Ep 402 - Paradise, by Toni Morrison
This is a head. Gum podcast while Andrew and Craig believe the joy of discovery is crucial to enjoying any well told tale. They will not shy away. From spoiling specific story beats when necessary. Plus these are books. You should have read by now. Uh Inter just flew back from Ohio and boy are my buckeyes tired. We're GONNA overdo. It's a podcast about the books you've been meaning to read my name is Craig name is Andrew as a native Ohio and I the thing I love the most about Buckeyes thing besides go college yeah. Football is that the snack buckeyes was like the peanut butter dipped in chocolate of very good. They're good and the tree nut. Fruit BUCKEYES ARB- super poisonous. So if you were to rank the three buck is as food. You would put Seeds at the bottom a literal human football player at number two and then the peanut chocolate snack at number one. Yeah I mean and understand that. There's a big gap to three or close together because like the brain injury and cannibalism the many many shenanigans that Oh s. u. coaches and players got over the years. I was just food. But sure yes. Also just generalize judging them as as what they are which is well if you're judging them is what they are like. Buckeyes super tasty. Yeah State Buckeyes good at college football even though college football as a problematic institution yeah myth of a college athlete. Plant Buckeyes good at poison that good reasoning people which is the best at being itself. Hit US UP AT DOT com. We're here talking about books though Guys it just go to Ohio to talk about books. Why we're talking about Syrian. Play your e books with your eyes. Yeah I stay book I if you read enough books you get bucks. That's how we as part of the book yet program abstracts boy. We're GONNA talk about a book that neither of us have read before which is sort of what we do every week I'm going to talk about Toni. Morrison's Paradise Anders GonNa like. Ask Me questions and learn about the book alongside you. The listener is. I would do it every week. Here on overdue This was a Patriot recommendation. Patriarch's report for more information Thanks Leon for this one. Leon says I'm going to do the thing where he flatters US First Andrew L. At least you. I love your insights into books and your sense of humor. I don't think I've listened to a single woman without laughing out loud always awkward work. If it's not on your list yet. I'd recommend paradise by Tony Morrison. Not all that long. But it's full of memorable scenes and small but significant connections it shows the highs and lows of humanity and the difference between generations love and hate failure and success feast and famine top. It all off with Morrison's incredibly beautiful pros and you have a book that will stick with you for a long time after finishing it and I don't think I disagree with him though I do think part of what will stick with me about this book is whether or not I got it as much as their stuff to get. So we'll talk about that. Andrew we have talked about Tony Morrison before episode one fifty eight Benny Number. Because I also got it just in case you didn't get it But Yeah we talked about Tony. Morrison some a Khloe. Anthony Wofford Morrison Anthony was her the name she took when she was baptized. I think and then so. That's where Tony Comes from okay She was yeah she was born in. Nineteen thirty one and died just recently in twenty nine. Yeah And Yeah like we. We talked a little bit about her in in the beloved episode Which was about the book beloved. I don't know that it's particularly beloved or not amongst overdue aficionado. Sure sure but yeah the big thing to know about paradise. Is that together with Jazz? Which is the second book that's in between them at sort of a loose trilogy on the theme of like African American history okay. I'm so you don't you. Don't get any specific characters that carry over you. Don't get any like specific. Narrative Arcs other than like the wider arc of history. That is that is tying any of these three books together but they are all thematically related and paradise is. I'm pretty sure it's a reference to Paradiso the third book in a divine comedy trilogy because Morrison wanted to call it war but her through so I think she went with. I think she went with the trilogy. Concluding title Oh okay said. That's the way to think about it. Yeah this was the first book she had come out after. She won the Nobel for literature. I think which she won in ninety three And you're right to point out the like was it. Did it have the best name or not Based on publisher fears. Because I do think. This book was like M- reviewed like had mixed reviews. I was trying to think of a way to save that. And that's the way people and I read some good reviews and I you know some some other background about the book in my the impression that I get is that people will recognize that. It's well done and has value but they didn't necessarily have like a great or easy time reading it. If that makes sense is that was. That was my experience on it I do know that by the time that this this book came out like she'd had you know significant exposure via Oprah and like people were very into her work from almost like a pop perspective like a pop literature perspective even though her stuff has always strove to be as tough as it needs to be in terms of both its subject matter and its pros. I I think there was a it was a USA Today Article Where she talks about the difficulty the're taxed and she says people's anticipation now. More is late nineties people's anticipation now more than ever for linear chronological stories is intense because that's the way narrative revealed in TV and movies but we experienced life as the present moment the anticipation of the future in a lot of the slice a lot of slices of the past and she would rather have people like grapple with what is difficult with her work rather than merely revere it she says. I have people tell me your novel was on my bed