The sticker on the cover of my copy “Buy 1 get 1 1/2 Price” is rather inappropriate as the book touches on slavery, prostitution and child sexual abuse, and we see on the cover two young African-American girls.
Having recently read one book by a Nobel Prize laureate (Sholokov), it is an interesting coincidence to be reading a book by another. This time I don’t need a translation, although I do need to pay close attention to the tale woven by Toni Morrison. Professor Morrison is a gifted storyteller and she conjures up some complex damaged characters who interact with each other with difficulty. The two on the cover, I imagine as two of the central characters Heed and Christine, whose childhood friendship is torn apart when Christine’s grandfather, Bill Cosey marries the 11 year old Heed. Bill Cosey is a larger than life character running a resort. The novel spans generations, the timeline flits around and demands close attention to work out who, what and when.
The novel starts with Junior, a young woman fresh out of correctional, entering the faded hotel to apply for a post as the ageing Heed’s secretary to help her write her memoirs. We meet Christine cooking Heed a gourmet dish of Crayfish, knowing Heed hates seafood. The the book focuses on the love between these two childhood friends, who are made to hate one another by the very adults whose guidance and affection they needed to survive.
It’s a story that requires patience; that doesn’t judge, but rather asks you to watch, wait, and learn empathy by understanding the history of each character.
My rating : 4 out of 5