Beloved by Toni Morrison
It it was really great. We had a lovely time and they looked after very nicely so John. What did we do. What was the highlight of our trip. Without without doubt the highlight of a trip given the I was prevented from consuming the shellfish the armor which which can only catch on when certain spring tides tide's coming in numerous tides. We'd missed it was we went to Victor Hugo's house. Victor Hugo was inexorable on Guernsey for how many fifteen the and he wrote finished Les Mis when he was there and he also wrote a book sort of set in and around Ghanzi the tour of the C. which are now bowl copy of in French. GonNa read it. Goods eat up. When I was there I can confirm. He looks quite you wearing a Gonzi. If you've ever been to channel on I actually my best friend fails Gundy okay so I was hoping that there would be still people speaking patois other but I think he's only the old people really because because of the war the children were all evacuated obviously occupied by the the Nazis regio good here we go hello and welcome to back listed the podcast that gives new life to old books today you you find us on the outskirts of Cincinnati in the years. After the civil war the snow is falling heavily as we stand on Bluestone road staring a number one to four a house apart a house with secrets a house with ghosts. I'm John Mitchelson. The publisher unbound the platform from where readers crowdfunding books they really want to read and I'm Andy Miller author of the year of reading dangerously joining us. Today is pretty teenager. Hi Hi hello pretty is a novelist and teacher in prisons and in universities novel we the young which we loved on back list is published by the excellent Galley Beggar Press one the twentieth eighteen Desmond Elliott Prize for the best debut of the year it was also shortlisted for the Republic of consciousness snus prize and the books in my bag readers choice awards and longlist for the Jalek pros the folio prize and for Europe's most prestigious award for a work of world willed literature the pre show mcaliskey it has been translated into seven languages to date are there more in the offing. I hope so and there's there's another award which I was very proud to be the sit for in India called the Chuck P but First Book Award which is given an owner of a young women who died but and you know it's amazing to be recognized in all of these different ways by people in different. Pudgy well did did you expect it could take several years to Roy at what it took a long time to write it took like three or four years to write but it took about the same amount of time to find a home yeah okay so is seven years is made up of this the the writing struggle and then the and then the publishing struggle and we'll Roy thinking. You weren't insist around going well. It'll be fine because I'm going to these prizes. When it comes out he would be right. It's a great publishing story. I mean you know we love gala. Kelly anti-beggar what they do and they published the book I think published a book brilliantly in the UK but but it's also published by Knopf in the US which choose life is the higher wrong on the publishing tree soon everything yeah to go from the wildest small press publishing into the world over the top flight. Yes it's been an extraordinary experience of eighty. The Great Sonny measure who still is still up north but that is that is publishing bay takes you a while to find a publisher united work with small presses and then you the book suddenly bursts onto onto the scene wins wins prizes gets amazing reviews and then the foreign deals fall into post. Yeah I mean it all happened in slightly. I'm roundabout Jigsaw Puzzle Way with me I think the book sold to not before the Desmond Elliott Prize they they bought it in August September October but it was very shortly after it came out in the UK Sunny Bush himself economic fan. I had the opportunity to work with him which it's been incredible so and it's also so we young is going to be a TV series right so you and also you publish Nov which means that you didn't want me to say this but let's state the facts you share publisher with tiny. Morrison it is true and feels like full circle in many ways because Sonny was actually an arbiter Pickett'll Buchan Day in the UK when I first read the love it at school so I think he had a hand and in bringing more than two tobacco in the UK and an book beloved was on the School Curriculum when I was doing my ate apples so that's how it came into my life and it just sold itself the language just sold itself into me like DNA because I I was taught it very well and years later obviously decades later basically when I met Sunny I just wanted to thank him for that moment and maybe something about what he likes in resonated through mine. I hope because I think you all what you read in many ways. You made a mere folks. Will we believe here. We'll come. We'll come on to that in relation to the boot. We're going to be on its relationship to the books but we're not quite there great. You might have guessed that the book Richie is here to talk to us today about his beloved by Tony Morrison First published in one thousand nine hundred seven by cannot Sunny Mesa and which went to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in one thousand nine hundred eighty eight among many other prizes and was controversially shortlisted but didn't win the National Book Award in Nineteen ninety-seven but in two thousand six the New York Times China's declared beloved the best work of American fiction of the previous ten years now. We just want to say to everyone listening that are starting point for talking about both beloved and Tony Morrison is is this that we all believe that beloved is one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century and and that Tony Morrison is the greatest living American writer and we believe it so strongly. It's not even an opinion. It's the starting think's going to be the starting point of this discussion so we're not going to be sitting here going issues good as Donna Lillo. It doesn't matter the book is important. She is is