- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452253268
- ISBN-13: 978-0452253261
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 249 g
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,401,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Morrison Toni : Tar Baby Paperback – 1982
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“Deeply perceptive. . . . Return[s] risk and mischief to the contemporary American novel.” —John Irving, The New York Times Book Review
“Toni Morrison has made herself into the D. H. Lawrence of the black psyche, transforming individuals into forces, idiosyncrasy into inevitability.” —New York
“Arresting images, fierce intelligence, poetic language . . . One becomes entranced by Toni Morrison’s story.” —The Washington Post
“Wrenchingly good. A terrific book.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Hypnotic, stunningly alive.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune
“That rare commodity, a truly public novel. . . . Morrison’s genius lies in her uncanny ability to immerse you totally in the world she creates.” —Newsweek
“Powerful. . . . A stunning performance. . . . Morrison is one of the most exciting living American writers.” —Kansas City Star
“It takes one to the sheer edge of human relationships.” —Vogue
“Wise, beautiful, astonishing, absolutely breathtaking.” —St. Louis Globe-Democrat
“Reminds us again that Toni Morrison is one of the finest writers in America today.” —Louisville Courier-Journal
“Tar Baby is stupendous. Morrison is a writer of amazing skill.” —Roanoke Times & World
“Its scope is grand and the interplay complex. But Morrison has the control of a skilled choreographer, with a careful eye pinned on pacing, suspense, grace, and frenzy. . . . She has an awesome lyric flair.” —The Charlotte Observer
From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
The author of Song of Solomon now sets her extraordinary novelistic powers on a striking new course. Tar Baby, audacious and hypnotic, is masterful in its mingling of tones--of longing and alarm, of urbanity and a primal, mythic force in which the landscape itself becomes animate, alive with a wild, dark complicity in the fates of the people whose drama unfolds. It is a novel suffused with a tense and passionate inquiry, revealing a whole spectrum of emotions underlying the relationships between black men and women, white men and women, and black and white people.
The place is a Caribbean island. In their mansion overlooking the sea, the cultivated millionaire Valerian Street, now retired, and his pretty, younger wife, Margaret, go through rituals of living, as if in a trance. It is the black servant couple, who have been with the Streets for years--the fastidious butler, Sydney, and his strong yet remote wife--who have arranged every detail of existence to create a surface calm broken only by sudden bursts of verbal sparring between Valerian and his wife. And there is a visitor among them--a beautiful young black woman, Jadine, who is not only the servant's dazzling niece, but the protegee and friend of the Streets themselves; Jadine, who has been educated at the Sorbonne at Valerian's expense and is home now for a respite from her Paris world of fashion, film and art.
Through a season of untroubled ease, the lives of these five move with a ritualized grace until, one night, a ragged, starving black American street man breaks into the house. And, in a single moment, with Valerian's perverse decision not to call for help but instead to invite the man to sit with them and eat, everything changes. Valerian moves toward a larger abdication. Margaret's delicate and enduring deception is shattered. The butler and his wife are forced into acknowledging their illusions. And Jadine, who at first is repelled by the intruder, finds herself moving inexorably toward him--he calls himself Son; he is a kind of black man she has dreaded since childhood; uneducated, violent, contemptuous of her privilege.
As Jadine and Son come together in the loving collision they have both welcomed and feared, the novel moves outward--to the Florida backwater town Son was raised in, fled from, yet cherishes; to "her sleek New York; then back to the island people and their protective and entangling legends. As the lovers strive to hold and understand each other, as they experience the awful weight of the separate worlds that have formed them--she perceiving his vision of reality and of love as inimical to her freedom, he perceiving her as the classic lure, the tar baby set out to entrap him--all the mysterious elements, all the highly charged threads of the story converge. Everything that is at risk is made clear: how the conflicts and dramas wrought by social and cultural circumstances must ultimately be played out in the realm of the heart.
Once again, Toni Morrison has given us a novel of daring, fascination, and power. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The book is not an easy read. This is not reading the daily paper. Just like anything in life, what is worthwhile takes focus and time. I can whip through the works of Crichton and Grisham in a month and still would not get the knowledge and perspective that Tar Baby or almost any Morrison novel can offer. If you want a light, airy read never take on the challenges of Morrison. If you want literature that has weight and an array of beautiful images and philosophies then Tar Baby! is worth the effort of resisting the quick read and delving into this text.
The dynamics of the relationships between the members of the household keep you wondering from one moment to the next what will occur.
Margaret and Jade had a good relationship with their Aunt Ondine, but as the relationship between Margaret and Valerian continues, their relationship begins to decline. Sydney, Ondine's husband and his employer, Mr. Street get along very well. Sydney is very grateful for all the advantages that he has been given by Valerian.
Margaret who has befriended Jade, is less than emotionally stable. On several occasions Margaret has had episodes where she cannot remember how to do the most simple of tasks. She is also obsessed with an upcoming Christmas visit from her estranged son.
When a young black man is found hiding in the closet of Margaret Street, the whole mansion is thrown into chaos. The man is ragged and unclean. Margaret enters the dining room screaming about an intruder in her closet. Valerian, who sometimes tends to give little credence to his wife, ignores her. Sydney responds to the situation and goes to Margaret's aid. He brings the intruder to the dining room at gun point, where he is invited to join the dinner gathering by Valerian. This is Valerian's way of getting back at Margaret for her obsession with their estranged son.
The entire situation explodes and things are said by all members of the household and it is disclosed by Ondine that Margaret had physically abused her son when he was a child and that is the reason for her obsession with him, as well as her unstable emotional state.
To make matters even worse, Jade is attracted to this dangerous stranger and they run off together. She sees in him the side of her black heritage that she is out of touch with because of her success.
Throughout the entire book, you are treated to poetic, symbolic and descriptive writing by, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Toni Morrison. She explores the relationship of a black man true to his black heritage and a young woman who is molded by the white culture that has made her who she is.
The story explores relationships between blacks and whites, as well as the relationships between black people who have been given very different opportunities in life. It also examines how successful black people treat those less fortunate of their race.
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Most recent customer reviews
I found this book slow untill the middle and end. it wasnt as good as SULA, but it was laright. It is a story about love, abuse, and rascism.Read more
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