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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.
This book is so confusing, convoluted, and stupid that it should never have even been published. For example, the main character, sethe, is has just had sex with Paul D. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Trevor
This is a "Sophie's Choice" novel set in the south before and after emancipation of slaves. There are deep insights into the psychological trama and lasting effects on the... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Arizona shopper
It is written like a stream of consciousness. I enjoyed the different style but found it difficult to follow at times. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kasey Wadding
This was an odd book but dealt with a subject that America hasn't really come to grips with, slavery and its aftermath. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chad Hightower
This novel actually won a Pulitzer Prize. For the life of me I don't know why. I found the story unbelievably hard to follow. It flipped from past to present without warning. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Judy Singleton
I liked this book. It was listed on a few of the 100 best books lists that I came across. I compiled my own list referencing 8 100 best books of all time list. Read morePublished 1 month ago by G. Williams