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A Mercy
(OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen)

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Published:
Books on Tape 2008
Accelerated Reader:
IL: UG - BL: 6.1 - AR Pts: 7
Status:
Available from OverDrive

Description

A powerful tragedy distilled into a jewel of a masterpiece by the Nobel Prize—winning author of Beloved and, almost like a prelude to that story, set two centuries earlier.
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. These are all men and women inventing themselves in the wilderness.
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.

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Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
11/11/2008
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781415956823
Accelerated Reader:
UG
Level 6.1, 7 Points

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Toni Morrison. (2008). A Mercy. Unabridged Books on Tape.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Toni Morrison. 2008. A Mercy. Books on Tape.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Toni Morrison, A Mercy. Books on Tape, 2008.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Toni Morrison. A Mercy. Unabridged Books on Tape, 2008.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Shared Digital Collection32

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Grouped Work ID:
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Needs Update?:
No
Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:14:35
Date Updated:
Jun 12, 2018 15:14:35
Last Metadata Check:
Jun 16, 2024 03:25:17
Last Metadata Change:
Jun 14, 2024 23:57:49
Last Availability Check:
Jun 16, 2024 03:25:22
Last Availability Change:
Jun 14, 2024 23:57:52
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Jun 20, 2024 12:09:01

OverDrive Product Record

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      • bioText: Toni Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor of Humanities, Emerita, at Princeton University. She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1993 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She lives in Rockland County, New York, and Princeton, New Jersey.
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      • bioText: Toni Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor of Humanities, Emerita, at Princeton University. She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1993 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She lives in Rockland County, New York, and Princeton, New Jersey.
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title
A Mercy
fullDescription
A powerful tragedy distilled into a jewel of a masterpiece by the Nobel Prize—winning author of Beloved and, almost like a prelude to that story, set two centuries earlier.
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. These are all men and women inventing themselves in the wilderness.
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.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World
      • content:
        "Spellbinding . . . Dazzling . . . [A Mercy] stands alongside Beloved as a unique triumph in Morrison's body of work. The lush poetry and amorphous structure of [the novel] reflect the story's distant setting in the mist of America's creation, when independence and the three-fifths compromise of the Constitution were still a century away. . . . Morrison, who has written so powerfully of catastrophe, cruelty and horror, here adds to that song of tragedy equally thrilling chords of desire and wonder, which in their own way are no less tragic. Where Beloved ends with the cathartic exhaustion of an exorcism, A Mercy concludes with an ambiguous kind of prayer, redolent with possibility and yearning but inspired by despair. This rich little masterpiece is a welding of poetry and history and psychological acuity that you must not miss."
      • premium: False
      • source: Lev Grossman, Time
      • content: "
        "Luminous and complex . . . In Beloved, Morrison told the story of Sethe, a woman who murdered her own child rather than see her sold into slavery. Early on in A Mercy, we watch a mother do the opposite--she puts her daughter Florens up for sale . . . It's a less bloody moment, but in its way it's no less chilling. A Mercy is that daughter's tale. . . . Morrison is mooting the perversely hopeful possibility that slavery could have existed without racism or at least without racism as we know it. She lavishes some of her best writing in years on [A Mercy's] pre-Revolutionary world . . . A Mercy shows us America in the moment before race madness ruined it--it is a wounded land, but the wound has not yet turned septic. . . . In A Mercy, Morrison is urging her younger self, the tortured soul who fashioned the infernal vision that is Beloved, to look even further--beyond the veil of pain and anger, however righteous, to hope. There was a time before the present misery, Morrison seems to be telling herself. And therefore, maybe, there will be a time after it."
      • premium: False
      • source: Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times (London)
