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Toni Morrison Returns With “God Help The Child,” Remains Wickedly Entertaining

toni morrison god help the childAt 84, Toni Morrison is full of reflection on her successes and incidents where she might request a do-over.   

“It’s not profound regret,” she told NPR’s Terry Gross. “It’s just a wiping up of tiny little messes that you didn’t recognize as mess when they were going on.”

Morrison’s press tour for her eleventh novel, God Help the Child, has been full of little fascinating admissions like this. (My favorite parts of the recent lengthy New York Times profile are the quick revelations that Morrison has never once worn jeans and that she considers sleeping on ironed sheets one of life’s greatest luxuries.)
 
Her vulnerability is heightened during the NPR interview as she riffs on the pains and shifts that accompany older adulthood. As she has aged, her circle has become smaller; as a result, “there is this boredom or the absence of something to do.” 
 
But the conversations all lead back to her novel, a haunting tale of childhood traumas sans redress. Bride, the main character in God Help the Child, is a dark-skinned cosmetics executive struggling with the weight of rejection that has plagued her entire life. In her review for Newsday, Anisfield-Wolf manager Karen Long calls the novel “hypnotic” and praises Morrison for her vivid language and pacing: “Morrison has a Shakespearean sense of tragedy, and that gift imbues “God Help the Child.”
 
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