Book Review April 2022: RECITATIF by Toni Morrison

I have to start off by saying this is the only short story Tony Morrison ever wrote.

I was also remind you that in certain circles Tony Morris is not considered a scholar. But I will read Writer. We all writers should strive to be.

And in this particular book, this 88 pages of short story (which you can literally read or listen to you in about an hour on Audible), I am further mystified by her talent!

Although this story was written in the 80s, it has reserved and popularity. The thing that is most jaring about this particular book is all the familiar markers of race or any of the Scriptures about these two characters is gone!

I wish I was lying to you. In this particular book we have two characters (Twila and Roberta) Who have clearly tumultuous upbringings. But all the familiari we see from Morrison who wrote for us as black folk, you really can’t tell who is who!

There is clearly one white character and one black character but in this short story you cannot tell who is who no matter how closely you read.

From the intro from Zadie Smith, we see just what we’re into and in for! From this particular experiment, Morrison forces us as the reader to depend on our own experiences as we read to figure out why we class one character one way and the other character another way. And being honest with you, when I have first read this I made Twila Black— and when you read it, you may see why!

I can’t help but recommend that you read this story in a group setting. Whether that be a class, book club or book group, but you do not need to read this alone! You will have questions, comments, and concerns!

And I think that how you read this book, how you describe race to each character, will be indicative of just how you see the world. Don’t be afraid of it–lean into it.

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