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Paradise (The Trilogy #3)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  19,085 Ratings  ·  775 Reviews

Four young women are brutally attacked in a convent near an all-black town in America in the mid-1970s. The inevitability of this attack, and the attempts to avert it, lie at the heart of Paradise. Spanning the birth of the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, the counter-culture and politics of the late 1970s, deftly manipulating pa
Paperback, 318 pages
Published 1999 by Vintage (first published 1997)
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Becky Courington Pallas/Divine is the white one. Connie was from South America, not Europe.
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Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-american
" They shoot the white girl first, but the rest they can take their time. No need to hurry out here. They are 17 miles from a town which has 90 miles between it and any other. Hiding places will be plentiful in the convent, but there is time, and the day has just begun. They are nine. Over twice the number of the women, they are obliged to stampede or kill, and they have the paraphernalia for either requirement--rope, a palm leaf cross, handcuffs, mace, and sunglasses, along with clean, handso ...more
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-american

قبل از این کتاب سه اثر دیگه از موریسون خونده بودم و تقریبا با روال روایتیش اشنا بودم . اتفاق بزرگ پایانی بی این که خواننده شخصیت ها رو بشناسه یا از ماجرا خبر داشته باشه تو همون فصل اول تعریف میشه. بعد کم کم تو هر فصل شخصیت ها معرفی میشن و تیکه های پازل ماجرا کنار هم چیده میشن تا به اون اتفاق برسیم. به خاطر همین ترتیبه که هیجان و جذابیت داستان های موریسون بالاست. به خاطر روایت غیرخطیش ، خوندن داستان هاش کار چندان آسونی نیست ولی این پیچیدگی توی بهشت به اوج خودش رسید. هم تعداد شخصیت ها خیلی زیاد بو
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-studies
Why is it that so often in life the very thing you’re trying to avoid becomes you? Why do the oppressed become the oppressor? Why do the abused become the abuser? Why do those who demand openness and equality become insular and elitist? Why does the love that we strive so hard to obtain turn into a protective curse when we attempt to contain it vs. allowing its empathy and compassion to extend to all? These open-ended questions are only the tip of the iceberg in Toni Morrison’s "Paradise". It is ...more
Jul 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: afro-lit
I swear, it's the most fulfilling when you read an author and you have ambiguous feelings towards them and their writing. But being an unbiased, fair, desperately enthusiastic reader; you come back to give it a second try and it will be with that second book that you make your definitive judgement towards the author — either you like them or don't. You respect their writing and just can't get down with it or you think their writing is crap.

I thought I didn't like Morrison. I respected her as I c
Why did I read this book before reading Beloved and Jazz when it is supposed to complete the trilogy? I'm bummed by that. I couldn't help it, I found the book on my shelf and decided to read it along with The Bluest Eye. Then there I was, reading it and thinking, why was this book not titled, “Beware the Furrow of His Brow,” or “Furrow of His brow,” or, “The Oven?” I won’t spoil it, you will have to read it to see why I say that and you'll probably agree with me (I did hear though, that Toni Mo ...more
Apr 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
I'll confess that, though I'm an adoring Morrison fan, I've avoided three novels (this one, Jazz, Tar Baby) because of the less-than-stellar things I've heard about them. (Not to mention I found Love tedious.) Well, I went in as a skeptic and I came out a believer.

The first sentence, quoted again and again here on GR, really deserves another show: "They shot the white girl first." It's so perfect, so emblematic of Morrison's ability to write both elegant, haunting, ornate sentences, and--just as
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really loved this book. I have never read Morrison before and now I'm wondering what took me so long. I think her writing is just exquisite. This was not an easy book to read, and I am left pondering many things, but where ambiguity usually leaves me feeling dissatisfied, with this book it somehow feels "right", like I am meant to be thinking about this book long after I have finished it.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Basta, mi arrendo. Troppi personaggi che entrano in scena senza introduzione; troppi fatti accennati senza venire debitamente sviluppati; troppi riferimenti storici (principalmente riguardanti la comunità di colore) che richiederebbero una conoscenza della storia americana che io purtroppo non possiedo.
Peccato, perché la scrittura è sontuosa, ma questa indubbiamente non è una lettura estiva e richiederebbe un lavoro di applicazione e documentazione che al momento non mi sento di intraprendere.
Ron Charles
Dec 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading a novel by Toni Morrison is an act of faith. She demands much from her language and her readers, but when that faith is rewarded, the effect is stunning.

In "Paradise," her first novel since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, she has produced a story sure to generate volumes of feminist appraisal. This novel doesn't reach the emotional spikes of her best early work, but in a way it is more articulate than her rich, exhausting "Beloved" (1987). Oprah Winfrey has already tapped
This is one of those books that is probably a masterpiece, but to which I could not find the right access.
They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time.
These first two sentences are - I think - a strong entry into a novel. Together with the blurb they have convinced me to buy the book. The crime is described in the first chapter, and the rest deals not so much with the question who committed it, but why. Why did the nine men from the small town of Ruby decide to savag
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't write my review of this right away, as I was still trying to decide exactly how I felt about this book. It was very difficult to read and about half way through, I went online to read other readers' takes on it.

