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A Mercy (Anglais) Poche – 3 mars 2016

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Descriptions du produit


Don't be afraid. My telling can't hurt you in spite of what I have done and I promise to lie quietly in the dark — weeping perhaps or occasionally seeing the blood once more — but I will never again unfold my limbs to rise up and bare teeth. I explain. You can think what I tell you a confession, if you like, but one full of curiosities familiar only in dreams and during those moments when a dog's profile plays in the steam of a kettle. Or when a corn-husk doll sitting on a shelf is soon splaying in the corner of a room and the wicked of how it got there is plain. Stranger things happen all the time everywhere. You know. I know you know. One question is who is responsible? Another is can you read? If a pea hen refuses to brood I read it quickly and, sure enough, that night I see a minha mãe standing hand in hand with her little boy, my shoes jamming the pocket of her apron. Other signs need more time to understand. Often there are too many signs, or a bright omen clouds up too fast. I sort them and try to recall, yet I know I am missing much, like not reading the garden snake crawling up to the door saddle to die. Let me start with what I know for certain.

The beginning begins with the shoes. When a child I am never able to abide being barefoot and always beg for shoes, anybody's shoes, even on the hottest days. My mother, a minha mãe, is frowning, is angry at what she says are my prettify ways. Only bad women wear high heels. I am dangerous, she says, and wild but she relents and lets me wear the throwaway shoes from Senhora's house, pointy-toe, one raised heel broke, the other worn and a buckle on top. As a result, Lina says, my feet are useless, will always be too tender for life and never have the strong soles, tougher than leather, that life requires. Lina is correct. Florens, she says, it's 1690. Who else these days has the hands of a slave and the feet of a Portuguese lady? So when I set out to find you, she and Mistress give me Sir's boots that fit a man not a girl. They stuff them with hay and oily corn husks and tell me to hide the letter inside my stocking — no matter the itch of the sealing wax. I am lettered but I do not read what Mistress writes and Lina and Sorrow cannot. But I know what it means to say to any who stop me.

