Toni Morrison’s new novel God Help the Child will be published by Chatto & Windus in April next year.
The book is described as “spare and unsparing” and is “about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult”.
It follows a woman called Bride, “whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life”.
Her light-skinned mother denied her love until “she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish”.
The story also involves Booker, the man Bride loves and loses; Rain, a “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 Bridge’s mother Sweetness.
Clara Farmer, publishing director at Chatto & Windus, said: “God Help the Child is a potent and imaginative novel, told in a sequence of powerful voices, and set in modern times. Terrifying, intense, shot through with beauty and magic: here is everything you would expect from one of the greatest American writers.
“God Help the Child tells the story of Bride – born “midnight black” to Sweetness, her light skinned mother – and who grows up to be a gorgeous but angry young woman. She walks out on her life as c.e.o. of an internationally successful cosmetics business – and goes off grid, in search of the man she loved and lost. Bride also carries guilt, for something she did as a child, but as a consequence of her search she hopes to find peace and repentance.”
BBC Arts Hub will do a focus on Morrison around publication, and Morrison’s Beloved (Vintage) is in development for Radio 4 Classic Serial in 2015.
Chatto & Windus will publish God Help the Child as a £12.99 hardback on 23rd April 2015. It will also be published as an e-book.