      • content: "Magnificent . . . As with all Morrison's finest work, A Mercy compellingly combines immediacy and obliquity. Its evocation of pioneer existence in America surrounds you with sensuous intensity. . . . An attack by a bear is described with thrilling power. . . . Idioms have potent directness, too. . . . Rich knowledgeability about 17th-century America is put to telling effect. Voices speak to you as if you were there. . . . The book keeps you vividly aware of the vital human individuality that racism's crude categorizations are brutally trying to iron out. . . . A stark story of the evils of possessiveness and the perils of dispossession emerges slantwise. Hints, suspicions, secrets, ambivalences, scarcely acknowledged motives and barely noticeable nuances serve as signposts to enormities and desperations: around slavery's large-scale uprootings, Morrison spotlights individual instances of loss (orphans and outcasts are, as often in her fiction, much in evidence; compensatory alliances they form are warmly portrayed). A Mercy is so enthralling that you'll want to read it more than once. On each occasion, it further reveals itself as a masterpiece of rewarding complexity."
      • premium: False
      • source: Renée Graham, Boston Sunday Globe
      • content: "In [A Mercy,] a mother chooses to give her daughter to a stranger, the man who will 'own' her, in hopes that she'll find a better life. It is this act from which the book derives its title, but it is, of course, an ambivalent gesture whose tragic resonance will be slowly unveiled. . . . Morrison here is seeking some deeper truth about what she once called 'the presence of the unfree within the heart of the democratic experiment.' Some regard this novel as a kind of prelude to Beloved, but the author has even more provocative ideas at play. . . . In writing about the horror of slavery, she finds a kind of ragged hope."
      • premium: False
      • source: Deirdre Donahue, USA Today
      • content: "[A Mercy] examines slavery through the prism of power, not race. Morrison achieves this by setting A Mercy in 1680s America, when slavery was
      • premium: True
      • source: AudioFile Magazine
      • content: It may come as no surprise that Toni Morrison is as thoughtful, dramatic, and poetic a reader as she is a writer. A MERCY reveals itself to the listener in small, significant stages, using imagery far more than simple narrative, and Morrison's deft reading is an integral part of keeping the listener rapt with attention. The story provides a glimpse into seventeenth-century America, when servitude took on a variety of forms, and slavery was present on a smaller, but still merciless, scale. Morrison moves within a distinctive set of characters, her voice somehow both powerful and understated. As her prose weaves vivid and sometimes abstract snapshots of the characters' lives, Morrison's performance is the velvet cord that beautifully fastens the audiobook together. L.B.F. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from September 15, 2008
        Nobel laureate Morrison returns more explicitly to the net of pain cast by slavery, a theme she detailed so memorably in Beloved
        . Set at the close of the 17th century, the book details America’s untoward foundation: dominion over Native Americans, indentured workers, women and slaves. A slave at a plantation in Maryland offers up her daughter, Florens, to a relatively humane Northern farmer, Jacob, as debt payment from their owner. The ripples of this choice spread to the inhabitants of Jacob’s farm, populated by women with intersecting and conflicting desires. Jacob’s wife, Rebekka, struggles with her faith as she loses one child after another to the harsh New World. A Native servant, Lina, survivor of a smallpox outbreak, craves Florens’s love to replace the family taken from her, and distrusts the other servant, a peculiar girl named Sorrow. When Jacob falls ill, all these women are threatened. Morrison’s lyricism infuses the shifting voices of her characters as they describe a brutal society being forged in the wilderness. Morrison’s unflinching narrative is all the more powerful for its relative brevity; it takes hold of the reader and doesn’t let go until the wrenching final-page crescendo.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from December 22, 2008
        Some authors make mediocre readers, but Nobel Prize–winning Toni Morrison is certainly not among them. Her husky voice, lyrical rhythms and precise timing—especially of pauses within sentences or even phrases—give clarity and poignancy to her vivid metaphors and elegant prose. Set in the 1680s, this story tells of multiple forms of love and of slavery. Florens is a slave girl whose mother urges her sale to Jacob, a decent man, to save her from a rapist master. Florens feels abandoned and is finally betrayed by the lover she worships. Morrison holds the listener completely in thrall through her narrative, her characters, her language and her own fine reading. An enlightening interview with the author appears at the end. A Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 15).

popularity
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shortDescription
A powerful tragedy distilled into a jewel of a masterpiece by the Nobel Prize—winning author of Beloved and, almost like a prelude to that story, set two centuries earlier.
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...
sortTitle
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awards
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • value: Listen Up Award
      • source: The New York Times
      • value: 10 Best Books of 2008
      • source: Notable Books Council
      • value: Notable Books for Adults
      • source: The New York Times
      • value: The New York Times Best Seller List
publisher
Books on Tape
bisacCodes
      • code: FIC019000
      • description: Fiction / Literary
      • code: FIC043000
      • description: Fiction / Coming of Age
      • code: FIC049000
      • description: Fiction / African American & Black / General