NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A beautiful, arresting story about
race and the relationships that shape us through life by the
legendary Nobel Prize winner—for the first time in a beautifully
produced stand-alone edition, with an introduction by Zadie Smith
“A puzzle of a story, then—a game…. When [Morrison] called
Recitatif an ‘experiment’ she meant it. The subject of the
experiment is the reader.” —Zadie Smith, award-winning,
best-selling author of White
In this 1983 short story—the only short story Morrison ever
wrote—we meet Twyla and Roberta, who have known each other since
they were eight years old and spent four months together as roommates
in St. Bonaventure shelter. Inseparable then, they lose touch as they
grow older, only later to find each other again at a diner, a grocery
store, and again at a protest. Seemingly at opposite ends of every
problem, and at each other’s throats each time they meet, the two
women still cannot deny the deep bond their shared experience has
forged between them.
Another work of genius by this masterly writer, Recitatif
keeps Twyla’s and Roberta’s races ambiguous throughout the story.
Morrison herself described Recitatif, a story which will keep
readers thinking and discussing for years to come, as “an
experiment in the removal of all racial codes from a narrative about
two characters of different races for whom racial identity is
crucial.” We know that one is white and one is Black, but which is
which? And who is right about the race of the woman the girls
tormented at the orphanage?
A remarkable look into what keeps us together and what keeps us
apart, and how perceptions are made tangible by reality, Recitatif
is a gift to readers in these changing times.