoidable with such subject matter? There is just something in the way of the little details that make the story (ie: the words "Furrow of His Brow" on a community oven and how people in the town interpret what it means, and the many meanings that only Morrison could show it has). Everything ties together amazingly well. I also liked that at least one woman at the convent is white, which we learn on the first page, but we are never told which woman it is. It is so important to the characters, but Morrison is saying it shouldn't be for the reader, I think. It isn't shoved in your face : "This woman is black. This woman is white." The women's problems are universal and deserve sympathy that the town of Ruby never gives them. What happened to the town of Ruby wasn't right, but neither was their unacceptance of anyone else. They did the same and worse and ultimately became what they were trying to avoid.
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