incredibly important. I feel both honored and intimidated having to talk about this particular blue but I'm so pleased the we decided to do with you because it's just a moist pace. Yes novel. Yes absolutely is and you know that feeling of being ordered unintimidated simulated did exactly right but at the same time she drowsy win to a sense of bliss almost now with the way she uses language and the way she constructs a sentence and the things that she can bury within that. It's like falling in love to aspect yeah well listening every so I thought I John. What have you been reading. I've been reading a really lovely collection of stories stories by a radical Lisa blow who is from stoke and it's called. It's gone dark over bills mothers which is a foul. I'm going to read a little bit which puts it in context is a collection of short pieces if you can think of a sort of Alan Bennett monologues in a lot of ways. They're they're really wonderfully funny. Wise a lot of the one thousand nine hundred eighty S. I think they were written over a period of ten years. Be Slow is featured in the anthology of working class writers that are managed just published a common common people edited by Kid Devil and she was one of the writers that that really stood out for me. She's she's published by myriad press. This is another excellent small press publishing and if you're interested in you know fish paste sandwiches and going on holiday and the you know your your likes sticking to the back of your you nine hundred seventy s car or all my interest one of the stories I love this. This story will drive in seventeen in seventeen views where seventeen different very short pieces about driving cars from there is a wonderful lovers are professor having an affair with the student which is brilliant and none of this is complicated challenging but she writes with a precision and a AH humor. The great stories are always about what isn't included as well as what's in and she's a she's actually I think a master of the form and I I just really I raced through reading reading really enjoyed it. Huge recommend it. I'm going to read you a little bit which is from a story called potluck which is a better better at classic. Classic sort of cafe are trying not to hope I get my kind of slightly kind of Midland's the accent right for it because it is a monologue is very much in that Alan Bennett. What can I get. You took sausage egg capacity. Don't worry you here now so you can stop looking at the floor. I welcome all lids that don't fit in spouse that don't bore who who told you about me though he looked familiar like I know you. Who's your mother does. She live on Warrington road. It's the is you see. I never forget a pair of eyes and you've got big eyes duck. They give you they give you away. I hope you don't mind me saying that. My Eyes like yours are sad stories. You tell them whether you like it or not. Now come on and get warm. That's it you need some sugar in that to your skin and bone but haven't gotten any food. Was that busy last week. You forgot what you need. Do I not get to choose. Can I get some of that. What am I supposed to do with kidney beans from number nine cheating on about the Veg- again rather frozen if you've got it took those carrots last month went black I said to next time time you took stuff out shuttling to me. I can make meals out of onions. She says well give five. No see what's on the turn cause some faces. Don't want you to see them. Make out like they. I don't know you win the settlements. I'd use school others. Turn out with a couple of shopping trucks next door's. Abyan verifies cheek. It's like there's a war on rationing all over again my mother would. I'd say if there's a man in the world they'll always be was a my father would go hester as long as this woman. That'd be men forget. It only took one woman to bring down a lifetime of men enough he'd go again. There was a time when you couldn't Emil in any decency without the potus from stoke proud of every dinner table. We were till those slow boats from China promised cheap. Cheap sheep can't grow a bloody teapot for toffee anymore. Four thousand kin's gone later and it's gone dark over bills mothers. Is You realize just how much daylight kilns it's letting it's just it's just lovely. He's the whole additions and it's gone dark over. BILLS BUILDS MOTHERS Andy. What have you been reading well when we went on our Guernsey many break. I felt like I was on holiday. I although we working I'm working hard but I did feel like it was it was really exciting to be backing Guernsey and so I thought I wanted to read was something that would be a a contrast to the we were there to discuss and also with Tony Morrison how is reading in preparation for this episode and so I chose a book that was published last Austria and which has just come out in paperback by Porac O'Donnell called the House on vesper sands now. Do you know anything about this noble. No right it sent in the winter of eighteen ninety three and as it Stoltze unclear what is going on what you know is that a seamstress mysteries has been invited into house in Mayfair that something isn't right that she has stitched something into her on skin and that before the chapter is out so spoilers on the first chapter she's committed suicide cranky and and this. This book got me within about six pages. Really you know I'm a fan on this podcast grunting away about the things he's having too much plot. I have a slightly queasy relationship with how I feel about plot. This is just the right amount of plots. You can put that on Makamba. House presents has just the right man. I thought it was absolutely wonderful a fantastic mixture of a detective novel and and a Ghost Story and a horror fiction and it seemed to me very consciously Porac O'Donnell is bringing in Wilkie Collins and Dickens and CONAN doyle not just in Sherlock Holmes Not GonNa read a bit in a minute with detective detective but also CONAN Doyle's interest in the paranormal in spiritualism is reflected in this book. It reminded me of the woman in black by Susan Hale it reminded me of the TV series Ripper Street John Young Roy so