In the 1680s the slave trade in the Americas is still in its infancy. Jacob Vaark is an Anglo-Dutch trader and adventurer, with a small holding in the harsh North. Despite his distaste for dealing in flesh, he takes a small slave girl in part payment for a bad debt from a plantation owner in Catholic Maryland. This is Florens, who can read and write and might be useful on his farm. Rejected by her mother, Florens looks for love, first from Lina, an older servant woman at her new master's house, and later from the handsome blacksmith, an African, never enslaved, who comes riding into their lives.
A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart, like Beloved, it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter-a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.
In the ninth novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison (BELOVED) the characters must face the oppression of a 17th-century form of slavery that had nothing to do with race, and everything to do with power and poverty. The protagonists of A MERCY are a motley crew of disenfranchised laborers--orphans, Native Americans, immigrants, and indentured servants--who must unite against the crushing weight of the injustices that formed the foundation of the United States, that led to the institution of slavery, and that to this day provide a vice-lock on the lives of the poor. Selected as one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2008.
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres, Juvenile Fiction
- Literary, Conflicts + Dualities, Politics, Types of Characters, General
- August 11, 2009
- August 11, 2009
- Toni Morrison