stand. I don't want books to be what people dip into before they go to people to like spend the time working on it And then there was something also mentioned in that article about this book being less well received and it might have had like a rushed publication process. Like she might she submitted a manuscript and then maybe like Scott spent more time before the final you know with more revisions or something like that. Yeah like A. It's a tough thing I don't know because I guess that could help. But also you know if if if this is what she was going for if this is totally and structurally of the work. I don't know how editing like another editing passer to necessarily the difference between yes thing that fair enough. I'd accessible on something that they don't I don't know some edits are heavier than than others. But yeah like I like. I said I was reading good reviews. I didn't vet the story. I don't know if it's real overly like the idea of it so I'm GonNa say podcast is a good reads. Revere named John gave it five stars. Paradise was not well received upon its publication in one thousand nine hundred eighty seven and then he goes on to talk about Like critics and and then Oprah's audience kind of were bouncing off of it and It was recommended as part of Oprah's book club. Yeah And this apparently prompted Oprah to call Morrison to offer the viewers encouragement one of the studio audience members protested that confused by the novel's Multiple Perspectives. Non Linear Chronology. She was lost on page. Nineteen Oprah asked Morrison. What the poor woman was to do. And Morrison's reply which I've never forgotten was read page twenty. That's good that's really good. That's a really good answer. That's very good T to your point about whether or not an ED. It would've made this any clear. It certainly seems like she set out to write a book with a lot of levels of hierarchy a lot of different perspectives. And what that does is it. Gives you You know a couple of a bunch of different windows into this town and into this time period that we're going to talk about but it sort of deprives you one or two characters to really hang your hat on. I think anybody. Who's coming from beloved is like really looking for a main character that they can see this world through and I was listening to our beloved episode and there are several characters to hang your hat on that one. Yeah it's also interesting to listen to myself having apparently just recently learned about like skin tone privileges in the black community. We're all trying to learn all distraught. You're actually to part of the inspiration for this book. So there's a great preface from Morrison in the addition of the book that I read She was doing research for some other compilation of writings and and collected histories And she was going through newspapers from the nineteenth century You know following the civil war and and resettling of black communities in America and She says of particular interest were those Newspapers printed in the nineteenth century. When my grandfather spent his few minutes at school I learned. There was some fifty black newspapers produced in the southwest following a man's a patient and the violent displacement of Native Americans from Oklahoma Territory. The opportunity to establish black towns was as feverish as the rush for whites to occupy the land the quote unquote colored. Newspapers encouraged the rush and promised a kind of paradise to the newcomers land. Their own government safety there were even sustained movements to establish their own state. One theme in particular in papers intrigued me. Prominent in their headlines and articles was a clear admonition come prepared or not at all implicit in those warnings were two commands if you have nothing stay way and this land is Utopia for a few translation. No no poor former. Slaves are welcome in the paradise being built here and she goes on to talk about Other instances of color is among these communities And then that is a huge part of what is reflected in the book and so just this like land rush for communities that are not in the Jim Crow South. How can we get away and go there? As reconstruction fails and how people set up communities and put up walls and gates around them literal and perhaps even keep away other people of color well then and then also knowing what we know now which is that even these sort of paradise places like the these areas that some black people found for themselves were then often. You know destroyed the big one that I'm thinking of his his Tulsa. It's referenced in the book briefly the Tulsa massacres. It's like the founders of the okay. So let me get away into the book itself Yeah police the on our book. Pod Cast you always say let me get into the book like what if I didn't what if I was like. No I'm not no. I'm just not going to have it today. All right. Let's keep talking about about the book but we can't talk about it So it takes place in this community called Ruby that is itself a descendant of a community named haven that was established by nine families. That left you know Louisiana or so in the eighteen nineties After you know the key patriarchs in these families were Herat being harassed by southern whites and they decided to leave And as they are leaving you know they are turned away from communities that had already been established by Lighter skinned black folk. Who are like well. This is problematic for us. So you can't come in Please go and this is like later. Dramatizing the book. They have like a Nativity pageant in their church that is simultaneously the story of Jesus and the story of them being kicked out of the south and like not being allowed to settle where they try to settle. It's an newcomers in the town. Rightfully are like Whoa is. This is weird. What okay So I I kind of liked that as Morrison both making an allusion herself with the people of Ruby but also allowing for critique of that of that like Double Myth Within the story but So this town has been