he has that really real energy and Sousse of Victorian Baroque but it's thrilling and stylish and it's also really funny. It has some really wonderful set pieces and then he manages to do that thing that I think lots of people trying to write this kind of noval would like to do but perhaps is more challenging than one might think that he's able to shift gear from the modes of storytelling quite brilliantly. I must say that you go from something which is making you laugh and then two pages lacy. I say you're absolutely horrified by what you're being presented with and really. It's a wonderful wonderful but never goes what you think is going to do it. Warden is a kind of Victorian Victorian so so so here's a little bit. This is a discussion between inspector cutter and a servant in the house where the seamstress has committed suicide. He is called Karoo but first we hear from Inspector Cutter Inspect Custody says now will you be an obliging obliging fellow and show us to the particular room in the upper part of the house where this misfortune occurred it was a room I take it and not a chimney or nest in the eaves for the good inspector inspector but I hope you will refrain from any further levity for you. Find us all greatly saddened. Waters occurred levity inspector cut his face darkened and and he clamped his hand for a moment over his jaw for an instant Gideon imagine that some predatory creature looked within a might burst from him at any moment like an unrooted Hawk from its perch levity. Will you tell me Carroo. Do you keep an eye to the newspapers tool on occasions as my duties permit it. Did you ever read the case of the children of doctors and John. The slow through the Jones carries is widened but he checked himself almost at once. I believe I saw some mention of it and do you recall how many children isn't Jones had and what ages were not to an exactness inspector. I would not have had the leisure to five there. Were five since John Children. The eldest was Antony a boy of thirteen and the youngest was Matilda. Matilda was a babe of fifty months and was still nurse at the time per day. Do you know how it is that I come to know that Noah inspector how could I you could naught and I will do you the kindness of keeping it from you for sure you it is a thing that would never leave you but I will tell you this much. I know their names and their ages I know the color of each one's hair and I could give you a litany of every scrap of clothing that was on them. It was I who made the photographic plates that was shown to the jurors. Since the Frenchman we depend upon in the normal course would come no further than the head of the stairs. Did you know carry that the adult take a small child of formed in her jaw long before the milk teeth and lost. I did not inspector yes. It's a remarkable thing they hidden away until recall for in a tiny imperfect ray the workings of nature a puzzle and I suppose I have been fortunate to have glimpsed them as others have not it but you may be certain of this much Karoo if I had any great store of Merriment when I went into that house and I suspect I had note if the truth be known then it was gone for me and Tali when I came out and it has never troubled me again so I I thoroughly enjoyed that. That's out in paperback. Many of you might be able to have a holiday this year if you do. I I strongly recommend the House on Vespa Sans Bright but now we have to move onto the main event which is beloved put by Toni Morrison. I thought maybe we would hear from Tony Morrison herself. We're going to hear from her a few times but I thought maybe she could read to us. This is from about fifty pages into the novel and it's where the character of beloved makes her first appearance. A fully dressed woman walked out of the water. She barely gained the dry bank of the stream before she sat down and leaned against a mulberry tree all day and all night. She sat there her head resting on the trunk in a position abandoned enough to crack the Bram in her straw hat everything hurt but her lungs most of all sopping wet and breathing shallow. She spent spent those hours trying to negotiate the weight of her eyelids. The day breeze blew her dress dry the night when wrinkled it nobody saw her emerge or came accidentally by if they had chances are they would have hesitated before approaching her not because she was wet or dozing or had what sounded like asthma but because middle that she was smiling it took her the whole of the next morning to lift herself from the ground and make her way through the woods past giant. Temple of Boxwood to the field and in the yard of the slate gray house exhausted again she sat down on the first hand he place a stump not far from the steps of one twenty four by then keeping her eyes open was less of an effort she she could manage it for a full two minutes more her neck. Its circumference no wider that policy service saucer kept the bending and her Chen brushed the bit of lace edging her dress prissy. I mean we're all sitting here. sleigh stunned by actually hearing that read aloud what are the qualities of Toni Morrison's pros that you can hear just in that one paragraph well when I listen to that power groff. I'm listening for all of the things make her work and her sentences in her language so exciting and you know what she's doing that is she's compressing language and distilling language to multiple meanings in every sentence so when you have this idea of the trunk then you're thinking not just about the tree trunk but you're thinking about the body parts of the body that we call the trunk so then you imagine that this young woman with this huge effort drags herself to this. House this mysterious young woman she sits down on the first thing she sees an. It's a tree stump so that part of her body which is trump actually becomes the next part of the tree and it's done so carefully and soaked easily and so beautifully it just happens at the back lack of your brain as a reader you just take that in and you just read. Is that somehow this the writer who can vote how much how much the human world and the natural world just few fused