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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307594167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307594167
  • ASIN: 0307594165
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2012: It takes only a page or two of Home, Toni Morrison’s finely wrought 10th novel, before you find yourself relaxing into the hands of a master. Nobody owns a sentence like Ms. Morrison. Completely at ease in her craft, she spins slender, lyrical prose around a Korean War vet named Frank Money, who retreats into violent memories to escape his fractured present; his sister, Cee, abandoned by her husband and abused by a medical experiment; and the racial, economic, and emotional oppression fostered by their era and situation. In the understated act of saving Cee--he walks calmly into a house and removes her--Frank brings both of them full circle. Nursed by the local women who watched her grow up, Cee emerges robust and newly aware and, as Frank puts it, “mended.” If you pay attention, Home may quietly do the same for you. --Mia Lipman

Review

“Perhaps Morrison’s most lyrical performance so far.” —Christopher Benfey, The New York Review of Books 
 
“Morrison writes about psychological violence with an engineer’s precision and a poet’s expansiveness.” —Tyrone Beason, The Seattle Times

“Morrison packs a powerful narrative punch. . . . [Her] depiction of the delightful ways black men engage in verbal banter to exchange personal and collective memories, and the poignant ways black women stand on their faith to deploy survival strategies only they could design, makes this a novel that begs rereading. She movingly describes people who survive and thrive, even when life deals them painful, mean blows. . . . [T]he beauty of Morrison’s language and her profound truths about life and living compel one to run the page and keep reading. This 10th novel shows that the author is still questioning what we think we know when we think we know someone.”   —Marilyn Sanders Mobley, Ms. Magazine 
 
Home showcases a writer at the height of her powers in evoking a moment and its historical counter-currents. And it ranks among [Morrison’s] most readable stories. It is also, like so many of her novels, a book certain to reward rereading: you can go Home again. And you should.”  —Jim Cullen, History News Network

“Gorgeous and intense, brutal yet heartwarming . . . like a slingshot that wields the impact of a missile. . . . Home is as accessible, tightly composed and visceral as anything Morrison has written. . . . [Her] shorter, more direct sentences have the capacity to leave a reader awestruck. . . . Devastating, deeply humane, ever-relevant." —Heller McAlpin, NPR 
 
“The story of the warrior’s struggle to return home is classic, but Nobel laureate Morrison  imbues her tale with twists that make the journey more challenging and Frank Money’s success less certain. . . . As usual, Morrison’s writing is both lyrical and earthy and, although spare, dense with hints and meaning. This is a book that can be read in one long sitting, and probably will be . . . [A] satisfying, emotional . . . textured, painful and ultimately uplifting story.” —Anne Neville, Buffalo News 
 
“In this slim, scathing novel, Morrison brings us another quintessentially American character struggling through another shameful moment in our nation’s history. . . . Home is as much prose poem as long-form fiction—a triumph for a beloved literary icon who proves that her talents remain in full flower. Four stars.” —Meredith Maran, People 
 
“Beautifully wrought . . . [Home] packs considerable power, because the Nobel Prize-winning author is still writing unflinchingly about the most painful human experiences. There’s nothing small about the story she’s told with such grace in these pages.” —Steve Yarbrough, The Oregonian

“Short, swift, and luminescent . . . The music of Morrison’s language, with its poetic oral qualities, its ability to be both past and present in one long line, requires a robust structure, a big space; a small auditorium simply does not suit it. Home, then, is . . . a remarkable thing: proof that Morrison is at once America’s most deliberate and flexible writer. She has almost entirely retooled her style to tell a story that demands speed, brevity, the threat of a looming curtain call.”  —John Freeman, The Boston Globe 
 
“Part of Morrison’s longstanding greatness resides in her ability to animate specific stories about the black experience and simultaneously speak to all experience. It’s precisely by committing unreservedly to the first that she’s able to transcend the circumscribed audience it might imply. This work’s accomplishment lies in its considerable capacity to make us feel that we are each not only resident but co-owner of, and collectively accountable for, this land we call home.” —Leah Hager Cohen, The New York Times Book Review