set up by families that are the descendants of people who've been in the Louisiana territory for over a century and they are referred to later in the book when one of the Characters Anna is doing like sort of a a town family tree that she started as a project with the kids from school. Where she's like. Hey go ask your parents all their business. And we'll talk about it and it's you know it's like three hundred people or something so everybody knows everybody's crap and nobody wants to talk and so eventually it becomes a real private like research project of Hers. But she really breaks down the history of these Folks who are called eight rock like eight are they used to work like really deep in the coal mines and they are really Like dark skinned people who when they encounter other light skinned black folk. They are surprised that they are of another cast like they are. They did not know that that was going to happen. They thought it was just an issue of black and white and are surprised when they are turned away so when they set up I haven which then like kind of falls apart after work to And then Ruby. They really make it like as pure as possible and exclude and express severe disdain for anybody coming in who might like. Lighten the town in a way. Okay so it's like a we can't get into your place and you can't get our place yeah and it becomes like so it is a paradise quote unquote and I gets at the idea of Utopia that I think we've discussed with writers like La- Gwen and who am I thinking of Butler a little bit mostly Gwynn of like it. Using utopia knocked to say like what if life was amazing but like what if we set up a life where everything was supposed to be amazing and then we still have problems. Let's talk about the problems that that would cause So these families have set up this paradise but of course they are cloistered from the rest of the world and the Times they are a changing it is the seventies after all and language funky. And it's like there's a little bit of anxiety about kids being into music and be indifferent and stuff but also you know. Mlk has just been killed a few years prior like the Watergate hearings are happening. Vietnam is going on and you know some of the boys in town have gone off to serve and die there and so there's this like growing anxiety among people in the town to be like what if we engaged with the outside world like the problems with White America have become abstract as their problems with anyone different from themselves have become more literal e okay And here's the big. The big problem for them is that just outside the town of Ruby there. Is this big old house and just women live there. Just strange women does live in this house. It was started you to elaborate a little bit because you picked possibly the strangest phrasing that you possibly could have okay so let me the way that Morrison in with them worse than introduces. This is okay. I've described Ruby where it is an all black community and the leaders of the town prioritize their blackness and it's all very explicit and there's no room for debate on that stuff The opening of the book though is the sentence they shot the white girl I and they took their time with the rest and the rest of the scene is men from Ruby. Have moved in on this convent. They call it where a bunch of strange women are living in this house outside their town and they are gonNA kill them or run them off or something The the book then jumps around time-wise which is why confused that lady on Oprah And it works backwards from this pivotal event which then the book circles back to at the end But you actually and this is delivered on Morrison's part. She's spoken about this She never tells you the races of the women in the house or even their skin color. there are allusions to some of them. Not Being White But there is no explicit mention of it and so she is deliberately like she's deliberately making you test your own assumptions There is certainly. I was an article I read where she talked about. Like some readers just assuming some of the women in that house or black because of the like various circumstances that they come from and I caught myself thinking that and recognizing that she had not actually laid. That out was kind of interesting to think. She's priming you to think about people a certain way to then flip it on it on its end There's a scene. Where when when you first like really meet the convent in whatever the closest to like a chronology that the book has this in frustration in Your Voice. Wicket and he'd say so. Okay so the book has like eight or nine chapters. Each one is named after a different woman in the book Each of the five main women from the convent get their own chapter as do a couple others from Ruby and around the book And so most of the ones that center on the Convent Women. You get both. They're like it's almost like lost. Were you get like the show lost You Gay and I thank you You get like the flash back to their life before where they've ended up like that so we're like Hurley uses the numbers to win the lottery and like the start to ruin your life. I know the show lost as a thing that exists but as soon as you reference any specific episode of Law I am not with in fact lost. I wasn't I took pains not to say it that way. But yeah okay. Well I can read the subtext. Thank you the first one we get is this woman Mavis. Who is living typing? She does after she's done. She's not actually typing her. Last name was beacon. It's weird She leaves her life on the East Coast because she is unfortunately left her infant children in a car while she ran into a grocery store and they die and it. Kinda messes up her life. She May or may not be having some sort of psychotic episode where she thinks her remaining children are trying to kill her. She does have an abusive husband so she liked just takes the car and leaves and we get like a few pages of her kind of trekking across America until the car finally breaks down outside Ruby and she has to