My head is light with the confusion of two things, hunger for you and scare if I am lost. Nothing frights me more than this errand and nothing is more temptation. From the day you disappear I dream and plot. To learn where you are and how to be there. I want to run across the trail through the beech and white pine but I am asking myself which way? Who will tell me? Who lives in the wilderness between this farm and you and will they help me or harm me? What about the boneless bears in the valley? Remember? How when they move their pelts sway as though there is nothing underneath? Their smell belying their beauty, their eyes knowing us from when we are beasts also. You telling me that is why it is fatal to look them in the eye. They will approach, run to us to love and play which we misread and give back fear and anger. Giant birds also are nesting out there bigger than cows, Lina says, and not all natives are like her, she says, so watch out. A praying savage, neighbors call her, because she is once churchgoing yet she bathes herself every day and Christians never do. Underneath she wears bright blue beads and dances in secret at first light when the moon is small. More than fear of loving bears or birds bigger than cows, I fear pathless night. How, I wonder, can I find you in the dark? Now at last there is a way. I have orders. It is arranged. I will see your mouth and trail my fingers down. You will rest your chin in my hair again while I breathe into your shoulder in and out, in and out. I am happy the world is breaking open for us, yet its newness trembles me. To get to you I must leave the only home, the only people I know. Lina says from the state of my teeth I am maybe seven or eight when I am brought here. We boil wild plums for jam and cake eight times since then, so I must be sixteen. Before this place I spend my days picking okra and sweeping tobacco sheds, my nights on the floor of the cookhouse with a minha mãe. We are baptized and can have happiness when this life is done. The Reverend Father tells us that. Once every seven days we learn to read and write. We are forbidden to leave the place so the four of us hide near the marsh. My mother, me, her little boy and Reverend Father. He is forbidden to do this but he teaches us anyway watching out for wicked Virginians and Protestants who want to catch him. If they do he will be in prison or pay money or both. He has two books and a slate. We have sticks to draw through sand, pebbles to shape words on smooth flat rock. When the letters are memory we make whole words. I am faster than my mother and her baby boy is no good at all. Very quickly I can write from memory the Nicene Creed including all of the commas. Confession we tell not write as I am doing now. I forget almost all of it until now. I like talk. Lina talk, stone talk, even Sorrow talk. Best of all is your talk. At first when I am brought here I don't talk any word. All of what I hear is different from what words mean to a minha mãe and me. Lina's words say nothing I know. Nor Mistress's. Slowly a little talk is in my mouth and not on stone. Lina says the place of my talking on stone is Mary's Land where Sir does business. So that is where my mother and her baby boy are buried. Or will be if they ever decide to rest. Sleeping on the cookhouse floor with them is not as nice as sleeping in the broken sleigh with Lina. In cold weather we put planks around our part of the cowshed and wrap our arms together under pelts. We don't smell the cow flops because they are frozen and we are deep under fur. In summer if our hammocks are hit by mosquitoes Lina makes a cool place to sleep out of branches. You never like a hammock and prefer the ground even in rain when Sir offers you the storehouse. Sorrow no more sleeps near the fireplace. The men helping you, Will and Scully, never live the night here because their master does not allow it. You remember them, how they would not take orders from you until Sir makes them? He could do that since they are exchange for land under lease from Sir. Lina says Sir has a clever way of getting without giving. I know it is true because I see it forever and ever. Me watching, my mother listening, her baby boy on her hip. Senhor is not paying the whole amount he owes to Sir. Sir saying he will take instead the woman and the girl, not the baby boy and the debt is gone. A minha mãe begs no. Her baby boy is still at her breast. Take the girl, she says, my daughter, she says. Me. Me. Sir agrees and changes the balance due. As soon as tobacco leaf is hanging to dry Reverend Father takes me on a ferry, then a ketch, then a boat and bundles me between his boxes of books and food. The second day it becomes hurting cold and I am happy I have a cloak however thin. Reverend Father excuses himself to go elsewhere on the boat and tells me to stay exact where I am. A woman comes to me and says stand up. I do and she takes my cloak from my shoulders. Then my wooden shoes. She walks away. Reverend Father turns a pale red color when he returns and learns what happens. He rushes all about asking where and who but can find no answer. Finally he takes rags, strips of sailcloth lying about and wraps my feet. Now I am knowing that unlike with Senhor, priests are unlove here. A sailor spits into the sea when Reverend Father asks him for help. Reverend Father is the only kind man I ever see. When I arrive here I believe it is the place he warns against. The freezing in hell that comes before the everlasting fire where sinners bubble and singe forever. But the ice comes first, he says. And when I see knives of it hanging from the houses and trees and feel the white air burn my face I am certain the fire is coming. Then Lina smiles when she looks at me and wraps me for warmth. Mistress looks away. Nor is Sorrow happy to see me. She flaps her hand in front of her face as though bees are bothering her. She is ever strange and Lina says she is once more with child. Father still not clear and Sorrow does not say. Will and Scully laugh and deny. Lina believes it is Sir's. Says she has her reason for thinking so. When I ask what reason she says he is a man. Mistress says nothing. Neither do I. But I have a worry. Not because our work is more, but because mothers nursing greedy babies scare me. I know how their eyes go when they choose. How they raise them to look at me hard, saying something I cannot hear. Saying something important to me, but holding the little boy's hand. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .

Revue de presse

"Toni Morrison makes me believe in God. She makes me believe in a divine being, because luck and genetics don't seem to come close to explaining her" (Guardian)

"Ms. Morrison's versatility and technical and emotional range appear to know no bounds" (Margaret Atwood New York Times)

"So enthralling that you'll want to read it more than once" (Sunday Times)

"Left me trembling at the sheer brilliance of its storytelling and the unassailable dignity of its purpose" (Evening Standard)

"An enduring, evocative read which carefully weaves fragmented, personal experiences into a layered, ambivalent narrative about slavery and the price of freedom" (Irish Times)

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Détails sur le produit

  • Poche: 176 pages
  • Editeur : Vintage (4 juin 2009)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0099502542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099502548
  • Dimensions du produit: 12,9 x 1,2 x 19,8 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.7 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 34.562 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles

6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Jean-louis Venard le 2 août 2009
Format: Poche
Magnifique mais diffiçile. L'anglais est souvent inhabituel mais superbe. L'histoire qui sert de support au roman est attachante et les personnages deviennent peu à peu très vivants. On referme lz livre avec regret
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Amazon Customer le 22 août 2009
Format: Poche
on retrouve les thèmes forts et chers à l'univers de Toni Morrison (l'esclavage, la filiation etc) mais malheureusement cela ressemble beaucoup à ce qui a déjà été écrit sur le sujet et même le jeu narratif (alternance de voix) semble convenu. Pas son meilleur livre, mais pas inintéressant bien sûr.
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4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Ann Creelman le 6 août 2009
Format: Poche
There is beauty in this unforgiving portrait of the 17th century colonies, not yet the United States.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 254 commentaires
73 internautes sur 77 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
You say I am wilderness. I am. 15 novembre 2008
Par BrianB - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Finally a novel that lives up to the publisher's hype. So much is promised with each new book, but this is truly a fine work. I am unable to judge whether this is great literature, but it satisfied me on many levels. That is a rare occurrence for a piece of writing. I have given five stars to prior reviews, but this is the finest writing that I have yet reviewed for amazon.

The novel reads quickly. You could finish it in a few hours if you were so inclined. I preferred to slow down and savor the contents. I will return this book again, after giving it a season on my shelf. It will never go to the library donation pile in my lifetime! Although I may be a bibliophile, in the extreme I would preserve only a few (hundred) books. This will be one of them.

Morrison uses shifting points of view to bring this short novel to life. The story unfolds through the eyes of each major character, although only one, Florens, speaks in the first person. Her voice is entirely in a vernacular, lacking conventional punctuation and sentence structure. The first few pages are moderately difficult to understand, but it becomes steadily more intelligible as you progress. The varied points of view remind me of The Sound and the Fury, especially in the opening chapter. But Florens is no Benjy, and Morrison's narrative bears only a superficial resemblance to Faulkner's. Although there is plenty of sorrow, and broken relationships all around, there is not a tone of hopeless cynicism.

I went back to read the first chapter several times, discovering more each time. You cannot understand some things at first. For example: "If a pea hen refuses to brood I read it quickly and sure enough that night I see a minha mae standing hand in hand with her little boy, my shoes jamming the pocket of her apron." This is a pivotal moment, but I did not recognize it as such on a first read. Sometimes I don't care for writers who show things early, and explain them later. Morrison is such a good writer that I didn't mind at all. I don't think that you will mind either.

I do not call Morrison a feminist or black writer. I believe those words will put unreasonable limits on how I might think about her work. Her writing reaches beyond the narrow concerns of our present day, to universal truths. She does not gloss over the brutalities and prejudices of slavery, or the lot of women in the 17th century. Far from it. But there are even larger things at stake here. In A Mercy I met myself where I least expected. I recognized myself in Florens, in Lina, in Jacob and even in Sorrow. To see yourself in another is the beginning of love. To give that gift to a reader is a great achievement.
88 internautes sur 95 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
"I don't think God knows who we are. I think He would like us, if He knew us, but I don't think He knows about us." 11 novembre 2008
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
(4.5 stars) Continuing themes that she has been developing since the start of her career, Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison creates an intense and involving philosophical, Biblical, and feminist novel set in the Atlantic colonies between 1682 and 1690. Her impressionistic story traces slavery from its early roots, using unique voices--African, Native American, and white--while moving back and forth in time. The primary speaker is Florens, a 16-year-old African slave, who tells the reader at the outset that this is a confession, "full of curiosities," and that she has committed a bloody, once-in-a-lifetime crime. In a flashback to 1682, we learn that when Florens was only eight years old, her mother suggested to the Maryland planter who owned the family, that Florens be given to New York farmer Jacob Vaark to settle a debt. Florens never understands why she was abandoned by her mother.

Florens lives and works for the next eight years on Vaark's rural New York farm. Lina, a Native American, who works with her, tells in a parallel narrative how she became one of a handful of survivors of a plague that killed her tribe. Vaark's wife Rebekkah describes leaving England for New York to be married to a man she has never seen. The deaths of their subsequent children are devastating, and Vaark is hoping that eight-year-old Florens will help alleviate Rebekkah's loneliness. Vaark, himself an orphan and poorhouse survivor, describes his journeys from New York to Maryland and Virginia, commenting on the role of religion in the culture of the different colonies, along with their attitudes toward slavery.

All these characters are bereft of their roots, struggling to survive in an alien environment filled with danger and disease. When smallpox threatens Rebekkah's life in 1692, Florens, now sixteen, is sent to find a black freedman who has some knowledge of herbal medicines. Her journey is dangerous, ultimately proving to be the turning point in her life.

