In the 1680s the slave trade was still in its infancy. In the Americas, virulent religious and class divisions, prejudice and oppression were rife, providing the fertile soil in which slavery and race hatred were planted and took root.
Jacob 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, “with the hands of a slave and the feet of a Portuguese lady.” Florens looks for love, first from Lina, an older servant woman at her new master’s house, but later from a handsome blacksmith, an African, never enslaved.
There are other voices: Lina, whose tribe was decimated by smallpox; their mistress, Rebekka, herself a victim of religious intolerance back in England; Sorrow, a strange girl who’s spent her early years at sea; and finally the devastating voice of Florens’ mother.
A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and of a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.
Acts of mercy may have unforeseen consequences.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Just Read the book...
I'm sure its a good book. I just can't completley grasp Toni's voice in this one...Made it hard to understand which characters were talking....I'm going out to buy the book. I've listened to it twice already and each time, I have to recount what happened after I listened to understand it...
Toni Morrison does it again...
I was almost breathless when I heard that this book was on the shelves! And it lives up to the high expectations I have of TM, my favorite author. It is so deep and rich, layered ever so delicately. Her non-linear prose is as fascinatingly written as can be...sometimes I truly wonder how she comes up with these ideas. And I held my breath throughout the final chapter, until it absolutely broke my heart with the final words. Amazing!!!
Wonderful as either an introduction or a great pleasure for fans
Beautifully told from multiple points of view, it introduces new layers to the early history of indentured servitude and enslavement in the Americas. Every character is wonderfully developed, even if you only meet them briefly. The attention to research is evident. It's captivating and so compelling that I'll certainly listen to it again. I typically listen to books before bed and not one time did I fall while listening to this one.