borrow some just to get a lift from this kid To take her into town to get some gas for the car so that she can leave after. She's met this woman at the at the convent and she morrison. Does this great thing where like after she drives the Cadillac back to the house It says behind the wheel cooling. The air conditioned Air Mavis regretted not having noticed the radio stations number on the dashboard of the of the boys. Truck she fiddled. Dial dial uselessly. As she drove the Cadillac back to Connie's house she parked and the Cadillac. Dark is bruised. Blood stayed there for two years and Morrison will do that a lot. Where like after a really just kind of straightforward descriptive paragraph. She'll drop like character changing news in a very succinct way. Like oh this person just go live here now to see you know. That's distorted doesn't move point to point B. So I can just tell you that that's how this works and so the women when you're reading like no go ahead like when you're reading were you. Sometimes when I'm reading a book that's like that I keep waiting for it to become more like linear and understandable. Yeah and sometimes it never never does like. I'm just I'm thinking primarily my experience reading images. I do think what was tricky. I was honestly surprised when the book came back around to the. Oh we're GONNA have to go take care of those women in the convent plot because that is that is the beginning of the book and then you spend a long time with these like meeting the different women meeting Mavis meeting. Gee-gee Meetings Seneca whoever and then you get also like snippets of the town and you're like the the town. Snippets are laid out in such a way. That time is progressing forward. But you're also getting a lot of back story which is very it is interesting but yeah it's kind of disorienting. So that by the time that the men had worked themselves up into a tizzy about the convent again. And we're going to go off and kill them. I was like Oh. Yeah Wow that was the book And it's not even that long of a book so it was like I guess I was surprised at how well Morrison had like. Just got me into whatever rhythm like wavelengths she was on but it did make for some disorienting reading like I sure I had trouble holding onto character details Because so many of them are are either delivered. Slyly like in the passage. I just read Or they are like they don't cause further action they're just like. Oh this I read this as a critique of the book like the women who find themselves at the convent come from just like different tough walks of life to the point. Where like I don't think they're quite cliches But because the the aim of the book is just to introduce the different ways in which like Patriarchy and careless men can like mess with women Taken in aggregate she wants you to take an aggregate but it means that the individual stories seem like a little underdeveloped because the women don't necessarily like have individual arcs over the course of the book they collect you have an arc. But they don't. It's not like oh here's what happened to Mavis. And here's what happened to Seneca. Here's what they were trying to do. They were thwarted and things like that. So that can that did make for tough reading. And then the other thing that makes four. I always kind of forget this about Morrison. When whenever I'm not reading her is that she likes to get supernatural and she. The Women in the convent went. The Convent was founded by nuns to. This is the strange house. You're just strange house. Okay yes that was apparently like a bill by an embezzler and then he ran out of money and a bunch of nuns moved in and were like educating you know native girls from tribes in Oklahoma. Whether or not they should be doing that. I don't know any house with any sense of the supernatural about has have a really complicated. The building had to be weird ownership. History has to be where you can't just be like yeah. I this House was house was built ninety. Two years ago it was. It was flipped recently and I bought it with the help of deb. Debbie my realtor and it went fine now is haunted. Yeah there was a sign out front. That said not haunted. Now I have to hang the sign that says Ho. That's only in New Orleans. Oh so yeah so. This gets back to that. Wow that scene. I was talking about ten minutes ago with Mavis in Connie and the mother. I intentionally made this podcast sort of leg bookbinder Creighton. Yeah like the book. That's great. You know art. Art Imitates are they say so. When Mavis rose up and decides to stay at the convent she meets. Connie who is not totally blind has been at this comment for a long time since all of the nuns were around. And now there's only one none left and she lives all her time in a bed and is dying probably But Connie can kinda keep her alive with her magic powers and you don't know that she has magic powers until the end of the book spoilt. She has magic powers of g guest. Beloved does this to the ghost baby. Who maybe as a ghost baby? Abc She isn't it's not quite natural. Realism thing that's but that's like drawing on reality and and doing so really pointedly at so. It's so strange to me to also decide that you need to May June. You put magic and it also okay so I do think the my other frame of reference for this in among African American literature is August Wilson who in his plays? I always forget that. There's like ghosts and stuff but they don't come out until like the conflict of the plays get gets really bad and so I there's a tradition. I think that is it here. In the like the issues loom so large and are generally about like Generational Power. Some of which is either in conflict with or derives from God that things have to get bigger than what people are capable of Nor you know traditionally non magic people are capable of right so so like At some point in her life A woman from Ruby comes to Connie Who is like the matriarch of the mansion? Who was keeping this none alive for a long time? And he's