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Extended Audio Sample Paradise Audiobook, by Toni Morrison Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (11,450 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Toni Morrison Narrator: Toni Morrison Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9780307577870
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“They shoot the white girl first. With the others they can take their time.”

Toni Morrison’s first novel since she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature opens with a horrifying scene of mob violence then chronicles its genesis in a small all-black town in rural Oklahoma. Founded by descendants of free slaves as intent on isolating themselves from the outside world as it once was on rejecting them, the patriarchal community of Ruby is built on righteousness, rigidly enforced moral law, and fear. But seventeen miles away, another group of exiles has gathered in a promised land of their own. And it is upon these women in flight from death and despair that nine male citizens of Ruby will lay their pain, their terror, and their murderous rage …

Paradise is a tour de force of storytelling power, richly imagined and elegantly composed. Morrison challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she weaves folklore and history, memory and myth, into an unforgettable meditation on race, religion, gender, and the way a society can turn on itself until it is forced to explode.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A fascinating story, wonderfully detailed. . . . The town is the stage for a profound and provocative debate. Los Angeles Times
     
  • Morrison [is] a master storyteller. . . . She is at the height of her imaginative powers. New York Daily News
  • Everything is resonant here: the most casual gestures are informed by the facts and myths of genders and race, by our notions of civilization and lawlessness, body and spirit, Christianity and witchcraft. Morrison’s lyrical prose displays great confidence in her readers’ intelligence, demands their unflagging attention, and rewards them generously—with a memorable work of epic range and monumental ambition. People
  • “Morrison has brought it all together: the poetry, the emotion, the broad symbolic plan.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • Morrison has brought it all together: the poetry, the emotion, the broad symbolic plan. The New York Times Book Review
  • Stunning. . . . Morrison at her novelistic best. The New Yorker
  • Morrison dazzles. The Nation
  • Toni Morrison is an extraordinarily good writer. Two pages into anything she writes one feels the power of her language and the emotional authority behind that language. The Village Voice
  • Morrison is at the top of her form. . . . Impressive, eloquent, and powerfully imagined. The Baltimore Sun
  • Morrison is a terrific storyteller. . . . Her writing evokes the joyful richness of life. Newsday
  • A breathtaking, risk-taking major work that will have readers feverishly, and fearfully turning the pages. Kirkus Reviews
  • [A] triumph. . . . The individual stories of both the women and the townspeople reveal Morrison at her best. Publishers Weekly (starred)
  • A 1998 New York Times Notable Book for Fiction
  • An Oprah’s Book Club Selection

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 2/17/2014

    " One of my favorite books! I enjoyed going back to reread the story with the new information I had discovered. Needless to say, it took me a while to actually finish. I could see that some people might have difficulty getting through it. Although I didn't find it slow in the least bit, I could see that being an issue. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lora Wait | 2/6/2014

    " quit a 2nd time. done trying. did not like this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dana | 1/27/2014

    " Pretty good. Not really sure why "Oprah's Book Club" is in the TITLE. I'm not a member of her club. I swear. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennie | 1/25/2014

    " Weird book but really good "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sarah Stew | 1/22/2014

    " Paradise is probably toni morrison's weakest book. The tone of the book was way too didactic. In this novel, Morrison attempts to explore the concept of paradise and what it means to different people. However, in accomplishing this goal, Morrison sacrifices subtlety for making a point. For example, the novel opens with a group of men from an all-black town attacking a convent of sorts (i.e. female autonomy is a threat to a male paradise, etc.) Majorly disappointing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzq | 1/19/2014

    " I read Beloved many years ago and don't recall enjoying it as much as this one. I may pick up another Morrison novel now... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adi | 1/17/2014

    " The story is, by far, the most complex of all Morrison's books. it is awesome, though it is frustrating to understand. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 kot | 12/29/2013

    " One of my favorite books. Ever. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 K C | 12/28/2013

    " Incredibly written and intriguing. Unforgettable but disturbing characters. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lyn | 12/11/2013

    " Probably the worst book I ever read, although I did finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kellyann | 12/10/2013

    " Reading this book was a profound religious experience. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nan | 12/3/2013

    " Her writing is so beautiful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 10/27/2013

    " I've read it three times through, and I still don't have it all figured out. A complex read to keep all the characters straight, but worthwhile. A story unlike others I've read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Carla | 3/27/2013

    " I did not like this at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather Jean | 3/16/2013

    " Her other books are better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 DuBois J | 2/26/2013

    " Favorite book by her. From the first sentence of the book, it hooks you. Love all the characters and where they all end up, how they end up together. Love the setting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maia | 12/31/2012

    " "They shoot the white girl first." Such a powerful book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vanessa | 6/16/2012

    " Absolutely beautifully written, but still hard to read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Molly | 1/29/2012

    " Had some trouble with this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric Wohlstadter | 11/28/2011

    " Such beautiful writing, so suspenseful, and yet I would have liked the ending to be a bit clearer and more satisfying. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 10/18/2011

    " Fantastic. I really should read it again, because it's so complex. From the first sentence, you're hooked. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kerry | 9/30/2011

    " Started this but couldn't find enough in it to keep me engaged. Since I'm such a slow reader thought it best I dump it, even though I know she suc h a good writer. Oh well.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angie | 5/18/2011

    " Every book of Morrison's I've read is unforgettable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angel | 5/4/2011

    " My favorite Toni Morrison book, I read it in undergrad and I still remember it clearly. Maybe I'll read it again too! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Terra | 4/5/2011

    " Lovely; Morrison never seems to disappoint me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Genevieve | 3/25/2011

    " I can't get into this one, too spooky and it's making me lose sleep. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 2/6/2011

    " I need crib notes to figure it all out! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ginny | 1/12/2011

    " One of the best first lines ever...'they shoot the white girl first' I think Morrison deserves something for that. I also like the woven narrative style; the threads dipping in and out and peeking through the surface just when you've decided on another focus. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laya | 1/10/2011

    " I took me at least two readings to "get" this book. But once I did, I loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jodie | 12/27/2010

    " An amazing novel. I remember reading it as it was released along with Oprah's Book Club for a class at CSUSM with Dr. Cassel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alisa | 12/11/2010

    " This is another one that takes a bit of getting into, but then once you do, you are easily captivated by these people and their stories, particularly the women of The Convent. "

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About the Author
Author Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and a Pulitzer Prize. She is the author of several novels, including The Bluest Eye; Beloved, which was made into a major film; and Love. She is the Robert F. Goheen Professor Emeritus at Princeton.