Return of the visionary

From The Guardian:

A Mercy by Toni Morrison reviewed by Tim Adams

Toni460x276_2 Since winning the Nobel Prize in 1993, Morrison has, not altogether reluctantly, taken on the voice of America’s conscience. After the marvels of empathy that were Beloved and, to a lesser extent, Jazz, that public voice has grown – she has sometimes seemed a spokeswoman rather than a writer – and the voice of her novels has become sparer. In this book, a good deal of Morrison’s stark, almost biblical imaginative power is on display, without all of her former detailing energy. Nathaniel Hawthorne has become her model in some ways; like him, she is capable of creating fictional environments in which everything can come to seem symbolic. Portentous is not always a comfortable tone, but in the coming American weeks it may well be the appropriate one. The first line of A Mercy? ‘Don’t be afraid.’

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