like. Hey Lady you are magic GonNa teach you how to magic await. This guy is in a car crash. Let's go over and you're going to save his life And she calls it like stepping in where she gets to the car and Was the consulate looked at the body and without hesitation. Removed her glasses and focused on the trickles of red discoloring his hair. She stepped in saw the stretch of road. He had dreamed through felt the flip of the truck. The headache that chest pressure the unwillingness to breathe as from a distance she heard eastern July kicking the truck and moaning inside the boy. She saw a pinpoint of light receding pulling up Energy. That felt like fear. She stared at it until it widened than more more. So air could come seeping at first than rushing rushing in although it hurt like the devil to look at it. She concentrated as though the lungs in need were her own and she uses that skill to keep this none alive for a long time also So that when Mavis shows up and again you still don't know if any of these people except maybe the none none is definitely white If any of these people are people of Color on purpose that's more synon- purpose The mavis like where's all the light in this room coming from because there's no electricity in here that none is glowing. It's apparently the light that Connie has been putting in her to keep her alive for a period of time until she does die. Sure she didn't just rub balloon on her head for Awhile and generate some electricity bill. The other magic thing in this book is that people in Ruby. Don't die they just don't if you're in if you are in the town of Ruby you you cannot die you age or Esa you do so you could be like. Are there. People who were super bowl boldest person was like five in eighteen ninety and I think the book takes place in the nineteen seventies so no one in this town has died since the founders. Deacon and Stuart Morgan who are descendants of the original founders They're twins and they're like cousin or niece or someone was refused hospital care while she was pregnant because she was black she died and they named the town after her inch. So I think that was in the thirties or forties. I could be wrong and so no one in this town has died. Since then you could leave the town. Indic- you gay an airplane accident. You could get sent to Vietnam and you could die there which does happen to two sons so ruby is really like the. Inverse Hotel California is you can check out. You can check out whenever you want. But you can't leave. You can't leave the hotel right. Correct the hotel. You have to stay in the hotel for the hotel will burn down or anything. So there's actually there's a guy who works in town. He has an ambulance. That sometimes is a hearse but he can't have a fulltime funeral business because not enough people so one of these days is going to open up a gas station settling we can have a job. There's a sitcom premise in there. About like a part time her striber who runs a part time contract based GIG economy more? So the the the premise that the woman who is collecting all of the gossipy. You know family tree stuff. She spells it out in the book that the thing that the men at least believe has caused the magic of Ruby to exist is the blood the the like pure sacred bloodline of these eight rock families of which there are now seven down from nine because people mingled with outsiders and so she says unadulterated and unadulterated eight rock. Blood held. Its magic as long as it resided in Ruby. That was their recipe. That was their deal for immortality. Pat Smile was crooked in that case she thought everything that worries them must come from women and that is the crux of the novel. That I think I've like hit on a couple of times. But not as bluntly as the as the non okay that these men run this town The book is told almost not exclusively through the eyes of women but th- those all the stories are centered And that was the case for beloved also like men men were around but they weren't the people who did story toward a no no And so the convent poses this unique threat and a unique perceived threat. I don't think the convent. Nobody in the common is actually trying to harm Ruby explicitly but it just magic Weirdos and so it's hard not to be threatened by them and I don't think that everybody knows that they're magic like some women in town have gone to the convent and then they just come back sometimes. They go there if they have a pregnancy that they would like to not have any more and there are like various stories as to what has happened when people go there Some men have had relationships with the women at the convent. But that's not a good thing because they're like godless women out there. Do it like what? Gdp is like the naked all the time dancing and music on the radio like trying to cities men like kind of archetype of the crew which then causes a lot of problems for at the convent. Who is not playing that role but the the men of Ruby really prefer a kind of like wholesome conservative like. We're just here to live and go to church and like we're not wearing too much makeup and we're not listening to rock music We're just GONNA keep living in this town until you know. God says we need to stop We would prefer to never stop so when their anxieties about the fact that both of the town leaders Deacon Steward the twins Are Not having kids. They're unable to have more kids or any kids at this point because I think okay I think stewards. Tau The deacon their sewer or seward stunt suns at died in Vietnam and then the other one They can't have so. The bloodlines are kind of drying up. Then there's like one last hope and even he seems like they're they're not sure that he's GonNa follow through And then there's also anxiety coming from the youth in town which is kind of like none of them were main characters but they get referred to a lot as dislike the youth that are causing problems. The town was founded around. This thing called the oven. When they came from the south in their