Writing admin on 17 Jul 2012 10:30 am
My latest in Tehelka, Singing the Blues:
A book that I read recently, and which represents the achievement of voice, is Toni Morrison’s latest novel, Home. A short novel, hardly 150 pages long, it is the distillation of a lifetime of writing practice. Here is a voice that records violence in brief, brutal detail, and then, in a testament to human survival, finds honey in the rock.
Frank Money is Morrison’s protagonist in Home. He has survived, if only barely, the Korean War and come back to his segregated motherland. Each page reveals the shock of living in a society built on the exploitation of blacks. Reading the book at a time when the White House is occupied by a black president further heightens the pain of these discoveries instead of assuaging it. And yet, as steady as the cruel blows, are the comforts of community. The strength of conscience. The tender spark of love.
Piercing sorrow mixed with a sense of hope, or sometimes, only a keen appreciation of life’s bittersweet taste. Isn’t that the sublime truth of the blues?