“Powerful . . . Home, the latest novel by Toni Morrison, is almost eerie in its timeliness. Set in the 1950s, it does not evoke the martini and pinched waist nostalgia of Mad Men. Rather, it calls to mind the plight of today’s veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. . . . A hallmark of Morrison’s magic is the way that her imagination engages critically with several subjects simultaneously, but Home is particularly intriguing because it also seems to be a reflection on the author’s previous works. . . . . The writing reads like a love letter to a generation that took the English language, lubricated its syntax and bent meanings as the situation required. . . . The result is not poetry, exactly, yet the characters communicate in such a way that there are subtle metaphors in every exchange. The events of this narrative are striking and arresting in the manner that one expects from Morrison, the only living American Nobel laureate in literature. Family secrets are revealed, brutal truths about the history of race in America are displayed without sentimentality or animus. As always, Morrison’s prose is immaculate, jaw-dropping in its beauty and audacity. . . . In addition to her reputation for gorgeous sentences, Morrison is known for a certain brutality in her plotting, and this wrenching novel is no exception. But Home also brims with affection and optimism. The gains here are hard won, but honestly earned, and sweet as love.” —Tayari Jones, San Francisco Chronicle 
 
“Morrison writes without airs. In Home, even the most painful and devastating moments are told head-on, not prettified to make them more palatable [or] heightened to create a stronger impression. She builds trust with the reader at every step; the events may be imagined, but Morrison is speaking her truth, and we believe her. Here, as in her previous books, Morrison’s characters carry their histories heavy on their backs, a burden that defines them and influences everything they do today. The past, she says repeatedly, is always with us. It can’t be ignored or shunted aside because to be truly home in the present, we must confront the past.” —Amy Driscoll, The Miami Herald 
 
“[Home] is compact, a novella really, and filled with Morrison’s signature style—clear, razor-sharp, poetic writing and layered storytelling. . . . This story isn’t about taking responsibility for others. It is a tale about taking responsibility for yourself. . . . The journey home, then, is not to a physical place. It is an internal destination that each of us must find.” —Karen M. Thomas, The Dallas Morning News 
 
“If you are familiar with Toni Morrison’s work (who isn’t?), you will want to read her new novella, Home, in one sitting. It will take only two or three hours, and that one sitting will help you keep in mind the story’s beautiful symmetry. Home is a reverse journey, a return to an earlier place, a going back instead of forward—at least physically—though it can just as easily be argued that the protagonist (Frank Money) advances as much as he retreats. And that metaphor of advancing is especially suitable, given the fact that Frank has recently returned from the war in Korea. He’s been traumatized by horrific events but is equally unsettled when he realizes that he’s returned to the same racist country he left before he departed to fight for America. . . . Above all, Home demonstrates a sense of community, not just within the physical environment of one’s origins but also with the assistance that total strangers offer Frank Money. The poorest people in the country extend a hand, share, and rehabilitate others when necessary. These values are shown to be so redemptive that they cancel out what many people believe to be natural instincts of revenge, of payback, of an eye-for-an-eye and a tooth-for-a-tooth. . . . Home is an engaging narrative, full of surprises and profundities.”  —Charles R. Larson, Counterpunch 
 
“This haunting, slender novel is a kind of tiny Rosetta Stone to Toni Morrison’s entire oeuvre. Home encapsulates all the themes that have fueled her fiction: . . . the hold that time past exerts over time present, the hazards of love (and its link to leaving and loss), the possibility of redemption and transcendence. Once again we are introduced to characters who must choose between the suffocating but sustaining ethos of small-town life and the temptations and pitfalls of the wider world. Once again we are made to see the costs and consolations of caring too much—for a family member, a lover or a friend. . . . Whereas Beloved mythologized its characters’ stories, lending their experiences the resonance of a symphony or an opera, Home is a lower-key chamber piece, pitched somewhere between straight-up naturalism and the world of fable. In these pages Morrison eschews the fierce Faulknerian prose and García Márquez-like flights of surrealism that animated some of her earlier novels, adopting a new, pared-down style that enables her to map the day-to-day lives of her characters with lyrical precision. . . . Morrison has found a new, angular voice and straight-ahead storytelling style that showcase her knowledge of her characters, and the ways in which violence and passion and regret are braided through their lives, the ways in which love and duty can redeem a blighted past.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times 
 
“Another dazzling journey with ...


More About the Author

Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is the author of several novels, including The Bluest Eye, Beloved (made into a major film), and Love. She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize. She is the Robert F. Goheen Professor at Princeton University.

