God Help the Child

Publisher: Vintage Canada
The new novel from Nobel laureate Toni Morrison.

Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the centre: a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish.... Booker, the man Bride loves and loses, whose core of anger was born in the wake of the childhood murder of his beloved brother ... Rain, the mysterious white child, who finds in Bride the only person she can talk to about the abuse she's suffered at the hands of her prostitute mother ... and Sweetness, Bride's mother, who takes a lifetime to understand that "what you do to children matters. And they might never forget."


Praise for Toni Morrison’s
“Utterly compelling . . . Morrison remains an incredibly powerful writer who commands attention.”
–Roxane Gay, The Guardian
God Save the Child is superb, its story gliding along the tracks of Morrison’s utterly assured prose.”
–Charles Finch, USA Today (critic's pick)
“Morrison is such a masterful writer that even those who don’t prefer stream of conscious novels may find them sucked into these minds, turning page after page of this short novel until they’ve finished the book in one sitting.”
–Sarah Hutchins, Portland Book Review
“Toni Morrison [is] still breaking new literary ground . . . a readable and entrancing novel that rivals her earlier work in its powerful range of effects . . . This novel is worth reading on the strength of Morrison’s narrative talents alone. But it also makes an inviting introduction to her entire body of work. ‘God Help the Child’ finds this American legend still breaking new ground and, as always, delivering an uncompromising and memorable novel.”
–Jack Pender, Waterloo Region Record
“A wrenching tale.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Morrison possesses enough generosity of spirit to see a few glimmering moments of genuine hope amid the ruin, along with the intellectual heft needed to understand their context, and the graciousness to share them with us.”
–Andrew Ervin, Philadelphia Inquirer
“The prose is lean, uncluttered. Morrison’s novelistic architectures have always been exceptionally well-designed; she crafts the vessels, carefully and uniquely to each story, before pouring in the water, and God Help the Child is no exception.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“[Morrison’s] powers are proudly on display in God Help the Child. At its best, this new novel demonstrates that the author is, as she suggested recently in a New York Times Magazine profile, fully capable of writing novels forever.”
The Atlantic
“A searing, lyrical story . . . Even Morrison's minor characters are complex, intriguing people deserving of closer inspection, and as Bride's journey acquires a momentum of its own, the magnetism of her troubles pulls the reader along . . . Beautifully composed in a variety of distinct voices and covering a range of family concerns, God Help the Child employs a hint of magical realism and explores issues of race and women's lives familiar to fans of Morrison's fiction. The story of Bride's life and trials is sensual, both delicate and strong, poetic and heavy with sex, love and pain, exemplifying a revered author's unfailing talent.
–Julia Jenkins
“With ‘God Help Help the Child,’ Morrison gives us an unflinching look at the wounds that adults can inflict on children with life-altering consequences . . . By the final page, ‘God Help the Child’ reminds us that few authors can deliver exquisitely written prose as Morrison.”
–Patrik Bass, Essence.com
“A slim, modest work that still manages to pack an emotional wallop.”
Boston Globe
“Another unflinching, gorgeously written story.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Every page contains at least one passage of breathtaking prose, a lyrical flow accentuated by stark imagery and laden with poetic contrasts.”
Dallas Morning News
“Morrison has a Shakespearean sense of tragedy, and that gift imbues God Help the Child. The ending is exquisite, bringing to mind Gwendolyn Brooks' wonderful lines: ‘Art hurts. Art urges voyages -- and it is easier to stay at home.’”
“A book to be read twice at a minimum — the first time for the story, and the second time to savor the language, the gems of phrasing and the uncomfortable revelations about the human capacity both to love and destroy.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Succinct but beautiful, with a powerful message that will reach readers of all demographics, because frankly, we all have things in our pasts we'd like to change. The power is not in time travel; the power is in realizing we must move on and push forward to succeed.”
“Morrison . . . proved with God Help the Child that her writing is still as fresh, adventurous and vigorous as ever . . . Morrison’s characteristically deft temporal she fits and precisely hones language deliver literary riches galore. And which this novel is very readable, the pleasure is in working for its deeper rewards.”
The Observer
“Like a Picasso painting telling a story in a multi-dimensional series of superimposed snapshot as each character becomes ever more rounded and complete.”
Independent on Sunday
“Not for nothing has Morrison been garlanded with a Novel Prize, Pulitzer and National Book Critics Circle Award. There’s always a sense of grand occasion when Morrison releases a book, and with good reason: the journey is always vivid, dazzling and rich, each paragraph a mealy morsel in its own right. A highly personal and affecting tale that manages to be deftly political, God Help the Child is emotionally rousing and gut-wrenching.”
Irish Independent
“True to style, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning Morrison uses simple yet poetic prose as she tackles timely issues in a timeless way.”
Big Issue in the North
“Powerful . . . attests to her ability to write intensely felt chamber pieces that inhabit a twilight world between fable and realism, and to convey the desperate yearnings of her characters for safety and love and belonging . . . Writing with gathering speed and assurance as the book progresses, Ms. Morrison works her narrative magic, turning the Ballad of Bride and Booker into a tale that is as forceful as it is affecting, as fierce as it is resonant.”
–Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Toni Morrison is one of the gods who walk among us. A righteous, fearless teller of necessary truths . . . sensually written and commanding.”
–Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair, May 2015
“It is a beautiful thing to watch Morrison move characters through the full range of human emotion and into cathartic transformation. Here, Morrison shows us the importance of not holding on to what needs to be put down; the necessity of forgiveness, the necessity of beginning again.”
–Hope Wabuke, The Root
“Nobel laureate Morrison continues to add to her canon of eloquent, brilliantly conceived novels defining the crises and cultural shifts of our times  . . . Yet another finely distilled masterpiece.”
–Jane Ciabattari, BBC
“Powerful portraits in lean prose . . . . The pieces all fit together seamlessly in a story about beating back the past, confronting the present, and understanding one’s worth.”
–Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal, (starred review)
“Sly, savage, honest, and elegant . . . . Morrison spikes elements of realism and hyperrealism with magic and mayhem, while sustaining a sexily poetic and intoxicating narrative atmosphere . . . . Once again, Morrison thrillingly brings the storytelling moxie and mojo that make her, arguably, our greatest living novelist.”
–Lisa Shea, ELLE Magazine
“A chilling oracle and a lively storyteller, Nobel winner Morrison continues the work she began 45 years ago with The Bluest Eye.”
Kirkus (Starred Review)
“Another dazzler from Nobel laureate Morrison.”
–Barbara Hoffert’s Fiction Picks, Library Journal
“Emotionally-wrenching . . . [Morrison’s] literary craftsmanship endures with sparse language, precise imagery, and even humor. This haunting novel displays a profound understanding of American culture and an unwavering sense of justice and forgiveness.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

From the Hardcover edition.