Either people loved it or they hated it. If they loved it, they had read it two or three times and read/watched numerous interviews with the author as she explained her themes, just so they could understand it. I am willing to explore deeper meanings in a book, but it has to be
Neal Adolph
I started reading this book because it is Black History Month and I thought it was appropriate to finally, after years of good intention, mark it in some way with my reading. Conveniently, I've been wanting to read something by Toni Morrison, and have often lifted her books from my shelf, examined the cover and read the back, but they've always been put back. I was never brave enough. The weight of reputation around her persona - and around some of her books - is heavy. I went with Paradise for ...more
Paul Sheckarski
I don't think I can say anything intelligent about this novel without a stornger background in women's & Black lit. There are many stylistic choices which gave me pause, whose purpose may be hidden to me by my capital-p privilege. I have foremost in mind the constant revision of established narrative, where we revisit the past from a new perspective and change, cloud, clarify our perception of particular events. Not to say that women's lit is the only tradition to capitalize on multiple poin ...more
Victoria Plummer
I've never been able to pinpoint the reason I love this book.

After three reads, endless highlights, dog-eared pages, and notes in the margins I've found peace with Ruby and its inhabitants.

Many think this book failed because Morrison tried to insert too many questions, themes, and allegory into it, but I think that's where it shines. Morrison's depth is downright impressive in her ability to weave such weighted layers in this novel.

On my first read I came out with a tenuous understanding of wha
Will B
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was selected by one of my professors, an expert in African American literature who has published a couple of books of his own, for a 400-level college lit class.

On the first day that we started this book, he walked in, sat it down on the table in front of him, and said, "I hadn't read this book in a while. I couldn't remember if I liked it or not. I don't think I do."

A week later, I knew I didn't.

Morrison has long been lauded for her evocative lyricism, but here more so than in her o
Oct 02, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up at a Friends of the Library sale and didn't give it much thought... It was a mild read, somewhat sad, somewhat rich.
I actually finished the book a week ago and the last chapter has got me still milling over whether I think it's a masterpiece or a flop. Any book that still has me thinking a week later should probably get more than 3 stars.. I might just re-read that last chapter and see if I get it this time.
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paradise is one of my favourite words… I believe it came first from an ancient word in Farsi that means only a park, which says something about the Iranian idea of a park, perhaps. I think paradise is a place of welcome and peace and love, and in this book, I think that is what the founders of the town Ruby wanted to create, at a safe distance from racism and related violence vertical and horizontal…

But the folks in power are too rigid in defining and seeking to enforce their idea of paradise. T
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fifth of Morrison's books that I've read, and like all the others, it is beautiful. I find it hard to rate Morrison's work in the 5-star system, because in comparison to most books by other authors, Morrison would almost always deserve 5. When I compare her books to each other, I can't go as high as a 5 for most of them because I don't feel they are quite as good (perfect) as Beloved.

Paradise is a dystopian novel. It may not seem like it at first--it doesn't transport us into some d
May 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It's funny, I've tried to get many of my friends to read this book and they all start and then stop, while I've read it twice (I rarely read books more than once, even if I really like them).

I just loved the complexity of this non-linear book. Each chapter is devoted to the main women in the novel, including the town itself, Ruby. Ruby is an all-black town in OK, founded by freed slaves. This is a town that prides itself on its history and on its racial purity among other things. It is these bel
This book has THE BEST opening chapter I have ever read. I HATED the ending. I was mad at Morrison who refused to provide answers to the ending. Basically, she said if the reader doesn't get it then the reader doesn't deserve to be helped/given the answers.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Staggering, epic, layered, and incredibly engrossing. Nobody tells a story quite like Toni Morrison.

Paradise, Morrison's first novel post-Nobel is a bit of a departure from her earlier output. Most noticeably, the breadth and scope of the story are among the most ambitious and complex of her career up to this point. The town of Ruby, Oklahoma and all its many inhabitants are the focus of this story and their relationship-turned-violent conflict with the women of the mysterious Convent, located s
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sentimental Surrealist
So, here I arrive at the later Morrison. Since my introduction to the arts was through rock music, which has adopted Neil Young's "better to burn out than to fade away" dictum as gospel, I had it in my head that artists were supposed to get worse with age, that they were supposed to have this big creative burst at the beginning of their professional career and then lose it all. This ironically doesn't apply to Young himself, who isn't what he used to be but will toss a gem like Ragged Glory or, ...more
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paradise is a masterpiece by Toni Morrison, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. I first became acquainted with Morrison, a literary giant, when I read her first novel, The Bluest Eye many years ago. Her novels are difficult to read because of her lyrical prose, her symbolism, use of figurative language and involved plotting. Paradise is no different. When I first began to read the novel, I found it difficult to follow the story line. It begins with a violent act in the present d ...more
May 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-japan
There is a special hell for black people who only give Toni Morrison three stars. Please don't send me there.

