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Ravishingly beautiful and emotionally incendiary, Tar Baby is Toni Morrison’s reinvention of the love story. Jadine Childs is a black fashion model with a white patron, a white boyfriend, and a coat made out of ninety perfect sealskins. Son is a black fugitive who embodies everything she loathes and desires. As Morrison follows their affair, which plays out from the Caribbean to Manhattan and the deep South, she charts all the nuances of obligation and betrayal between blacks and whites, masters and servants, and men and women.
tray of smoked eels to the ground. “This place is closed,” she said to a would-be customer, “fermé, madame, fermé,” and packed up her eels, her folding camp stool and her wooden crate—none of which she would let him carry as they made their way up to the powder pink house. Thérèse laughed and chattered about the weather and her girlhood all the way but once in the house she became shy and formal, making him uncomfortable and unable to sit. To break the awkward atmosphere he initiated a pointed
Every time she comes down here you act out. I’m getting tired of refereeing everybody.” “The Principal Beauty of Maine is the main bitch of the prince.” “You worry me. Cut the fire out from under that pan and bring me my breakfast.” “I just want you to know I am not fooled by all that turkey and apple pie business. Fact is he don’t want to be nowhere near her. And I can’t say as I blame him, mother though she be.” “You making up a life that nobody is living. She sees him all the time in the
the left and looked right at Jadine. Turned those eyes too beautiful for eyelashes on Jadine and, with a small parting of her lips, shot an arrow of saliva between her teeth down to the pavement and the hearts below. Actually it didn’t matter. When you have fallen in love, rage is superfluous; insult impossible. You mumble “bitch,” but the hunger never moves, never closes. It is placed, open and always ready for another canary-yellow dress, other tar-black fingers holding three white eggs; or
fingers through his pockets. One of them looked at him and must have seen the disdain in Valerian’s eyes. He sneered at Valerian and said, “You don’t like us, do you?” “Gentlemen,” Valerian had replied, “I don’t know you.” It must have been that same antique grace that made him look at a raggedy black man who had been hiding in his wife’s closet (with rape, theft or murder on his mind) and say, “Good evening,” and offer him a drink. Then tell Sydney to prepare another place for “our guest.”
Maybe two.” “What are you doing that for?” He pointed at the pile of feathers on the floor. “That’s the way I got it.” “Call him. You want me to call him back here?” “No. I’m just about finished now.” “He knows better than that. Where is he?” Sydney moved toward the door. “Sit down, Sydney. Don’t bother yourself.” “I’m already bothered. I can’t run a house like this with everybody doing whatever comes to mind.” “Sit down, I say. Hen’s done.” He sat at the table and began sorting letters,