Sunday, May 6, 2012

Toni Morrison, Home

Home, Toni Morrison's new novel, will be released on Tuesday, May 8. Just in time to get on my summer reading list. Here's the first few paragraphs (below). You can follow the link to the excerpt to the audio clip read by Morrison and the print excerpt, disappointingly brief, that her publisher Random House posted on its website.

"They rose up like men. We saw them. Like men they stood.
Home, book cover
Home by Toni Morrison
We shouldn’t have been anywhere near that place. Like most farmland outside Lotus, Georgia, this here one had plenty scary warning signs. The threats hung from wire mesh fences with wooden stakes every fifty or so feet. But when we saw a crawl space that some animal had dug—a coyote maybe, or a coon dog—we couldn’t resist. Just kids we were. The grass was shoulder high for her and waist high for me so, looking out for snakes, we crawled through it on our bellies. The reward was worth the harm grass juice and clouds of gnats did to our eyes, because there right in front of us, about fifty yards off, they stood like men. Their raised hooves crashing and striking, their manes tossing back from wild white eyes. They bit each other like dogs but when they stood, reared up on their hind legs, their forelegs around the withers of the other, we held our breath in wonder. One was rust-colored, the other deep black, both sunny with sweat. The neighs were not as frightening as the silence following a kick of hind legs into the lifted lips of the opponent. Nearby, colts and mares, indifferent, nibbled grass or looked away. Then it stopped. The rust-colored one dropped his head and pawed the ground while the winner loped off in an arc, nudging the mares before him."

(Read or listen to the entire excerpt)