A Mercy, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)

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BY THE NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR OF BELOVEDOn the day that Jacob, an Anglo-Dutch trader, agrees to accept a slave in lieu of payment for a debt from a plantation owner, little Florens's life changes irrevocably.

With her keen intelligence and passion for wearing the cast-off shoes of her mistress, Florens has never blurred into the background and now at the age of eight she is uprooted from her family to begin a new life with a new master.

She ends up part of Jacob's household, along with his wife Rebekka, Lina their Native American servant, and the enigmatic Sorrow who was rescued from a shipwreck.

Together these women face the trials of their harsh environment as Jacob attempts to carve out a place for himself in the brutally unforgiving landscape of North America in the seventeenth century. Winner of the PEN/Saul Bellow award for achievement in American fiction

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This novel is at times difficult to follow, especially to begin with and especially while you are still settling into the characters' different voices - but the good news is that it bears a second reading. The plot is rather wandering, or at least rather diffuse and hard to pin down - but not in a bad way, because somehow that doesn't seem important until you try and explain what the book is actually about. Such things might put you off, but despite or perhaps because of these bits and pieces, the whole turned out to be rather wonderful. Also, I'm sure, important.

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