Laurel's Reviews > A Mercy

A Mercy by Toni Morrison
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's review
Apr 09, 09

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction
Read in April, 2009

I really hate to only give 2 stars to a Toni Morrison book. My main problem with A Mercy (the audio version) was with the narration. Morrison chose to read the book herself, and I'm not sure how well it worked. She reads so slowly and pauses in the middle of sentences so often, it started to feel like an attempted poetry reading. For example, "Far away to the right (pause), beyond the iron fencings (pause), enclosing the property (pause) and softened by mist (pause), he saw Rosa Cortez, quiet (pause), empty (pause). In the fields, he reckoned (pause), trying to limit (pause) the damage (pause) sopping weather (pause) had wrought (pause) on the crop."

They were not long pauses, of course, but long enough to be so noticeable it was all I could focus on.

Normally, I love to hear Morrison speak. I find her to be incredibly wise and articulate, and she is undoubtedly a gifted writer. I just found the pauses so distracting that it was hard to stay focused on the story itself.

The book is interesting conceptually at least: a look at American slavery in the late 1600's, with multiple characters and relationships involving love, betrayal, and how a mother's choice to save her child from abuse is misunderstood and seen as abandonment.

In the end, though, I couldn't get fully absorbed for the reason stated. This is another of those books I may have to revisit in the future when I can read the print version.
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Comments (showing 1-4)

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Bxrlover The pauses are driving me nuts! Glad to know it's not just me being finicky. This is my first Toni Morrison novel and I am finding her style too much like poetry for my tastes.

Laurel Oh, so glad I'm not the only one! The pauses were incredibly distracting. It really was all I could focus on. I think in this case Morrison did herself a disservice by choosing to read the book herself.

Babajaga I couldn't agree more with you, guys.

Carrie I am listening to the audiobook via Library2Go, which, thank goodness allows me to speed up the reading. Sped up, it is easier to listen to.

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