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Backstage: Tony Morrison in Conversation with Fran Lebowitz: LIVE Shorts

November 12, 2008

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Tony Morrison in Conversation with Fran Lebowitz, LIVE from the NYPL Lite, November 12, 2008. Nobel Prize recipient Toni Morrison and Fran Lebowitz explore together how the broad strokes of history impact the personal choices of the individuals caught in historys reach. In her works, Morrison uses fantasy, a sinuous poetic style, and a rich interweaving of the mythic in her writing to reveal the black American experience. She tells the stories of her characters and their struggle to find themselves and their cultural identity in an unjust society.

A Mercy, Morrison's ninth novel, uncovers what lies beneath the surface of slavery in an ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother abandoning her daughter in order to save her. Like her novel Beloved, the story takes place in the American past. Set in the 17th century northeast when the slave trade was in its infancy, her characters provide a detailed look at the social environment of religious persecution and racial hatred, and the class distinction that allowed the institution of slavery to take root in the U.S.