Morrison examines the roots of racism going back to slavery's earliest days, providing glimpses of the various religious practices of the time, and showing how all the women are victimized. They are "of and for men," people who "never shape the world, The world shapes us." As the women journey toward self-enlightenment, Morrison describes their progress in often Biblical cadences, and by the end of this novel, the reader understands what "a mercy" really means. An intense and thought-provoking look at various forms of slavery from their beginnings, this short novel has an epic scope, one which admirers of Morrison will celebrate for its intense thematic development, even as they may somewhat regret its sacrifice of fully developed characters. Mary Whipple

Song of Solomon (Oprah's Book Club)
Love: A Novel
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57 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A short, lyrical , gripping novel, and a great joy to read 12 novembre 2008
Par Yesh Prabhu, author of The Beech Tree - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
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 Rebekka, 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. Florens falls in love with him.

In this novel Toni Morrison has found her ability to write simple, unadorned and lyrical prose that she mysteriously lost when she wrote "Paradise": "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.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Readers will come away marveling that out of these fragmented, isolated, brutal pieces came anything resembling unity 18 novembre 2008
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Like many Americans, I was first introduced to the work of Toni Morrison during my freshman year of college, when I read THE BLUEST EYE as part of a literature survey course. I moved on to several more of her books --- BELOVED, SONG OF SOLOMON, TAR BABY --- in English and women's studies courses, and have read all her other novels published since, continuing to marvel at her penetrating insights into race, sex and American history. THE BLUEST EYE, her debut, continues to be the one most often taught in college, probably because it's her shortest and most accessible. That is, until now.

Morrison's new book, A MERCY, is perhaps the perfect introduction to this Nobel Prize-winning author's work, offering readers, in fewer than 175 pages, a glimpse into her powerful literary style and keen insights into issues of race, violence, sex, history, identity and community that also demonstrates her brilliance and maturity as a writer.

The America that Morrison shows readers in A MERCY is one in its infancy, one in which "states" were hardly united, when differences of background, religion and ideology marked provincial boundaries as stark as any political border. Set in the 1680s and 1690s, it portrays a region in search of an identity, one in which the definitions of "free" and "slave" are both nebulous and shifting.

At the center of the novel is the household of Jacob Vaark. Vaark, like almost everyone in the colony, is an immigrant, a businessman who lives somewhere in the North but enters into slaveholding --- and the social grasping that seems to accompany it --- almost by accident. He obtains his first slave --- a Native American woman named Lina, whose village has been destroyed by smallpox and whose reputation has been destroyed after a rape --- to be company for his mail-order wife, Rebekka. Eventually, the two women, who develop a close friendship, are joined by another, deeply troubled slave known only as Sorrow.

Finally, the object of the "mercy" of the novel's title is Florens, bought for the Vaark household as a young girl at the entreaty of her mother. As Vaark travels on business and, later, as he becomes obsessed with building a grand home, the women form a family of sorts. After Vaark's death and Rebekka's subsequent illness, however, they discover just how fragile their bonds are, how fragmented their identities.

Vaark's household is something of a microcosm of the nascent country. Besides demonstrating the splintered identities of various American ethnic groups (and even of some individuals), the stories that make up the novel illustrate starkly and powerfully the legacy of violence, betrayal and inhumanity that is part of our nation's heritage. In particular, Morrison illustrates starkly and powerfully the ways in which slavery, in all its forms, robs people of their essential humanity and promotes the kind of "wilderness" that leads to violence, shame and despair.

Readers will come away from A MERCY feeling that they understand not only Morrison's literary techniques but also a little more about American history, marveling that out of these fragmented, isolated, brutal pieces came anything resembling unity.

--- Reviewed by Norah Piehl
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
So perfectly written 15 novembre 2008
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Toni Morrison has once again created a work of gorgeous, delicate beauty. A Mercy is told from the perspective of a new World farmer in 1690, Jacob Vaark, his wife, and their slaves and indentured workers.

Each of them has in some way been set adrift at some time in their lives. There is a sense that a good community has been built among them, in a way. But it is really just a thin illusion, since Jacob's death displays all too well the dependence on his mercy. Women, women of color, poor men, all of them are powerless. And the point of the book is spelled out well with a commentary about the kinds of slavery we set for ourselves.

This is a wonderful book that sets one to thinking about the consequences of acts of mercy and the sometimes hidden motives behind those acts. Dr. Morrison continues to write beautiful books that nonetheless make one take a hard look at both history and the human heart.
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