together then this will say this idea that this trunk has been that she's sitting on a stump a trie and that is his just exactly what her own story is. I don't want to ruin it for readers. You haven't read the book but it's a ghost story and this young woman has has had a violence done to her. She's grown out of into the ghost which has to do with axes and cuttings and of course the tree is very resonant in the context of this novel. It's the slavery novel. It's a place where a tree can be both the site of great an awful violence against is black bodies where bodies hung and it can also be something very sheltering and that idea of the tree and reclaiming the shelter the tree becoming something that takes nurture is is part of this book. It's ingrained in this book so it's got a lot of the layers of meaning Tony Morrison never ever straight from connecting the body through its experiences what she shows us to material objects either so when she talks about this neck as the size of a saucer we're in the parlor with something balancing really eighty gently and this such dread in the idea of the axe and this trembling and it's all there in that tiny paragraph that we just Harry I I read this novel in two thousand six and I read it as one of the books for for my uh-huh dangerously and I can remember reading that specific paragraph which is one of the reasons why we heard it. They're thinking how in a way preceived just explained it really anyway anyway was how is she doing that. How is she marrying lyricism and horror horror which one of those things is making the has on the back of my neck stand up on end. Is it both at the same time it probably is and and one of the things I think about beloved specifically and I suppose Toni Morrison's writing in general it is that she manages through Croft and genius. Yes to create a voice acid several things that shouldn't work together that she makes work together. I think one of the most important things that she does is she remembers. How naming can be subversive you know and in every way that she gives us an idea of something she uses that idea to to find the uncanny in its own self so so when we hear that paragraph we hear here that it's not because this young woman looks sleepy or she's dozing. It's not because she's Pale. She's wet it's because she's smiling and the smile is that thing that brings the horror to that paragraph because we are trained socially to think of smiles welcoming. It's something that we want to be part of this this judge Roy but it's it's. It's intensely private. It's a smile saying I know more than you at. I'm coming to get you so you know it too and there is no escape from that and by you. You will also mean the reader we do. You know this idea that she since this about lungs as well. I think is really important. The pain and how long's is the worst pain of all and so I'm thinking when I'm hearing that is oh it's because because she's been gasping for breath because she's trying to tell this story that is just submerged under layers and layers of history and silencing in censorship and this is a kind of metaphor for the whole but creedy passage catches it beautifully. The simplest scenes are as you say these multi-layered right so you the book never relaxes no way. You can't read this book. You simply cannot read this book quick tree. I've read a lot of criticism of it which is people haven't liked the beloved character because he it gets to supernatural and then I've read other criticism saying oh no. It's perfectly possible that this is a case of mistaken identity. That doesn't seem to me to be what the what she's doing doing is creating that space that charge space where you you can't choose because she's not letting you choose making both possibilities simultaneously. Ashley Happen. It's both as you say it's both the horror but also the sense of the feeling that you have towards beloved of wanting to wanting to love her wanting to mother I'm wanting to is at the same time. I'm going to read the blur yet from the back of the film tie in edition the issue with Oprah Winfrey. It's Jonathan Demme's Johnson. It is the mid eighteen eighteen hundreds at sweet home in Kentucky. An ear is ending a slavery comes under attack from the ABOLITIONISTS. The worlds of Halle and pull cul de ought to be destroyed in a cataclysm of torment and agony the world of Sethar. However is the term from one of love to one of violence and death. The death of Cephas baby beloved whose name is the single world on the tombstone who died at her mother's hands and who will return to claim retribution retribution. Wow thank you very I facing society. It actually says whose name is the a single world on the tombstone so it's not even GonNa copy edited that's three and a half to four out of ten blurb swear on his airway because it was fucking old but I mean just going back to this idea. Reversal the reversal. She affects very easily through language sweet home. Is this save tation that the that the characters in this novel off have fled and we catch up with them decades later when when they've they've had more tumor in their lives that obviously as police as it wasn't sweet and it certainly wasn't home so all the time in every way she subverting these ideas of what we think and of course the idea the sweetness absolutely connects to sugar which is the great colonial colonial slave product so which could not have happened without slave ships the slave ship. which is the books that was from you know if you have if you've seen that impressive cross-section horrific cross section of the slave ship the brooks very famous just sales through this tax folks all the way like a haunting? It's a history of place haunting and time hunting and bodies and that have already suffered traumatic violence. It's delicious. The here's a clip of Tony Morrison talking about most of these clips taken from an amazing nineteen nineteen ninety two interview that she did with Charlie rose for when jazz came under novel Jazz and this is a this is a clip about how how it was to to Royce about slavery and the slave trade slavery stuff was terrible because it's not