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Customer Reviews

Well written and the characters are really interesting and well developed.
Deacon
I could see and feel Frank's and Cee's emotion, reflections, and the unity that immense pain and the hope for survival brings to people who love one another.
women's writes72
In fact, the reading guide at the end brings up so many good questions you will be astonished as to how one could create that many queries in a short book.
Read-A-Lot

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Read-A-Lot on May 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read in a review that "Toni never puts language above story." I agree with that statement 100%, and the prioritizing of story is on full display in Home. This is a short book, but very fertile. How can she pack so much, in so thin a volume. The themes she touches on, each could be a full novel on its' own.

Frank Money has returned from the Korean war, with a deep secret. He has covered this secret with mourning the lost of his two best friends, a "mourning..so thick it completely covered my shame." Frank and his sister Cee were close growing up, he four years older than her, acted as a big brother should. And his going off to war created a physical separation, but not a division of affection.

So, after the war and despite his struggling with post traumatic stress and using alcohol to self heal and exorcise the war demons, when he hears his sister is in danger, he does not hesitate to make his way toward her and.... To say more would give away too much.

The use of Frank addressing not only the reader but the author as well was marvelous. This was done, a few times briefly to kind of comment on how the story was unfolding to illustrious effect. The language in this book is simply beautiful, and for some reason it doesn't feel unfinished, as most short novels do. And the ending is brought full circle back to the beginning, all this in under 150 pages. In fact, the reading guide at the end brings up so many good questions you will be astonished as to how one could create that many queries in a short book.

Can't think of a better way to spend a couple of hours. This may well be the best novel you read all year. You will be greatly rewarded for taking that time!
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69 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Jsun on May 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Frank and Cee, like some forgotten Hansel and Gretel, locked hands as they navigated the silence and tried to imagine a future."

Toni Morrison's Home is a surprisingly lean novel from a major American author known for her complex and elliptical style. Home is even more lean and minimal than Morrison's brilliant Sula, which she wrote forty years ago. For some reason, I yearned for the Morrison who wrote Song of Solomon or Paradise, which is Morrison at her most complex and perhaps her most sublime. That isn't to say Home is a failed effort, but perhaps it's a passive, more subdued effort, one which does not give us the feeling her greatest books have given us.

Home tells the story of Frank Money and his experience "home" after The Korean War. He lost both his homeboys, Michael and Stuff, in the war. In a character reminiscent of Virginia Woolf's Septimus Warren Smith or perhaps even Morrison's own Shadrack, Money suffers re-adapting into American society. He fought for a racist country which still segregated and refused to acknowledge his duty to his country. He "loiters" around, which causes suspicion from cops. He wanders aimlessly, not quite sure about his own self, which is haunted by images from the past. He breeds shame from an incident that happened in Korea (I won't say what), masking it with visible and palpable anger. Money eventually tries to become more active as a man when he receives a letter from Sarah that his sister, Ycidra, called Cee, "...best be dead if you tarry." Cee is gradually dying in the hands of a strange physician Dr. Scott, who is perhaps involved in experimentation dealing with "eugenics.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By ReadingWhileFemale on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I heard that Toni Morrison was coming out with a new novel, I was absolutely excited. I loved Paradise and Beloved (so much so that I've never written a review of either of them) so I pre-ordered a copy of Home as soon as I could. I got my copy yesterday (the release day) and I finished it this morning. I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting, but this novella was different altogether from any of my expectations.

This novella was very different from other Morrison books that I've read. It was, first and foremost, easy to read. Beloved took me over a month to get through because it was so dense and so difficult; Home took me only a few hours. I was, I have to admit, a little surprised and even disappointed at how easy the prose was. Though the chapters switch between narrators, with a majority of the chapters being from Frank's perspective, the narrators of each chapter are always characters that have been previously introduce and are always identified in the first few sentences of their chapter. The reader never has to figure out who is talking or what is going on, so long as they can remember names. The chapters alternate between the story itself, told by the various narrators, and chapters in which Frank addresses the author directly, telling them what really happened, how he really felt, and occasionally correcting things that the author previously wrote. I really enjoyed those chapters, because they called attention to the act of storytelling itself, to the fact that someone who is not the characters is writing these things, to the idea that sometimes the author messes things up. I thought that technique was very cool, and it isn't something I've seen Morrison do before.
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