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Tar Baby Paperback – Oct 1 1993


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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: New Amer Library (Mm) (October 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451182383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451182388
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,028,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.7 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on July 14 2004
Format: Hardcover
Very Long and didn't like the ending but other than that it was okay- don't regret reading it
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Format: Paperback
OK, I didn't understand all of this novel, but I liked it. Being a 46 year old while male I probably never will undestand it all. How ever, I can report that the character studies of Valerian Street and his wife ("The principal beauty of Maine") are some of the most devistatingly accurate upper class character studies I've ever read, and very funny in a vitriolic way. This is my introduction to Toni Morrison, and I plan to read more.
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Format: Paperback
In reading Toni Morrison's striking novel Tar Baby, I came to characterize Jadine as a cultural orphan. The two often times conflicting worlds of white and black juxtapose along the lines of social, cultural and political demarcation. In the midst of such duality exists the character of Jadine, who symbolizes a contemporaneous example of the black female in a post-Civil Rights moment. Jadine is a woman who is educated, elevated and moneyed and in sharp contrast to the perceived notions of what it means to be black and female in a time of vast social and political change.
Jadine is a woman trying to escape the stigma associated with her class position. Her family has money, but finds it hard to truly identify with them. She has no allegiance to African-American cities; she had received an education at the Sorbonne and was afforded the kind of lifestyle that is alien to many African-American women of her time. Jadine finds herself torn between the black world and the white world, fitting into neither. She equates her position as a black female in the culture through two dogs copulating in a street in Baltimore, Maryland. She is in a working-class situation and does not enjoy it - especially since she witnessed the "other side of the tracks," figuratively speaking, and saw life through the rose-colored lenses of the white world.
Jadine is part of a new generation - one that did not grow up in a segregated society. The culture she is in and the lifestyle she inherited is predominately white - her upbringing, her education and her outlook.
African-American culture is a hybrid culture, leading one to wonder why Jadine would be viewed as a cultural orphan, but there are political reasons, which determine why we rally under the flag of race or gender or sexual preference, etc.
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By Omni on Nov. 1 2002
Format: Paperback
Name the big Black romance novels. I dare you. Name them all. Ok, five, name five romance novels centralized around Black characters, in love, loving, making love, living well, being well that doesn't have four women as successful best friends?
Go ahead, I'll wait.
Toni Morrison is not easy. Do not mistake her ever for easy, do not mistake her subject matters for simple to pierce or to understand. I agree with the previous reviewer, people expect books to be like TV. And they aren't. Good books anyway. Books that are literature. This book is literature.
Hopefully more will come along, more romance that mean something, that say something about culture, about color, about power and the abuses.
Son is all of the projected racial fears and Jadine is the homogenized Black America wants Black people to be/to become. Grateful and still on some level serving in the kitchen (Sydney and his wife). Black people are required to be so much within this world, this America. Savage, erudite, butler, maid/cook and yet all of the characters here in the book, that are White, are one form (rich) here. White is a decision to be, to be a thing, rich, poor, bohemian, angry, depressed, rebllious, vane, but all that is shiftable, malleable. Black however is static from White perception and being Black from the inside out? That's birth from a dead womb.
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Format: Paperback
_Tar Baby_ tells of the relationships of a wealthy white couple, Valerian and his wife, Margaret, and a black couple, Sydney and Onadine, who have been their servants for many years. The setting is a manor on an island in the Caribbean. One of the subplots concerns Margaret's tortured relationship with her estranged son, Michael. Onadine shares a terrible secret with Margaret concerning the son.
Adding to the novel's complexity is the black couple's beautiful niece, Jadine, who lives with them and who has received an education at the Sorbonne, paid for in entirety by Valerian. Jadine finds herself torn between the black world and the white world, fitting into neither. To further complicate matters, Jadine later falls in love with a handsome black man who is called "Son," among other names, who has hidden himself in one of Margaret's closets after jumping ship. He is also on the lam due to his previous commission of a foolish crime of passion. Realizing her potential, Jadine is frightened of being trapped, like the limited, poorly educated, dirt poor women whom she meets while on an extended visit to Son's friends and family in Florida. Jadine is suffocating in this atmosphere, and is particularly haunted at night by obesssive thoughts of the women. To Jadine, Son will always remain their "son," an ignorant and irresponsible child, without any direction in life.
This deliciously complex novel of race, family, and above all, human relations, could only have been done justice by writer of the caliber and sensitivity of a Toni Morrison. Ms. Morrison, an African-American and a woman, is able to find the nuances and subtleties inherent in the black experience that someone else would have difficulty understanding. _Tar Baby_ is a triumph in every way.
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