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Paradise by Toni Morrison

Paradise (1997)

by Toni Morrison

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,541342,134 (3.72)217
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» See also 217 mentions

English (33)  Dutch (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
20th century African American African American Fiction African American Literature African Americans America American American fiction American literature contemporary contemporary fiction fiction
  KennedyKing | Aug 2, 2018 |
This is probably my favorite Toni Morrison story yet. She possesses a remarkable gift for leaving the reader with question--"Did what I think happened--really happened? Or am I reading into the scene?" She is the mistress of streaming consciousness and magical realism. ( )
  MPaddock | Sep 22, 2017 |
Not the monumental achievement of Beloved, but still a very good novel. Revisits the militancy of the Viet Nam era as experience in a small, all-black town in Oklahoma. I thought the fragmented narrative unfolding was confusing for much of the book, but I suspect future re-readings would open it up. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Paradise opens with a scapegoat massacre. "They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time." Who that white girl is, is left for the reader to decide. I suppose the mystery is meant to be compelling.

In spite of some great writing, if I have one main complaint it's that too many of the characters seem a little too superficial, a bit too symbolic or perhaps even cliché. For this reason the book drags somewhat in the middle, or maybe even the entire first half except for the opening chapter. ( )
  Frenzie | Aug 14, 2016 |
A powerful mystery of the outrages accumulating at the Oven; a mother being knocked down the stairs by her daughter; four damaged infants were born in one family; daughters refused to get out of bed; brides never returned from their honeymoons; two brothers shot each other. The one thing connecting all of these horrible situations was the Convent. And those women were part of it.
  MerrittGibsonLibrary | Jun 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Toni Morrisonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jonkheer, ChristienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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For many are the pleasant forms which exist in
numerous sings,
and incontinencies,
and disgraceful passions
and fleeting pleasures,
which (men) embrace until they become
and go up to their resting place.
And they will find me there,
and they will live,
and they will not die again.
First words
They shoot the white girl first.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679433740, Hardcover)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, January 1998: Toni Morrison's Paradise takes place in the tiny farming community of Ruby, Oklahoma, which its residents proudly proclaim "the one all-black town worth the pain." Settled by nine African American clans during the 1940s, the town represents a small miracle of self-reliance and community spirit. Readers might be forgiven, in fact, for assuming that Morrison's title refers to Ruby itself, which even during the 1970s retains an atmosphere of neighborliness and small-town virtue. Yet Paradises are not so easily gained. As we soon discover, Ruby is fissured by ancestral feuds and financial squabbles, not to mention the political ferment of the era, which has managed to pierce the town's pious isolation. In the view of its leading citizens, these troubles call for a scapegoat. And one readily exists: the Convent, an abandoned mansion not far from town--or, more precisely, the four women who occupy it, and whose unattached and unconventional status makes them the perfect targets for patriarchal ire. ("Before those heifers came to town," the men complain, "this was a peaceable kingdom.") One July morning, then, an armed posse sets out from Ruby for a round of ethical cleansing.

Paradise actually begins with the arrival of these vigilantes, only to launch into an intricate series of flashbacks and interlaced stories. The cast is large--indeed, it seems as though we must have met all 360 members of Ruby's populace--and Morrison knows how to imprint even the minor players on our brains. Even more amazing, though, are the full-length portraits she draws of the four Convent dwellers and their executioners: rich, rounded, and almost painful in their intimacy. This richness--of language and, ultimately, of human understanding--combats the aura of saintliness that can occasionally mar Morrison's fiction. It also makes for a spectacular piece of storytelling, in which such biblical concepts as redemption and divine love are no postmodern playthings but matters of life and (in the very first sentence, alas) death.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:23 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Four young women living in a convent near Ruby, Oklahoma, are viciously attacked in 1976 after residents become convinced the women are the source of the problems that have been sweeping the exclusively African-American community.

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