For my first foray into the dark world of previous Orange long-listed titles* I chose a book by Toni Morrison, Love, which was longlisted in 2004. One of my great bookish friends, Claire from Paperback Reader, has long extolled Toni Morrison to me, and I know that her copy of Love is one of her most prized possessions, so looking along the Toni Morrison shelf at the library, it wasn't too difficult to pick this one out. I wasn't disappointed.
Love is the multilayered tale dealing with an assortment of women who are all involved in some way with a man called Bill Cosey, a now deceased hotel owner. They include his cook, L, his second wife, Heed, his grandaughter Christine (who is older than Heed!), Vida and Sandler who are former employees, and Junior, a girl from out of town who has not been around Cosey for as long as the others. The story centres mainly on Heed and Christine, who live together in Cosey's house but have a difficult relationship, which is understandable when it is revealed halfway through the book that Christine is Cosey's grandaughter, and was Heed's best friend at school until Cosey married her aged 11. By telling the tales of the characters through the myriad of different voices, we build up a picture of the women and their relationships and Morrison draws out insights into the intricacies of love and friendship.
I found myself mesmerised by her writing and insight into this black community, and was puzzled and intrigued by reviews on Amazon and librarything.com which suggested that this wasn't one of her best novels! A mercy and Paradise were also long and shortlisted for the Orange prize and I shall certainly be including them in this reading project.
* I should mention a little bit about my methodology of the Orange Wednesday's project; unlike my Virago Venture, I am not planning to read ALL of the titles that have appeared on previous longlists, merely to use them as inspiration for my reading over the coming months. I'm going on the basis of recommendations, interesting sounding titles and looking up synopses on Amazon and library thing. I should make a list perhaps, but please do help me out by recommending your favourites (the original list can be found here)
I love books, baking and my boyfriend, and love to write about the first two. I particular love "forgotten" books, books brought out of obscurity by republication and those still languishing in obscurity. I'm currently reading my way through all of the Virago Modern Classics, but taking in other books along the way.