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A dead child, a runaway slave, a terrible secret--these are the central concerns of Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning Beloved. Morrison, a Nobel laureate, has written many fine novels, including Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, and Paradise--but Beloved is arguably her best. To modern readers, antebellum slavery is a subject so familiar that it is almost impossible to render its horrors in a way that seems neither clichéd nor melodramatic. Rapes, beatings, murders, and mutilations are recounted here, but they belong to characters so precisely drawn that the tragedy remains individual, terrifying to us because it is terrifying to the sufferer. And Morrison is master of the telling detail: in the bit, for example, a punishing piece of headgear used to discipline recalcitrant slaves, she manages to encapsulate all of slavery's many cruelties into one apt symbol--a device that deprives its wearer of speech. "Days after it was taken out, goose fat was rubbed on the corners of the mouth but nothing to soothe the tongue or take the wildness out of the eye." Most importantly, the language here, while often lyrical, is never overheated. Even as she recalls the cruelties visited upon her while a slave, Sethe is evocative without being overemotional: "Add my husband to it, watching, above me in the loft--hiding close by--the one place he thought no one would look for him, looking down on what I couldn't look at at all. And not stopping them--looking and letting it happen.... And if he was that broken then, then he is also and certainly dead now." Even the supernatural is treated as an ordinary fact of life: "Not a house in the country ain't packed to its rafters with some dead Negro's grief. We lucky this ghost is a baby," comments Sethe's mother-in-law.
Beloved is a dense, complex novel that yields up its secrets one by one. As Morrison takes us deeper into Sethe's history and her memories, the horrifying circumstances of her baby's death start to make terrible sense. And as past meets present in the shape of a mysterious young woman about the same age as Sethe's daughter would have been, the narrative builds inexorably to its powerful, painful conclusion. Beloved may well be the defining novel of slavery in America, the one that all others will be measured by. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Morrison uses poetry and stream-of-consciousness style writing in parts of the book.
As I read the first couple of pages I already wanted to put the book down; the book did not catch me as most books do.
This book lets you see EVIL but it also shows how people love one another and can forgive and overcome.
Fantastic book. Gives me (a white person) an excellent picture of what being a slave must have been like. Read morePublished 1 day ago by M. Goodlin
I picked up this book because I wanted to get some perspective after the recent killings of unarmed black men by police officers. Read morePublished 5 days ago by James S. Bennett
This book was definitely hard for me to put down. I decided to read the book because I find the movie very hard to sit through. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Asia Mckenzie
Three measures of a classic work of literature: 1) it gives back as much or more as the reader gives to it; 2) each reading reveals and delivers new insights; it continues to... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Rrose Selavy
Book was interesting to read but it wasn't my genre. Wasn't by choice either, was for an ethics class.Published 9 days ago by Christopher R. Garcia