wagons they had this big cast-iron oven pot or something that they built and initially before it was turned into the town of Ruby. It was like You know the town would cook all. It's big meals in it and it provided sustenance and it kind of became a relic of of the original town haven When they founded Ruby they took the of apart and moved. It and a bunch of the women are like. Why did they do that? We don't even use that thing anymore. For whatever but one of the inciting instance of the book is someone in the youth have painted a black like a black power fist on it. Like a black leander image on it. And there's this like growing unrest that the young people in town are not to uphold rubies values which basically means clinging to the past and clinging to the teacher. Arkell power that exists and not changing it all. And there's a reverend who if I had a character that like the two characters that I would put hats on though I don't think you could hang them on the whole way. One is magic. Connie who I like a lot And the other is this reverend Meisner or MS ner Who is a younger pastor running like the second church in town who is all about like is this town going to survive isolationism like is it? GonNa Survive. This turbulent time in our country and how can it if it won't raise like a hand to help outside world or engage in outside road? He gets in multiple arguments with people where he's like. Don't you WANNA know about Africa and like where we come from and people are like? Why would I send my money? If in the mail to countries in need what what you want from me like we live here They're not anyone to me And he's like put like there's a whole world out there and if we could learn about it maybe we could get over our history and like build a future and it seems to be falling on deaf ears so he has a lot of conflict with the town about that. Yeah because it feels it feels like it's I know it's some. It's somebody who's never experienced anything else sort of misunderstanding. The reason why the town exists the way it does in the first place like it was founded as a refuge from the outside world because the outside world is bad people who only know the refuge or like. Hey what's going on out there? Yeah there's a two really good passages of his one is about this isolation ISM thing that I really like had the time finally gotten to him was the desolation that rose after King's murder desolation that climbed like a tidal wave in slow motion. Just now washing over him or was it. The calamity of watching the drawn out a basement of a noxious president had the long unintelligible. War infected him behaving like a dorm virus and blossom now that it was coming to a raggedy clothes everybody on his high school. Football team died in that war They were the ones he had looked up to wanted to be like was he. Just now gagging at their futile death. Was that the origin of this incipient for violence or was it ruby. What was it about this town? These people that enraged him they were different from other communities and only a couple of ways beauty and isolation. And that's like where that's one of his first passage Israel Echo. This guy is fighting up hill and he not everyone in. The town is on board with the murder plan. That happens later and he is certainly not on board with it later. He is think this. Okay this next passage I just wrote my note was Wolf Morrison like it just. It was a good one. So buckle up. He's thinking about the civil rights movement and whether or not he should stay in Ruby. Twenty thirty years from now he thought all sorts of people will claim pivotal controlling defining positions in the rights movement. A few would be justified. Most would be frauds what could not be gainsaid but would remain invisible in the papers and the books he bought for his students were the ordinary folk the janitor who turned off the switch so the police couldn't see the grandmother who kept all the babies so the mothers could march the backwards women with fresh towels in one hand and a shotgun in the other the little children who carried batteries and food to secret meetings the ministers who kept whole Churchill's of hunted protesters. Calm 'til help came the one who gathered up the broken buys of the young the young who spread their arms wide to protect the old from batons they could not possibly survive parents who wipe the spit in tears from their children's faces Yes thirty thirty years from now. Those twenty thirty years from now those people will be dead or forgotten their small stories part of no grande record or even its footnotes Now seven years after the murder of the man who said he would happily have taken the sword he was hurting a flock who believe not only that it hid created the pasture at grazed but that grass from any other meadow was toxic. And that first half of that. I don't know I was just thinking a lot about protest movements and the ways in which they are like layered they are layers of action that support each other and a lot of stories. Never get told and I was like. Oh Dang that that passage stood out regardless of whatever else the book as Morrison Dislike. You know just lay in some some good lines about how that stuff works Kind of wondering like in this small town where every story gets told like. Will anyone step forward to be involved or in Hot Yeah I don't know this is a good one. That one was the ending of now. Are there any other like snippets like that within this larger book? Soup that sand or or stuck with you. My when I'm reading a book like this is just like hard to read for better for worse. I think probably mostly for worse. I've find to have a harder time recalling it later. Yeah yeah yeah sounds like. It's just that doesn't mean I didn't appreciate it at the time I didn't enjoy it or I didn't understand what was doing it. Just it makes it harder for me to they. When we're doing our our long cast like six hours after we finish the book like that's one thing but if you ask me this thing that that