it's one thing to sort of know historically abstract conceptually generally what it was like but imagining that lie which is sort of intermediate very fundamentally is very very difficult for me and the only thing that made it really possible to stay there. Was this little things. It's knowing that you couldn't see your husband in the daytime only at night only when the son was sacked those people worked from sunup to sundown the only only that made it possible for me was thinking well. I didn't have to do it. I just had to imagine it. Site can't be too self-regarding in in precious about all that if they could do it. I could write about it. I get tough analogy. You pretty booked with you by Toni Morrison Person. She was talking about a company to yourself regarding and you've robocalled the source of self regard which is the US tart for booklets available in the U. K. As love food blog right yes this is the nearest edition of selected essays speeches and meditations that Tony Morrison has made and there's a few paragraphs in which I have a sort of manifesto for myself and in many ways I think it's important for me to say that why beloved meant so much to me not just because of the brilliance of the language but because it reversed the gates I grew up in a very in a in a small town on the white outside of a small town had an Indian population but it was on the other side of town and there's a clause aspect to that it was like lower middle-class new build a state where I grew up in a man on the other the side I was the the working class Indian but when I was at school I was very much a minority and to read this book was was like having permission to realize that was another side to myself because it was the nearest access one hut to thinking talking about how you could claim your own story. It is so powerful because part of the message of the book is that this language can allow allow for critique of racial difference it must make a critique of racial difference and so here is Toni Morrison talking about some of those things it's Mitch Optical the trouble with Paradise. I want to begin my meditation on the trouble with Paradise with some remarks on the environment in which I work and in which many writers also work the construction of race `and hierarchy have a powerful impact on expressive language Justice Figurative Interpretive Language impact powerfully on the construction of a racial racial society the intimate exchange between the atmosphere of racism and the language that asserts raises manipulates or transforms it is it is unavoidable among fiction writers who must manage to hold and unblinking gaze into the realm of difference and so it's that unblinking gaze that can be done so lyrically in this book which really is just something that WanNa spy as to as a writer. Ah I think one of the things that is interesting about Tony Morrison as a writer novelist about beloved as well picking up on what you were saying. There is the way that her project is attempting to reverse black guys walling gauging with the literary Canon at the same time Ryan's. Yes very exciting. I mean for me. This is absolutely modernist misspoke and its modernist because it uses it's sort of experimental in that sort of reverse fault faulkner a love it and you know it's. It's many voices in it. It's got its sort of poetic figurative language. It is not something that you can categorize post colonial novel or slavery novel belongs folks in Canon of Modernism Modernism declarable movement and this is absolutely party that great point really. I've got the last the ending of as by it's review when this was published in the UK is by reviewed it and she said she she describes it. As she says this noble gave me nightmares and yet I sat up late paradoxically smiling to myself with intense pleasure at the exact beauty of the singing pros it's an American masterpiece and one which moreover in a curious way reassesses all the major novels of the time in which it is set. That's true it's Melville Hawthorne Poe wrote Riddling allegories about the nature of evil the hunting of unappeased spirits the inverted opposition of blackness and Whiteness Tony Morrison has with planes and grace ice and terror and judgment solve the riddle and showed us the world which haunted bears printed. I that is over peace with Turkey Morrison's lectures which were collected a book called playing in the dog which he said if you ever read this these sorts of this incredible investigation of particularly Ernest Hemingway saying what defines hemingway's Ming wise work and many White Royces K. through as well is the inability to look at the black element of the society in which they were. I think it's moral fading I actually think it's immoral failing and unethical fading and for writers. It's an aesthetic failing not to do that and you know this book is about something for young women which we just don't let enough for Young Black Black Women Brown women women of colors. We are now known no ourselves as in a wider world that you are your own best thing. It is such a powerful sentence. It is such an exact sentence to say down a lineage of violence. That's been perpetrated traded on the body of the women of color. You are your own best thing and there's a wholeness to that so it's actually very hopeful book. I think we have ten yards and commenting on you're finding out answers to these incredible questions that seem to me had never been put subtly and if they had been they had never the language had not manifested. I wanted the language to be what the question was I. I wanted the language to simply hold it. I started my career with the Blue Star of putting the entire pot on the first page. Wjr The whole story for you so the reader read the first page. He knows exactly what happened and if he turns the page is because he wants either to find find out how it happened. He loves the language and you hope for both of those now for both right right I mean are we just going to ten inches recalled play. If you'll allow me I'd like to meet for yourself guards and and this is what she talks about the aesthetics of what she's doing. I'm so