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Futhi Ntshingila

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Reading “A Mercy” by Toni Morrison

I am reading and trying to understand “A Mercy” by Toni Morrison. There seems to be layer after layer of meaning that is illusive in this narrative. It’s always the case with Morrison’s works of genious. I find myself reading ten pages and having to go back again to see if I missed something. Slavery without racism or is it is without? There is a Portugese trader who sells Angolans, a young slave girl’s hunger for love and approval, and a freed black blacksmith who confidently looks at Europeans in the eyes. It seems to me race still plays a large part although Morrison maintains a point of departure from race in this novel. It is a fascinating but complicated read. So far I like the character of Lina the most because she seems to be very clear when it comes to why she has chosen to stay out of the misery of belonging to some man. She did once but what she learnt was her own limits. She says: “I will walk behind. I will clean up after. I will not be thrashed. No” Perhaps when I finally get to the end of it, I will have gained some understanding. I should be done soon because after that I am keen to get to the “Lost Colours of the Chameleon”


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