Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Orange Wednesday: Paradise (Morrison)
My first Orange Wednesday choice back in April was Love by Toni Morrison, and having enjoyed it so much I was keen to seek out her other title from the list - Paradise. Fiona from Vintage Books very kindly sent me a copy to read.
Paradise is a commanding piece of literature in terms of structure, story, themes and the writing. It tells the story of a black town called Ruby, Oklahoma, the only black town in the state which was founded in the 1940s. But the attempt to make a life following the emergence from slavery was not as easy as it seemed on the surface. When the town begins to suffer internal divisions, a cause is sought, and found in "The convent", a group of four women who live nearby to the town. The story is cleverly told through eight chapters, each with a woman's name (although not necessarily about that woman), and each chapter builds up another layer of the story.
It required a lot of attention to read this book as there was so much going on and to take in - it was really necessary to engage with it, but it did repay the effort. For that reason I didn't enjoy it quite so much as Love but I would certainly recommend it to all those interested in reading great women's writers.