Love

Eleanor Birne writes:

Last year I went to the South Bank to hear Toni Morrison read from this novel. The event was sold out many weeks in advance. I got there early and watched the place fill up with middle-aged white women in twin-sets accompanied by teenage daughters in ripped jeans, young black women in groups of three or four in dark business suits or bright headscarves, smart Indian couples and Rasta men, one of them carrying his son on his shoulders. At 7.30 a hush fell on the hall. The organiser gave a short, breathless speech; and then the crowd was up on its feet to watch Toni Morrison glide onto the stage. The audience applauded everything. They applauded when she announced that her son was in the room, and then the son stuck up his hand and the crowd cheered and clapped some more. They fell into a reverent silence when she read a long passage from Love, then leaped back to their feet at the end of it. It was frightening to witness.

(LRB 19 August 2004)

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