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Tar Baby

Written by: Toni Morrison
Narrated by: Desiree Coleman
Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©1982 Toni Morrison (P)2011 Random House

What the critics say

“Deeply perceptive. . . . Return[s] risk and mischief to the contemporary American novel.” (John Irving, The New York Times Book Review)
“Toni Morrison has made herself into the D. H. Lawrence of the black psyche, transforming individuals into forces, idiosyncrasy into inevitability.” ( New York)
“Arresting images, fierce intelligence, poetic language . . . One becomes entranced by Toni Morrison’s story.” ( The Washington Post)

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  • BL
  • 2011-12-10

So good that I'm writing my first Audible review!

I've enjoyed Morrison's *Beloved* and *The Bluest Eye* for years, but hadn't heard of *Tar Baby* until recently. Now that I've listened to *Tar Baby*, though, it's quickly replaced *The Bluest Eye* as my favorite Morrison text!

*Tar Baby* is a rich, complex love story that explores many questions, particularly those of race solidarity, heritage, and trauma. Valerian Street, a rich white retiree, lives on a tiny island in the Caribbean with his troubled younger wife, Margaret, as well as two faithful old servants, Sydney and Ondine—both black. Sydney and Ondine have long acted as guardians for their orphaned mixed-race niece, Jadine Childs, now 25 years old, a college graduate, and a successful international fashion model.

The household is thrown into chaos when Margaret discovers a strange black man hiding in her closet. This man, known as “Son,” has been squatting in the house for several days, yet Valerian inexplicably invites him to stay at the house as an honored guest. Jadine, though initially repulsed by the filthy, scruffy intruder, soon begins a clandestine sexual relationship with him. The ensuing romance drives most of the remainder of the novel and forms the backdrop for Morrison's provocative questions regarding race, gender, love, and power.

Desiree Coleman's narration of this book is excellent. I am moderately hearing-impaired, yet had very little trouble understanding her. The ways in which she dramatizes various characters' voices are consistent and appropriate--neither boringly bland nor over-the-top. Her narration was smooth and distraction-free, allowing me to get lost in Morrison's story instead of Coleman's reading.

In short, highly recommended!

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Steff Doles
  • 2019-01-16

Just as good as I was expecting :)

I usually don't like fiction on Audio, but this was on one of those buy one get one sale's and I'm a sucker for a sale so I got this book knowing that I couldn't go wrong with Toni Morrison and I was correct. I still would have preferred to just read it myself because with fiction it's like letting someone else paint the mental pictures of the books world and I prefer to do that myself, but the performance was great and the story and writing is just so lovely and compelling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lorna O.
  • 2015-06-02

Loved

Not sure why I hadn't read this sooner. A masterpiece! I see why it won the Nobel Prize. The language is so richly woven together.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • eclectic reader
  • 2019-10-03

Didn't like the characters

First let me say that Toni Morrison writes beautifully! Her poetic language, use of repeition to add to the melody of the story, and overall descriptions were vivid and sensuous.

However, I found this plot to be distressing. I didn't like the character of Son (Sun?). His situation seemed far-fetched. I don't want to provide any spoilers, but the other main character also seemed to lack some good, common sense. Maybe that wasn't the point, but I cannot recommend this story although I love other Toni Morrison stories.

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  • mms
  • 2019-09-23

Excellent book and reader

The book is great. I had a problem at first with the reader and originally rated the reader low, however after several hours of listening, I started really enjoying the reader's voice. I highly recommend this Audible reading of the Tar Baby.