powerfully she says I suppose I approached the politics versus art race versus assist aesthetics debate initially way an alchemist would looking for that combination of ingredients that turns dross into gold but there is no such formula Mila so my project became to make the historically raced weld inextricable from the autistic few that beholds it and in doing so encourage readings that dissect both which is to say I claim the right and the range of ownership to interrupt journalistic history with a metaphorical one and to impose on a rhetorical history and majestic one to read the world misread it right an unrated to enact silence and free speech. Wjr In short to do what all writers aspire to do. I wanted my work to be the work of disabling the art versus politics argument to perform the Union of Aesthetics and ethics at that is what she does in beloved June. When did you ask you. When did you first read it. I read it about twenty years ago. I read a lot of twentieth century. American male writers particularly absolutely what my rises reading Tony Ernie Morrison was the Fulton was the one that I was most interested in because he was I think he was modernised and he was what he did with form was so interesting and he is his language was but it was that moment when you realize that he would somebody doing something as well as altman but just the resonance and the the precision of her language what it was exactly what you're saying I can't go back now and read those writers tour's without Tony Without Maternity Morrison's voice in what Tony that's why for me I think she she is the most important riser of of the Second Second Half of the twentieth century to write a great modernist novel is not many people who've done it and and she's she's done at least three times beloved was the one the one I read first and then I when I read jazz when it came out and I've I've read some of Solomon but beloved is still the one that I go back to. I just might read a tiny little bit from allowed to you know what she can do and I love you know I'm always interested in how people use nature and relationship with the natural world in fiction. This is as good as I think. honestly gets in infection. This is after is has just given birth to the baby that that we later know as as Denver with with amy the white go helping the baby whimpered in south looked twenty inches of cord hung from its belly and it trembled in the cooling evening air amy raptor skirt around it and the wet sticky women clambered ashore to see what indeed God had in mind great sentence spoils of Blue fern growing in the holidays on the riverbank flow toward the water and silver blue lines hard to see unless you're in or near them lying right at the river's edge when the sun shots are loewen drained often they mistook for insects but they are sees in which the whole generation sleeps confident of a future and for a moment it is easy to believe each one has one will become all of what is contained in the spore will live at its days as planned this moment of certainty last no longer than that longer perhaps than the spore itself on a riverbank in the cool of summary evening to women struggled under a shower silvery blue. They never expected to you see each other again in this world and at the moment couldn't care less but they're on a summer night surrounded by blue and they did something together appropriately and in well a patroller passing would have sniggered to see to throw away people to lawless outlaws as slave and a barefoot white woman with unpaid hat. Ah wrapping a ten minute old baby in the racks they will but no paint roller came and no preacher the water sucked and swallowed itself beneath them. There was nothing to disturb them at their work so they did it appropriately and well exclusionary descriptions of what Sisterhood should be I've ever read. It doesn't matter about race. It doesn't matter about background who's free and WHO's unfree spoils sports generations to write about nature. Yes the whole that whole thing about having a plan which is central inch to the book everything. You won't fiction to everything you want. You hope it can do ever that what you're saying about the art politics the sixth thing that she was writing about that that she can dissolve that into into into language like this into storytelling this. I think he's worth making the point as well. The when beloved was first published it was perceived as being an important book Toni Morrison's Best Book if you look at the reviews at the time that they are l. mostly extremely positive describe as mouthpiece as we pull away from it. Though you think you can see the the effects of this novel you know for a classic to be a classic. We can debate. What makes classic you you know what's interesting about this as you can see that it has a political and social effect the ripples beyond the literary world you know it takes on properties and qualities that one would aspire to as a Roy Sir who has set set herself that project but to watch it go out in the world and change the historical narrative of the historical view of slavery which is unquestionably beloved has done. Is An amazing social achievements says amazing but it is. Also you know when when you were talking about Faulkner's thing he no. I haven't read faulkner actually to be honest and it's not a it's not something I'm going to seek out. I I will eventually but I would never think she's doing as what is folk ner. I would always think is this is Terry Morrison. That's my center the more anti she makes but yet Morrison would put herself in that lineage as if to say. Why shouldn't I do the right so this is what I mean about her work. Being a literary project as much as a social project stopped point Antonio Violent makes exa about the re writing the novels of the Great American novels written by White Men in the nineteen th century that's quite a thing to take on to Wrestle Melville and win ploy to someone he wrote in lots of ways in which her centering her self on her to think she wanted to say and the way she sees the world in in this book inspired me not not just sort of she is a tree in a way thank