Morrison's 'God Help the Child' excavates characters' self-image with a touch of magical realism

April 22, 2015 12:07 PM

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In 1970 Toni Morrison detonated a beautiful atom bomb of a debut novel called"The Bluest Eye." In telling the story of Pecola Breedlove, a little Ohio girl taught to hate her black skin, Morrison laid bare society's poisonous obsession with racial appearance. She also introduced a theme that would run throughout her body of work, including her latest short novel,"God Help the Child": the combustive combination of love and hate so integral to African-American self-image.

Morrison is now 84, and apparently drinking from the same fountain of youth that sustained her only rival for the title of Greatest Living American Writer, Philip Roth. "God Help the Child," her 11th novel, bristles with the high colloquial style that infused her first several novels, before her wor...

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