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  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407016597
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 176

A Mercy

Nobel Prize-winning author of Beloved, Toni Morrison is one of the finest novelists of our times.

'A beautiful and important book' The Times

On the day that Jacob, an Anglo-Dutch trader, agrees to accept a slave in lieu of payment for a debt from a plantation owner, little Florens's life changes irrevocably.

With her keen intelligence and passion for wearing the cast-off shoes of her mistress, Florens has never blurred into the background and now at the age of eight she is uprooted from her family to begin a new life with a new master. She ends up part of Jacob's household, along with his wife Rebekka, Lina their Native American servant, and the enigmatic Sorrow who was rescued from a shipwreck.

Together these women face the trials of their harsh environment as Jacob attempts to carve out a place for himself in the brutally unforgiving landscape of North America in the seventeenth century.

'Toni Morrison is the greatest chronicler of the American experience that we have ever known' Tayari Jones, New York Times


Winner of the PEN/Saul Bellow award for achievement in American fiction

  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407016597
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 176

About the author

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She was the author of many novels, including The Bluest Eye, Sula, Beloved, Paradise and Love. She received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour, in 2012 by Barack Obama. Toni Morrison died on 5 August 2019 at the age of eighty-eight.

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Praise for A Mercy

Toni Morrison writes with a fierce possessive poetry and sympathy that proclaims her as an exciting star in the firmament


Ms. Morrison's versatility and technical and emotional range appear to know no bounds

Margaret Atwood

One of the most compelling writers at work today

The Times

A beautiful and important book

Sunday Times

A series of bleakly beautiful vignettes that catch at the heart

Marie Claire

Unsettling, exquisitely written, and deeply moving, it's an amazing piece of work

The Gloss (Ireland)

Varied and authoritative and frequently beautiful

John Updike, New Yorker

For all its restraint, and its sinister stealth, A Mercy is a furious novel, a volley of anger, contempt and sorrow... the rich and seemingly casual evocative accretion of background and narrative slowly tightens its grip until the reader is utterly in thrall


The very act of reading the novel is to engage in the process of "rememory", the ongoing reconciling of past with present that Morrison defined in Beloved and that haunts all her work. It is a challenging, disorientating way of reading and as soon as you finish A Mercy, the novel demands that you start it again

Scotland on Sunday

Emotions run deep and twisted in Morrison's fiction; and their outcome is superbly traced in this powerful, flawed and genuinely creative novel

Sunday Telegraph

Morrison's prose is confident and secure, her language masterful...This is another penetrating and profoundly disquieting view of America's past

Lucinda Byatt, Historical Novels Review


Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times

In this short, suspenseful novel, the narrative is passed from one character to another... Deep currents of lust, love and grief sweep all before them in lyrical prose that insists on being given free reign.

Jane Housham, Guardian

An intricate bland of harsh reality and haunting parable; its power and lyrical beauty make it a worthy successor to Morrison's masterpiece, Beloved.

Alexandra Masters, Observer

The power of Morrison's writing comes partly from her subject matter, but when that is married to such convincing and sagacious prose, it is incomparable.

Lesley McDowell, Herald

Though omitted from this year's Orange Prize shortlist, there is much in this novel that is excellent.

Stephanie Cross, The Telegraph Review

Though omitted from this year's Orange Prize shortlist, there is much in this novel that is excellent

Stephanie Cross, The Telegraph Review

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

Sorcha Hamilton, Irish Times

Morrison is at the very height of her powers

Daily Mail

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