Customer Reviews for

A Mercy

Average Rating 3.5
( 101 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(12)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

32 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

A gripping novel written in elegant prose

In this short, lyrical and gripping novel, Tony Morrison has undertaken, once again, to explore her favorite subject: the evils of slavery. Written in prose so lovely and mesmerizing that it reminded me of her ¿Sula¿, also a short novel published thirty-five years ago, ...
In this short, lyrical and gripping novel, Tony Morrison has undertaken, once again, to explore her favorite subject: the evils of slavery. Written in prose so lovely and mesmerizing that it reminded me of her ¿Sula¿, also a short novel published thirty-five years ago, ¿A Mercy¿ was a great joy to read.

Jacob Vaark, a Dutch-born farmer and trader, and Rebecca, his English wife own a tobacco plantation. Even though Jacob owned a few slaves, he did so only as a necessity to run his homestead. Jacob is sympathetic towards orphans and waifs because he himself was parentless at a young age, and had to fend for himself on the streets running small errands.

At the heart of the novel is an act of mercy. When Jacob Vaark travels to Maryland to collect debt from a tobacco plantaion owner named Senor D¿Ortega, he finds out that Senor is broke and has no money to pay off the debt. Senor offers Jacob a thin black girl named Florens, a daughter of one of his slaves, as a partial payment of the debt. Florens is smart, and she can read and write also. Florens¿ mother senses that Jacob is more kind-hearted than her master, and so pleads with Senor to give Florens to Jacob. Her hope is that Florens would have a better life in Jacob¿s estate. Florens¿s mother considers this an act of mercy, but the irony is that Florence considers it abandonment.

Several sympathetic characters make the novel interesting and hold a reader¿s attention. Lina (Messalina), a native American, was sold to Jacob by the Presbytarians who had rescued and saved her. Sorrow, a sea captain¿s daughter, survives a ship wreck, but ends up in Jacob¿s plantation as a slave. Willard and Scully are indentured servants who are sent to work at Jacob¿s plantation by their contract holders. A young black man, a blacksmith, arrives to make an iron gate for Jacob¿s new house. He is not a slave, but a free man. This man is also knowledgeable about medicinal herbs, and Florens falls in love with him.

In this novel, Toni Morrison¿s prose shines: ¿A frightened, long-necked child who did not speak for weeks but when she did, her light, singsong voice was lovely to hear. Some how, some way, the child assuaged the tiny yet eternal yearning for the home Lina once knew, where everyone had anything, and no one had everything.¿
Reading this novel was an intense, deeply moving, and satisfying experience. Even though the novel is short, it is bright, deep and weighty.

posted by Yesh_Prabhu_Writer on November 16, 2008

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Read through this book today...

I read a chapter in the bookstore and decided not to purchase. Toni Morrison has a strange way of writing. Some people love her style and some don't. I do not particularly like her writing style. I found this book to be BORING.

posted by tippiJN on December 6, 2008

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2
  • Posted February 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Lord Have Mercy

    Toni Morrison explores race through deconstructing (unpacking) the social construction of whiteness. Finally, a book that explores whiteness and put it on trial. This book does not treat whiteness (i.e. Western) traits as "human" traits! It treats white as a color and whiteness as a human construct, not a divine one. The book has several voices-- layered voices that tell a story of identity from individual perspectives. The white characters in the book reveal the solidifying of whiteness through religion, class, community, and gender. Taking place in the wilderness of North America, this book explores how whites came to accept oppression found in a racial caste system. The black characters show how blacks lived in three worlds--one they authored, one they observed, and the one they owned. In self-constructed worlds, they experienced humanity--love and its sacrifices. The Indian character learns to reconcile her memories to find a place in a world that reduced her to a savage. Her self-constructed identity buffered her from the dehumanizing white-authored evironment in which she lived. Lastly, a split human soul found solace in giving life and focusing on that life reminds us all love shared is the best gift to give to another human. "A Mercy" tells the story about how different folks function in the same space, yet have different understandings of that space. While Morrison does a good job at exploring the genesis of racialized identities, at times, a comma here and there would have made this book more enjoyable to read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    KP-Texas

    Excellant. That is all that needs to be said. Enjoy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    She is so good with words.

    Slavery is always a dark and brutal subject, but even in the worst moments Morrison has the talent to include a gorgeously written gem of a sentence.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Difficult Read, but A Good Read

    The first chapter had to be re-read 3 times before I was able to move on. Toni Morrison is known for her writing and I think this is one of her most difficult.

    I enjoy her books, but I have to fully re-read this one to give a thorough critique. What I can honestly say is that I lost the story line of the different characters throughout the book that I had to go back to re-read a whole chapter so I can see who she was referring to.

    Overall, at this point, I did enjoy the book. I am looking forward to reading it again. This time with a better grip on her style in this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The early slave trade provides Morrison with an excellent platform to delve into human relationships and themes in unpredictible ways that magnify the complexities of our interactions while exaulting the simplicity of raw emotion at the same time.

    This was not the easiest book to read, but I was drawn in from the start. Toni Morrison imbues her characters with attributes, such as a little girls love of shoes, that immediately draw us in. Her ability to invoke all of our senses drops us right into a transatlantic ocean voyage or an intensly foggy swamp. I loved taking this journey, even though some of the time I wasn't sure I was actually getting it. (Although, I must say that when I heard Toni Morrison read it aloud, I couldn't understand what it was that I found so difficult to understand.)

    Toni Morrison's juxtaposition of each of the characters strengths with their weaknesses mimics our lives. Jacob, the Anglo-Dutch trader is both nobel and flawed. Our heart goes out to Florens, the little slave girl who endures these amazing journeys yet is somehow fragile and never able to reconcile her quests for love. Rebekka, Jacob's wife, of hearty stock, overcoming an difficult upbringing, yet unable to handle the death of her children.

    It's almost like slavery was just a backdrop; but the complexities of being owned by another shifts the dynamics of the characters relationships in ways we might not expect. A friend of mine loved the exploration of women's relationships. Definitely worth reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 23, 2009

    Great read.

    As usual, Toni Morrison does not disappoint.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2