Namwali Serpell Revisits Toni Morrison’s ‘Sula’

February 23, 2022

At the Paris Review, Namwali Serpell reflects on the lasting legacy of Toni Morrison’s landmark novel, Sula. “The paradox of Sula is that she’s quintessentially herself—nobody is like her—but she’s also everybody we know who is like that,” Serpell writes. “This paradox takes shape in different ways in Sula, in the novel’s preoccupations with ironic oppositions, with how the individual self-relates to the collective, with the dynamic relation between order and disorder. As is Morrison’s tendency, all aspects of the novel—I am drawn in this writing to its names—flow through these interlocking thematic valves, coordinating like an intricate machine or body.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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