routinely happens to me there's something. I read like eighteen months ago for the show and talked about four an audience for an hour and I have to go back and listen to that. Remember what I thought about it. Some Yeah Yeah. It's tough because the the basic bones of this story where town full of men anxious about the future Control control the women they have and lash out at the women that they wish they could control That's like the main those are the main plot points and as much as they are plot points so the rest of the book is like a series of these little like tone poem. Ask interactions where it's some of the magical stuff that happens to the convent. Women it some of these musings on a small town which I am a sucker for like I am. I was intrigued in the life of this town in the same way that I am intrigued in groves court intrigued by groves corners from our town or when we discussed peyton place on the show like the the little sniping that can happen. The little bridges that can be built between unlikely allies Over issues big and small. That's always very compelling and then Morrison does have a couple little as what you asked for like a couple little passages where I. It's I hope I remember stuff like this. Where when we're introduced to Dovey Morgan? Who'S MARRIED TO STEWARD? One of the first things that is on her mind is when w Morgan thought about her husband. It was in terms of what he had lost. And then she just like lists of page of like things that he had lost. Mostly like business ventures. He'd gone out on that he would claim was a success but actually he came up short in the end zone. I was thinking of smaller things like my dad has lost his wedding band at least three or four times like he's lost because he he like would and I don't know if he does as much anymore. Used to work on cars and motors. Sure yeah he would take it off to do that. And then you and since I stopped living at home I've lost track of the of the body. Count their address. What my right thigh when you when you said he loses stuff. I imagined that sort of Oh. It's small in the scheme of things but significant to you as an individual person. Well she doesn't. She does a good job though because she goes from like you know business ventures politics stuff. His hairline and his taste buds. Small losses that culminated with the big one Where they could no longer have children so she does the like. She does a nice like funnel with a real button at the end of it It's interesting to have a like a an infertility thing that is pinned on the guy. Yeah because even like even if you're if you're just a person trying to have kids like often the it's it's the practice did well at the woman says you know. I think getting them in even check. Yeah just talking from experience. That was another thing that struck me when we were recording our beloved episode and I was listening to. It is like that guy doesn't even know he doesn't he doesn't know anything. No all Andrew. I think I think Andrew from episode was. We're talking about your chair. That have broken like you didn't even know you were going to care about a child. I'm still sitting in the chair that I replaced that chair with other tidbits from the book that I dug I lose to earlier the bit about the suns who die in Vietnam. There's a meditation on bringing their bodies back. They were in an integrated unit and the father knows that like most people who died in Vietnam are not just like falling on the ground dead. Like there's a chance that it's a it's a box of that is not the shape of a person. And there's a meditation on like whether or not all of his boys came home and if there's a mixture of people and it's like given the context of the town and and purity of person hood like that gets very loaded The fact that the two twins steward and Deacon They've each got their own private secrets. There's a lot in the book about how they can kind of read each other's minds. It's it's like a take it for granted supernatural thing. It's August superpower. They dislike appeared to just be able to know each other's memories and at the end of the book and the climactic hunt the women sequence One of them shoots the first woman that they kill and no one really knows who did it but okay but I believe it's deacon is way more troubled by what happened and he can't like connect to his brother anymore because when he sees his twin he sees himself and he's disgusted by and there's a lot of the meditation on twinning in. This book is very good as well. Yeah I think if people have trouble with this one it's because the plot inasmuch there is one is not going to get you through like you have to be there for the meditations on these individual people which are often like a concept given human form like or a particular relationship run through a personality Or you have to be interested in like this notion of exclusion and what it would mean for marginalized people to establish a paradise. Which in and of itself is inherently exclusionary in the preface. More to go back to what you said at the beginning of the show. Morrison does talk about Dante and like she's like parodies or does it work if there is an inferno like there isn't paradise isn't cool and worth it if everyone can come in. That's not how it works. Yeah well as a reader of that work I can also say if you ju- if it was just parodies without the other stuff we would not still be talking about seven years later. She says that's why inferno and its imagery sticks with you. A Dante wanted to write that stuff but like he wanted to write that stuff because it proves his later points I get or he thought anyway. so yeah it's IT'S A. I liked my time with this book but I was struggling through parts of it I that's always. I always find that super tough. And that's part of what the time crunch does I think like. I'm I'm torn because the time crunch means that you will finish it. Yes in a way that you might not if you're just if you're just reading trouble with it but the time crunch