the tweet it said writers. Doing things want to descend things can take takes strength from can shelter from in the that. She's that she's put down have have yielded so much. This is Toni Morrison talking about the what the starting point for beloved was. What was the seed of beloved. The question was cou is the beloved who is the a person who lives insiders those the one you can trust who was best thing you are in that instant for that segment because because I had planned several books around that theme it was the effort of a woman to love her children to raise children to be responsible for her children and the fact that it was doing slaving made all of those things impossible for her and there was this interesting historical incident you know the Marg regarded Gonda story in which that actually happened there was a great deal of enshrined in order to prevent her from living a life. She believes it'd be intolerable. But that's her clean kind of control as she was trying to exercise in order to be simply a mother and that the best I think she was was this lovely child or these children and of course that set her on very complicated self destructive attorney but the question was still there and the answer is the other question. That's delivered is when somebody asks her. Oh Oh tells her no. No you are your best. You are which is what you were saying. It's amazing but when I listened to that I'm actually thinking about something else which I have Moldova in the last two three years and it's interesting to me that this book cuza quote from Oprah Outrage on the buck because the things happen to these women these women who have been enslaved are a true fact act that women's babies were taken away from them that they were used as ways of making families they didn't say in how they were to bring up their children absolutely absolutely horns safer and that's why she is so determined to do what she does so no one else will wade had children. I like to say something if I may about and so when we do about listed I normally try and read or reread the we're talking about by also read at least one other book by the author because because I cannot not have this opportunity we have the opportunities to just steep ourselves for fortnight in arises work so I read the Bluest only for the first time I read Song of Solomon and Subaru as well and I read the the Blue Vest on might wish to the blue. I'm glad talking about beloved because it's fantastic and we're and is so rich for discussion but what's incredible about in watching how Morrison develops as a novelist is and she doesn't publish till she's he's thirty nine forty that she says she has been editor. is this something nothing really visceral about. The Blue is star. We talked about Gail Jones and her nor correggio door on about listed last year we search will Tony Morrison editor Correggio the difference nobles but they have a similar kind cloning of energy about the need to be born actually if the bluest was published on its own and she'd never have done anything else will still be a really significant book the difference in craft between the bluest which is almost like kind of Pinta vomiting of that something needed to be said by the time you get to beloved. She's become this incredibly sophisticated narrative storyteller storyteller. Just let's get on the record the opening paragraph the bluest because as a pros is it hard to beat. This is how this book Stoltze nuns go boy has gone as lost I am I thought even the rest of the pirate off right but anyway nuns go by is quite as lost and drunken men with it's sober is sitting in the lobby of the Greek Hotel Moreau's Revilla Nucci our next to a friend who lives above her father's cafe sits in nineteen insist buick eating bread and butter. She rolls down the window to tell my sister freedom may that we can't come in we stare at her wanting in her bread but more than that wanting to poke the arrogance out of her eyes and smash the pride of ownership the curls her chewing mouth when she comes out out of the car we will beat her up make red marks on her white skin and she will cry and ask us. Do we want her to pull her pants down. We will say yeah. I know we don't know what we should feel do if she does but when ever she asks us we know she's offering something precious and that our own pride. Loyd must be asserted by refusing to accept. That's just the opening of the book a book incidentally that still appears every year in the top ten list of books novels schools in the United States America. We're trying to better yeah well because there is something so subversive about a project of love like this and I feel like all of her work. Is this project. A to make us heal wounds to make us be honest about our interconnectedness and our histories. It is such a subversive project to say this. A heart is a story about love but I I'm going to make you feel pain and the pain that you're responsible for society and in yourself. We have a clip pair. I think this is the last one this is clip number five now. This is quite long but stick with everyone is just been asked. You've won the Nobel Prize for fiction. Do you still encounter encounter racism and the issues of race in your life. Yes I do Charley but let me tell you. That's the wrong question. And how do you feel not you charlie were but don't you understand that the people who do this thing who practice racism awesome are bereft. There is something distorted about the psyche. It's a huge waste and it's a corruption shen and a distortion. It's like it's a profound roses that nobody examines for what it is. It feels crazy. It is crazy and it leaves. It has just as much of a deleterious effect on white people and possibly equal. There's people I always knew that I had the moral high ground all my life. I always thought those people who said I couldn't come in the drugstore and I had to sit in his place that could go in the bar and I saw knew that I knew that they were inferior to me morally. I always thought that my parents always thought that but if if the racist white person I don't mean the person who is examining his consciousness listen so