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Extended Audio Sample God Help the Child: A novel, by Toni Morrison Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Toni Morrison Narrator: Toni Morrison Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The new novel from Nobel laureate Toni Morrison

Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the center is a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish.

Booker is the man Bride loves and loses, whose core of anger was born in the wake of the childhood murder of his beloved brother.

Rain is the mysterious white child, who finds in Bride the only person she can talk to about the abuse she’s suffered at the hands of her prostitute mother.

Sweetness is Bride’s mother, who takes a lifetime to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Sly, savage, honest, and elegant…Morrison spikes elements of realism and hyperrealism with magic and mayhem, while sustaining a sexily poetic and intoxicating narrative atmosphere.”


  • “Toni Morrison is one of the gods who walk among us. A righteous, fearless teller of necessary truths…sensually written and commanding.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “Powerful…attests to her ability to write intensely felt chamber pieces that inhabit a twilight world between fable and realism and to convey the desperate yearnings of her characters for safety and love and belonging…Morrison works her narrative magic, turning the Ballad of Bride and Booker into a tale that is as forceful as it is affecting, as fierce as it is resonant.”

    New York Times

  • “Like a Picasso painting telling a story in a multidimensional series of superimposed snapshot as each character becomes ever more rounded and complete.”

    Independent on Sunday (London)

  • “Morrison has a Shakespearean sense of tragedy, and that gift imbues God Help the Child. The ending is exquisite, bringing to mind Gwendolyn Brooks’ wonderful lines: ‘Art hurts. Art urges voyages—and it is easier to stay at home.’”


  • “This haunting novel displays a profound understanding of American culture and an unwavering sense of justice and forgiveness.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “With a fairy-tale feel and mythic scope…and spare but powerful, the novel convincingly drives home the reluctant admission by Bride’s mother: ‘What you do to children matters.’”


  • “Brutality, racism, and lies are relieved by moments of connection in Morrison’s latest…A chilling oracle and a lively storyteller, Nobel winner Morrison continues the work she began forty-five years ago with The Bluest Eye.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “The strength of the novel—and it does indeed gain compelling strength—is that it becomes a swirl of deep emotions, sucking the reader in, which is good, because the point of the novel is to empathize as deeply as possible with what these characters experience.”


  • “Taking her time with her delivery, Morrison keeps to a pace and tone that suggest aging wisdom and lack of judgment—even as some of her characters act out their anxieties and impulsivity. She differentiates characters by changing her vocal tone and resonance.”


  • A BookPage Top Pick in Literary Fiction for May 2015
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month in Literary Fiction for April 2015
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2015 New York Times Book Review Notable Book
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