“When ​we meet Meridian Hill in the opening pages of this novel, she is leading a demonstration by a group of black children in a small town in the deep south. The children are very like the child Meridian was; the town is very like the one she was born in; town and children alike are part of something Meridian chose to leave when, in a spirit of idle curiosity, she volunteered to help the civil rights movement in her native town. Her story is a tally of the cost of following through the consequences of that decision.

It involves not only a break with her upbringing and the desertion of her child, who was part of that upbringing, but also a break with three people who became enmeshed in the new life Meridian had chosen: Anne-Marion, her friend from college; Truman, her lover; and Lynne, Truman’s wife. All three believe like Meridian, in the cause of civil rights; but in their different ways each is destroyed because they need a cause more than the cause needs them. The price Meridian pays buys, for her alone, a resolution that is neither desperation nor defeat.

Alice Walker’s achievement is to bring home to us the cost of commitment to a cause both to those who want to help and to those they try to serve; and to do this through characters whom their creator never has to manipulate because she has endowed them with all the complexity of real people who can, alas, manipulate themselves all to ably in the cause of tragedy. Yet this is also a heartening book, because just as Meridian’s friends connive at their own defeat with complete credibility, so Meridian Hill becomes a true heroine, in whose honesty, strength and dignity we believe completely."

About the Author

Best-selling novelist ALICE WALKER is the author of five other novels, five collections of short stories, six collections of essays, seven volumes of poetry, including the most recent Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, and several children’s books. Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages.

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