on doesn't understand that he or she is also a race. It's also constructed. It's also made and it also has some Kinda service ability but when you take it away a take your race away and there you are all strung out and all you got is your little self and and what is that. What are you without racism. I I still strong still smart. You still like yourself. I mean these these are the questions it's part of it. Is Yes the victim. How terrible is fit for black? I'm not a victim. I refuse to be one. A few can only be tall because somebody's on their knees then you have a serious problem and my feeling is white people have a very very very serious problem and they should start thinking about what they can do about it. Take me out of it. Then give white people some free advice all in my books this question his his who thinks of themselves as superior why how this works undermined security and showed up to be this fragile oil veneer is so easily broken by a confidence of self hurt of Corsi of owning a space because you can an e should that is something that it's you if we could only teach our young people that if if I had had that and I got it from these books you know it wasn't lost on me that everywhere I went the people who were Brown with doing the serving and the people who were teaching doing that with the white ones the ones on television or all of those things and what does cut due to your sense of self in world. How do we begin to understand that if you were thinking your superior someone someone else is thinking that you're not if someone says to me. Oh you know you're the you're the token person here yeah and that does happen to me. I think okay that mean t wall to it's as simple as that you simply can't have a token person without everyone else that being a token person to being there because of their race and their identities entities simply doesn't affect me. It's because at the end of the day I have language Kiosk Kushner sniff of year. Do you think this right. We feel don't we that. Tony Morrison articulates something that had needed to be articulated for longtime on how much of that is her era being channel through her and how much is her her and her personality deeming era sort of when she was writing these books and certainly when I read Song of Solomon that felt like so I can know from the nineteen seventies it has a certain kind of magical realist thing going on which fields obits or in a way beloved doesn't I have to say but I'm wondering fishy comes up through the kind of the the era of the mid to late sixties civil unrest in the states she she she has a great success with an amazing book called the Blackbird in nine hundred seventy four which she edited which is a collection of clippings and writings do the identity of black Americans up to that point and I. I'm wondering how much of her is her success success. He's not her. Importance is as a productivity era and how much is of her personality force of personality housing what it takes an enormous amount of strength to be the person that people want to support. I mean who is who who is deciding what is success and I'm what is significant. That is the brought that she's trying to always break here. That is the kind of disease that she's always trying to show itself to itself self because if your society is trained to believe that only this kind of writing it's in this kind of history category of high art it then you know and you have to be this incredibly strong person to say. Actually I'm doing my thing and you can take or leave it. The center will come to me and I had confidence in in your own voice in your own well. Can you earn right to do you're doing like he said she started writing thirty nine forty so so take a long time for her to to begin to work into the world and she was already working in publishing she she says a brilliant thing winging somewhere about how the sense which she's channeling jazz she's telling jazz both in the the musicality of the pros she says but also had jazz foam the carries. American blackness within need even though there's good jazz in Japan she says yeah and that's what she wants her writing and by extension black American rising to be and so does it matter what a jazz critic who is from not that background or even is from that background but his thinking in different ways thinks of the jaws. Does it really matter no. She says it doesn't she she says because because it carries it has not been compromise. I came back to this. Burton and the other books are tiny Morrison a bread before foolish upside thinking it's so it's such a pleasant change on buses to have something that is so so undeniably great that he hasn't been neglect right. Yeah I mean we talk about but but this is this is the force of this is couldn't be back right choice as three but I think what what the product of her work is trying to say. Is that we she liked again with these reversals and undermining in the book she says an at times through the book this is not a story to pass on because she wants the story to be passed on so everything has to be taken in double double and he's also making a river and she's also making a tree and he's also making world and that should be populated by writers who were doing similar things not just one. Tony Morrison who is raising Tony Morrison then she wants us to populate this world with stories that had not been told that have not been heard edge she saying don't shut the door on these voices again and that's why we must leave wiser chastened reminded of Ubuntu Great Arts full all of questions full of questions deep and heartfelt thanks to preach for choosing such a great book to the keeper of Sounds Nikki Birch and to unbound host patron. You can download all ninety four of our shows plus fully linked clips and suggestions for further reading by visiting our website battling. Fm and you can contact just on twitter facebook and boundless and before you do that feel free sleeves review in June's makes us happy and happiness. is something nothing to cling to all. I didn't write like sold sold it very well. Thank you for listening. We'll be back in the front line hello.