Mouthful of Blood is structured in three parts and these are heart-stoppingly introduced by a prayer for the dead of 9/11, a meditation on Martin Luther King and a eulogy for James Baldwin. The author Toni Morrison’s Nobel lecture, on the power of language, is accompanied by lectures to Amnesty International and the Newspaper Association of America. She speaks to graduating students and visitors to both the Louvre and America’s Black Holocaust Museum. She revisits The Bluest Eye, Sula and Beloved; reassessing the novels that have become touchstones for generations of readers.
Here are some path-breaking lines from her new book, that will get you thinking!
“We live in a world where justice equals vengeance. Where private profit drives public policy. Where the body of civil liberties, won cell by cell, bone by bone, by the brave and the dead withers in the searing heat of ‘all war, all the time’”
“Writers are among the most sensitive, most intellectually anarchic, most representative, most probing of artists. The writer’s ability to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and to mystify the familiar- all this is the test of her or his power.”
“Complicity in the subjugation of race and class accounts for much of the self-sabotage women are prey to, for it is straight out of that subjugation that certain female-destroying myths have come.”
“The course of time seems to be narrowing to a vanishing point beyond which humanity neither exists nor wants to. It is singular, this diminished, already withered desire for the future.”
“Dream the world as it ought to be,imagine what it would feel like not to be living in a world loaded with zero-life weapons manned by people willing to lose them, develop them, or store them for money, or power, or data,but never for your life and never for mine.”
“The mind really is a palace. Not only for its perception of symmetry and the outrageously beautiful, but also because it can invent, imagine and most importantly, it can delve.”
Mouth Full of Blood is a powerful, erudite and essential gathering of ideas that speaks to us all.