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A Mercy

A book by Toni Morrison, published by Knopf; 1st edition (November 11, 2008)

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We all inhabit the earth as brothers and sisters

  • Feb 10, 2009
  • by
Toni Morrison is an acclaimed author and pastoral voice whose writing is beautifully conveyed. In her new book "A Mercy" We are introduced to a 17th century farmer and rumrunner who is in the process of building an overly-ostentatious house, with a serpent-clad iron gate. Jacob Vaark believes he is creating a utopia...but this utopia has two overlying sins...the extermination of the natives...and the import of Africans. Lina, the farmer's slavemaiden...sees the serpents on the gate as a representation of the Europes - white-skinned men whom appear to be sickly and pale, who strip lands of the natural resources and force a harsh view of Christianity unto the native people. Yet Jacob is viewed as the book's rational and benevolent "Europe" as he refuses to traffic in slaves...and becomes somewhat of a godsend to those who've been forced into slavery. In fact, a mother pushes her daughter on him in fear of her ending up with someone less caring. Yet, while Jacob is portrayed as a kind and caring soul...he, in fact, makes a tainted living by using slaves he doesn't come in contact with on sugar plantations in the Caribbean...so how caring is he truly? But the "Europes" have also seen their share of debauchery. Jacob's wife, Rebekka, recalls all too easily public hangings in London when the heads of their brethren were held high for all to see...and the entrails thrown into the river without care. "The Mercy" is a terribly ingenious look into American history with all the spirited passion that intones. Toni Morrison captures the essence of a time when the south was separated...and the north persecuting women as witches. But most importantly, "The Mercy" isn't trying to persuade the reader on the errors of the past...rather, it shows the tragedy and folly of men trying to lay dominion over others
A Mercy by Toni Morrison

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More A Mercy reviews
review by . June 25, 2010
Have Mercy...
Toni Morrison’s latest publication, A Mercy, is her 9th novel.  Set in 1680s New England, the story follows five inhabitants of a New York farm.  The primary story tells of a young slave woman, Florens, who is “given” to a Dutch merchant Jacob Vaark in partial fulfillment of an Anglo-Dutch trader’s debt.  Florens finds herself on Jacob’s farm, which is also inhabited by his wife Rebekka, and his two indentured servants, Lina, a Native American woman, …
Quick Tip by . June 25, 2010
Quick and easy read.
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Justyn Joe Richardson ()
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My name is Justyn Richardson but I go by the name Shoyu - after joining the on-line gaming site, Pogo, I have reverted back to my childhood nickname of Tasteless Joe. I first acquired the name when I … more
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About this book


In exchange for a bad debt, an Anglo-Dutch trader takes on Florens, a young slave girl, who feels abandoned by her slave mother and who searches for love--first from an older servant woman at her master's new home, and then from a handsome free blacksmith, in a novel set in late seventeenth-century America.
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ISBN-10: 0307276767 (pbk.)
ISBN-13: 9780307276766 (pbk.)
Author: Toni Morrison
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Vintage
Date Published: August 11, 2009
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