Synopses & Reviews
Meridian Hill is a young woman at an Atlanta college attempting to find her place in the revolution for racial and social equality. She discovers the limits beyond which she will not go for the cause, but despite her decision not to follow the path of some of her peers, she makes significant sacrifices in order to further her beliefs. Working in a campaign to register African American voters, Meridian cares broadly and deeply for the people she visits, and, while her coworkers quit and move to comfortable homes, she continues to work in the deep South despite a paralyzing illness. Meridian's nonviolent methods, though seemingly less radical than the methods of others, prove to be an effective means of furthering her beliefs.
"Strangely enough, the most convincing and interesting character in Miss Walker's novel about a young black woman coming to consciousness is not Meridian, the central character, but a minor character—a white woman who marries a black man and who lives with him in the South— whose anguish transcends any mere black-white problem.
The novel is about people who exploit and who are exploited, and the efforts some of the characters undertake to change the balance. Structurally, Miss Walker is indebted to Faulkner, but unfortunately she is also indebted to melodrama: scenes which start out convincingly deteriorate when the situation is over-developed or when contrivances are added on. (Consider, for example, the enigmatic 'Wile Chile' who has no home, feeds off garbage, becomes pregnant, and is captured and bathed by Meridian, and who later flees, to be killed immediately by a car.)
There is some good writing (often in the shortest, most succinct dramatic sections, which suggests that Miss Walker might be more comfortable with writing stories, as she also does), and the author obviously understands and feels strongly about her subject. Her mistake is in beating the reader over the head, when, with the evidence she amasses, we would have been knocked over with a blade of grass." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
About the Author
Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her novel The Color Purple, which was preceded by The Third Life of Grange Copeland and Meridian. Her other bestselling novels include By the Light of My Father's Smile, Possessing the Secret of Joy and The Temple of My Familiar. She is also the author of two collections of short stories, three collections of essays, five volumes of poetry and several children's books. Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages. Born in Eatonton, Georgia, Walker now lives in Northern California.
Table of Contents
Meridian: Last return -- Wild child -- Sojourner - "Have you stolen anything?" -- Gold -- Indians and eestasy -- English walnuts -- Happy mother -- Clouds -- Attainment of good -- Awakening -- Battle fatigue -- Driven snow -- Conquering prince -- Recurring dream -- Truman held: Truman and Lynne; time in the south -- Of bitches and wives -- New York Times -- Visits -- Lynne -- Tommy Odds -- Lynne -- On giving him back to his own -- Two women -- Lynne -- Ending: Free at last -- Questions -- Camara -- Travels -- Treasure -- Pilgrimage -- Atonement; later, in the same life -- Settling accounts -- Release.