Paradise is the story of black God-fearing utopia (nah, not an oxymoron!). Ruby, the town where the story is set, prides itself on its "absence of the unsaved, the unworthy and the strange." The townspeople are preoccupied with pleasing the Lord and fighting the "threat of white immigrants". Something has to happen, so not far off lurk ex-pat heathens who (not needing a man, OR God!!) put
Non-linear and filled with about a million different characters (many with multiple names) don't expect Paradise to be a casual, Sunday afternoon read. About 60% of the way through I gave in and just let myself experience the novel without necessarily having to completely make sense of it. It made it somewhat easier to read, but also frustrating, because I know there is a lot of rich complexity I just didn't pick up on. Definitely a book that warrants multiple readings, I think. And maybe a flow ...more
Steff El Madawi
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was completely absorbed in this book. I found myself fathoming out potential plot holes and contemplating genetic threads even when I stepped away from it, only to find that, if I read hard and persevered, the holes all closed up.

The characters were deep and tangible, even the ones that were difficult to like. Admittedly, I had to reread sections to hold the relationships and kinships straight, but the payoff for doing so was always satisfying.

The shifting viewpoints from chapter to chapter,
Nimue Brown
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange, beautiful, haunting, challenging, ambiguous - all qualities I really appreciate in a book. I first read this in my early twenties, and struggled with it, being a white English Pagan girl I had few points of reference for understanding Black Christian America in the first half of the twentieth century. I knew less about race and gender politics, my world was simpler, and this book confused me. Re-reading it older, wiser, bruised, saddened, inspired and generally knocked about by the worl ...more
Fatima Alammar
Nov 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
فردوس موريسون هو عن غياب "الفردوس". عن عدم الإيمان به، عن التشكيك في إمكانية وجوده. الفردوس يوجد في مخيلة من يقع عليهم الظلم والاضطهاد، وعندما يقتربون من بناء الفردوس (في الرواية هي بلدة روبي) سرعان ما يتبدد الوهم، ويتورطون في الظلم والاضطهاد.

رواية مُرهقة. وأنا لا أعني حزينة، ومحتشدة بالتفاصيل الكثيرة والحكايات الصغيرة، تتطلّب تركيزاً حادا، مربكة، ومحيّرة، وسوداوية، بل أعني كلّ ذلك.
Daniel Chaikin
Still processing. Bewildering in all it's details, and lacking in the magic that makes books fun or beautiful, still the book works on many levels. It's pretty darn complex, although it doesn't necessarily feel like a fully polished work. And there is a lot to think about.
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Goodreads Librari...: book synopsis is actually a used-book sales listing? 2 195 Apr 06, 2017 05:33PM  
African-American ...: Paradise by Toni Morrison 8 54 Dec 22, 2015 05:08AM  
Confused about ending 4 62 Aug 30, 2014 12:43AM  
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Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford), is an American author, editor, and professor who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature for being an author "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality."

Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed African American characters; among the best k
More about Toni Morrison...

Other Books in the Series

The Trilogy (3 books)
  • Beloved
  • Jazz

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“Let me tell you about love, that silly word you believe is about whether you like somebody or whether somebody likes you or whether you can put up with somebody in order to get something or someplace you want or you believe it has to do with how your body responds to another body like robins or bison or maybe you believe love is how forces or nature or luck is benign to you in particular not maiming or killing you but if so doing it for your own good. Love is none of that. There is nothing in nature like it. Not in robins or bison or in the banging tails of your hunting dogs and not in blossoms or suckling foal. Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind. It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God. You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn - by practice and careful contemplations - the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it. Which is to say you have to earn God. You have to practice God. You have to think God-carefully. And if you are a good and diligent student you may secure the right to show love. Love is not a gift. It is a diploma. A diploma conferring certain privileges: the privilege of expressing love and the privilege of receiving it. How do you know you have graduated? You don't. What you do know is that you are human and therefore educable, and therefore capable of learning how to learn, and therefore interesting to God, who is interested only in Himself which is to say He is interested only in love. Do you understand me? God is not interested in you. He is interested in love and the bliss it brings to those who understand and share the interest. Couples that enter the sacrament of marriage and are not prepared to go the distance or are not willing to get right with the real love of God cannot thrive. They may cleave together like robins or gulls or anything else that mates for life. But if they eschew this mighty course, at the moment when all are judged for the disposition of their eternal lives, their cleaving won't mean a thing. God bless the pure and holy. Amen.” 441 likes
“How exquisitely human was the wish for permanent happiness, and how thin human imagination became trying to achieve it.” 32 likes
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