“They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time.”
So begins Toni Morrison's Paradise, which opens with a horrifying scene of
mass violence and chronicles its genesis in an all-black small town in
rural Oklahoma. Founded by the descendants of freed slaves and survivors in
exodus from a hostile world, the patriarchal community of Ruby is built on
righteousness, rigidly enforced moral law, and fear. But seventeen miles
away, another group of exiles has gathered in a promised land of their own.
And it is upon these women in flight from death and despair that nine male
citizens of Ruby will lay their pain, their terror, and their murderous
rage. In prose that soars with the rhythms, grandeur, and tragic arc of an
epic poem, Toni Morrison challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she
weaves folklore and history, memory and myth into an unforgettable
meditation on race, religion, gender, and a far-off past that is ever

Toni Morrison—Paradise

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