After Toni Morrison's first public reading of Paradise, a woman rose from the pews of Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church and said: “I want to thank you. I thank you for your extraordinary love of black people.” This love manifests itself in Morrison's accomplished, uncowed articulation of blackness' many shades. An all-black town called Ruby forms the center for this tale, drawn with the broad historical scope we've come to expect. Morrison's vivid and artful rendering realizes literature's potential to reflect critically upon soul and society. The novel, Ralph Ellison reminds, “[is] capable of deadly serious psychological and philosophical exploration of the human predicament.” Morrison's Paradise reaffirms the beauty, complexity, and commonality of that predicament.