, 1998 - Fiction
- 318 pages
This guide is intended to enhance your group's reading of Toni Morrison's Paradise, the powerful and extraordinary new novel by the Nobel Prize-winning author of Song of Solomon and Beloved. It is the 1970s, and the tiny, self-sufficient all-black town of Ruby, Oklahoma, has reached a crisis of conviction. Tracing its origins to the efforts of a strong and spiritual community of ex-slaves, Ruby prides itself on its uncompromising independence from the larger world. But the vicissitudes of the Sixties, from the Civil Rights movement to the Vietnam War, the counterculture to the generational conflict, inexorably touch Ruby and disturb its self-imposed isolation. In the scrubland outside of Ruby is an old Convent in which five women live, each seeking refuge and deliverance from a grim past. As the townspeople begin to lose their own convictions and succumb to the uncertainties of the times, they come to identify these unknown women with evil, and to use the Convent as a scapegoat for the anger and conflict that have overtaken their town. Tensions between the two communities rise, culminating inevitably in an act of violence; yet Paradise, finally, is a story of redemption, of forgiveness, and of renewal. In the intensity of its portrayal of human complexity and motivations, in the sweep of its historical scope, in the beauty of its language and in the generosity of its vision, Paradise is a boundless treasure of a book, a masterpiece.