Saturday, May 28, 2011

Anti-ist Art

 I have, for many years now, enjoyed the writing of author Toni Morrison. Her work, in general, is powerful stuff. It’s not for wimps. It is visceral and visual and challenging. It provokes the reader in complex ways. I could read her novel Beloved over and over. Reading this book is like watching a great dancer, at the top of their craft, or like listening to a great musician who plays effortlessly, demonstrating years of care and dedication.

The only book of hers I haven’t read yet is a book called “Paradise.” I was looking to find out a little about it online and came across an interview at Salon. The interviewer says: "Paradise" has been called a "feminist" novel. Would you agree with that?

Her response was this: Not at all. I would never write any "ist." I don't write "ist" novels.

I’m sure she would add -ism, -ian, and a few other suffixes to the list as well.

For me, that is one of the best responses she could have possibly given. And it’s true. While others have continuously tried to categorize and package her writing, to claim it for some cause, she forges ahead, past preconceptions, to speak with a totally original voice in a way that begs questions and makes the reader think. That is, if they are willing to think.

If only more artists would try to do the same.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011


  1. I read The Bluest Eye ever so long ago. I will try Beloved, looks like you recommend it.

  2. oohh she is fave is bluest eye. but havent read paradise, i'm gonna look it up on the kindle now.


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