Michael Ondaatje at the NYRB:
When has a voice been this intimate, and versatile? Affectionate, far-reaching, self-aware, and also severe, dismissive of fools?
There’s this range in the manner of Toni Morrison’s voice. She is always full of swerves—from humor, to anger, to music. We see all that in the narrator of Jazz who holds this remarkable novel together.
“I like the feeling of a told story,” Morrison has said, “where you can hear a voice but you can’t identify it. It’s a comfortable, guiding voice, alarmed by the same things that the reader is alarmed by, and it doesn’t know what’s going to happen either… To have the reader work with the author in the construction of the book—is what’s important.”
We are always participating when we read Toni Morrison. During a quiet lull, the Narrator will remember—“And another damn thing.”