By Toni Morrison
Random House Large Print, (2008)
ISBN-10: 0739326309 ISBN-13: 978-0739326305
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - April 1, 2010
This 1993 Noble Prize winning author's novel tell the terrible torrid tales of people, white, black and brown, Roman Catholics and Protestants of various warring faiths living – or, perhaps more precisely, trying to exist – during the 1680s in British controlled Roman Catholic Maryland. There is the Anglo-Dutch trader who tries unsuccessfully to be a famer, who brings a previously-unseen girl from England to be his wife and help him farm his land, a woman, who like him, knows nothing about farming. There is an Indian girl, a sole-survivor of a plague-infected village, raised by religious people who are disappointed that she does not accept their faith, so they sell her into slavery. There is a young girl sold by her impoverished owner to the trader as payment for his debt, even though the trader had wanted her mother, but the mother begged him to take her daughter instead. There is the black blacksmith who the young girl loves. And there are other people, intolerance, lack of respect, sickness, and death.
Morrison's alternates her chapters allowing them to offer us each of her character's idiosyncratic voice and pathetic, unmanageable concerns.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.