Miss Chloe: A Memoir of a Literary Friendship with Toni Morrison

HarperAudio. May 2022. 12:26 hrs. ISBN 9780063031692. $27.99. LIT
Bahni Turpin brings her considerable narratorial talents to bear as she gives voice to Verdelle’s reflections on her decades-long relationship with author Toni Morrison (born Chloe Wofford). Verdelle came into Morrison’s orbit when Morrison sent a note praising Verdelle’s first and only published novel, The Good Negress. This interaction ignited an extraordinary relationship—part mentorship, part friendship, part hero worship—between the two women. Turpin brings out Verdelle’s wonder, delight, and occasional pique as she recounts various encounters with Morrison, from Morrison’s unexpected visits during Verdelle’s tenure at Princeton to a particularly memorable incident involving Verdelle’s treasured scarf. Turpin’s voice becomes somber as Verdelle describes her solitary grief, witnessing Morrison’s quiet withdrawal from society and knowing that her death would soon follow. Listeners will sense the deep respect that both Turpin and Verdelle have for this literary giant and will be grateful for these glimpses into her demanding, sharp-tongued, and insightful personality.
VERDICT This exquisitely narrated audiobook is a balm and a delight. Share with listeners seeking to better understand Morrison and her works as well as the difficulties encountered by Black women seeking to establish themselves as authors and artists.
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