"They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time." So begins this visionary work from a storyteller Newsweek hails as "the last classic American writer"; one who bas been called "a major figure of our national literature" (New York Review, of Books); and simply, "the best writer in America" (John Leonard). Toni Morrison's first novel since she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Paradise opens with a horrifying scene of mass violence and chronicles its genesis in an all-black small town in rural Oklahoma. Founded by the descendants of freed slaves and survivors in exodus from a hostile world, the patriarchal community of Ruby is built on righteousness, rigidly enforced moral law, and fear. But seventeen miles away, another group of exiles has gathered in a promised land of their own. And it is upon these women in flight from death and despair that nine male citizens of Ruby, will lay their pain, their terror, and their murderous rage.
In prose that soars with the rhythms, grandeur, and tragic arc of an epic poem, Toni Morrison challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she weaves folklore and history, memory and myth into an unforgettable meditation on race, religion, gender, and a far-off past that is ever present.