also means maybe you can't appreciate it as much on. Its on its own terms. Because you can't you don't have as many opportunities to step away and like chew on it. Yeah or individual chunks of it as I think that's true. I think this book might resonate more if you like. Let Yourself Linger with each chapter Though you might lose a sense of the interconnectedness if you go too slow I did find like I read like a chunk of it and then put it down to read another book for the show and then came back and I had like I had to do a little bit of catch up in terms of. Oh that person's this person. Oh Okay and part of that is. The book is actually deliberately obscuring people's identities during certain scenes or playing with dual identities. Or not telling you what someone looks like on purpose and that is something more since interested but it does make for more work again. She doesn't want you to read this while you're trying to go to sleep so it sounds like it would just be a read a difficult. It'd be difficult to do. Yes even if Morrison was like I made this. I made the sleepytime book just for you. It was still be difficult to but if she. That's not a time where I really like. My brain can be grappling with a lot of new ideas all at the same time. I WanNa know though now I want to know what a Tony Morrison. Sleepy time on purpose book would be like what is the. Toni Morrison Book. She wants you to read like three pages out of time before we go to sleep boy that be like we're still be goes to baby. They're still yeah and I think it would have to be like the same three pages over and over again because that's kind of how I am what. I'm trying to read something right before it's like well. This is where kindle says I am but I have to go back several taps before I remember i. I never like it when I opened the kindle and I'm on a pay double I can tell I I can tell when I've actually fallen asleep reading a book because just some chunk of text that has nothing to do with anything will be highlighted. Your Guard Asleep my finger on the screen and I accidentally highlighted some random chunk of nothing. And then I will. Thanks for helping me sort through this book. Andrew I hope is one of those is one of those ones where it's harder than usual for me as a as a non reader to try and help you through it but you know. Try to grab some structural things crash. A couple goofs scrapes. Couples did it. Se tells me we recorded fifty six minutes of audio so that what is podcasting but committing time to tape. I think people would dig this book if they're willing to put in the work and I think what it is exploring about black communities in Oklahoma in the Mid West during this timeframe is like stuff that is worth reading about. If you don't actually know that much about it and this is like an interesting way to to explore that that is not just going and reading a wikipedia page of history books. Sounds like if you are. If you're trying to break into Toni Morrison like do not do this. I would maybe start with Soula or beloved. Yeah this this is not babies. I Morrison I if you want to tell us what your first Morrison was. Hit US up. Overdue pot gmail.com or twitter dot com for more facebook.com Ze pod. Thanks to folks who've reached out to us in the past week including Margaret Aaron Amy Linda Peter and Peter Student who recommend the show to Peter Jon Katie Gerald Brittany Pimp Him Allegra and Rebecca many more Including OUR FRIEND KATE. Recall Lia from last week's last week Sr last week's episode. Andrew Vos leaks longer because we recorded it longer. Also we were. We were recording this like the day after that episode came out so timings meaningless meaningless and we have got a hold trip to Ohio. That's that's happening between now. Then so thanks to anybody of you. Who came out to our Ohio show at Kenyon College? I'm sure we had a great time with you if we didn't. Let's not speak about the unpleasantness. We'll put it up on the feet at some point. Who knows. Just yeah just sweep it under the rug and talk about it assuming it goes well. We'LL PUT IT UP. Who knows gala? If it doesn't then we'll just not have an episode that we count Spe- it'll be the great mistrial. We the price you pay. I don't know who you is. I will miss our I. I will miss our first on time posting in like five years to make yours about this inter folks WanNa know more by the show or should they go fish you go to Overdo podcasts. Dot Com Ras Internet website up there. We have links to apple podcasts. Google play our RSS feed also available on spotify stitcher. And pretty much else. You can find podcasts Also up there. We have a new listener. Page with episodes. We think are good. If you're trying to get into the show and you don't just want to start with a book you know Though that is also valid approach. We've also got a link to our Patria on page. This was a book recommended us by a Patriot listener. If you sign up at certain dollar amount which I forget where it is off the top of my head. I think it's like seven bucks a month. You can get a book on our list guaranteed. We've got a pretty long backlog but we are slowly working on making it nice of a like a two year backlog and more of like a twelve to eighteen months anything else negatively doing next week you have pulled up. I don't know that we have we know yet. When are we going to March okay? We'll release our march scheduled sometime this week. I think after we talk about it But don't forget to enjoy our bonus episode this month about the novelization of the sonic the hedgehog movie which is made several tens of millions of dollars fairly back. You gotta go fast to see this movie. Apparently I wasn't sure. Go see the movie but maybe we'll see after. I read the book. You know we talk about this later. I have a baby. I don't think I could see some movie theaters. But we'll talk about it all right everybody. Thank you for joining us for yet. Another podcast and so we talk to you next week. I'd be happy that was a hit gum podcast.