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Song of Solomon Paperback – June 8, 2004


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My Struggle: Book Four
Eighteen-year-old Karl Ove moves to a tiny fishing village in the Arctic Circle to work as a school teacher. As the nights get longer, the shadow cast by his father's own sharply increasing alcohol consumption, also gets longer. Read the full description
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Oprah Book Club® Selection, October 1996: In an effort to hide his Southern, working class roots, Macon Dead, an upper-class Northern black businessman, tries to insulate his family from the danger and despair of the rank and file blacks with whom he shares the neighborhood. The plan leads his son, "Milkman"--a named he earned after his mother nursed him well past the proper age--onto a path exactly opposite the one his father had hoped. Milkman is driven into the arms of a violent, lower-class woman, into a clandestine circle of blacks who repay white violence in kind and into an awareness that he can fulfill his own potential by understanding the mistakes of his ancestors as they relate to his own. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This new version of Morrison's 1977 novel is a fitting reminder of her early creative mastery. Song of Solomon is a powerful, sensual, and poetic exploration of four generations of a family mistakenly named Dead. Told through the eyes of "Milkman," a rare male protagonist in Morrison's wonderful catalog of unforgettable characters, we discover a century's worth of secrets, ghosts, and troubles. Milkman is faced with resolving the differing memories of his parents and his mysterious aunt Pilate, while questioning the historically charged realities thrown at him by the death of real-life victims of racism like Emmett Till as viewed by his lifelong friend Guitar. Lynne Thigpen was born to tell the author's stories, catching every lyrical note and each painful cry. A perfect marriage of author and reader, this will win new audiences and reassure audio veterans that by listening to books one truly can appreciate the magic of storytelling.
-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140003342X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400033423
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (362 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 27, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With passion and a voice that sings with beautiful detail and magic, Toni Morrison's third novel, published in 1977, is a powerful tale that follows the lives of a black family and their friends living in a Michigan city. In 1931, Macon Dead III, later nicknamed Milkman, is prematurely brought into the world, the first black child born in Mercy Hospital, just after his mother witnesses the brief flight of a man determined to fly from the cupola of the hospital. Although the novel revolves around Milkman, the stories spun out from him embrace a wide variety of characters and experiences. Morrison explores the lasting stamp of slavery through the name of Macon Dead; the intimate culture of women through Pilate, Reba, and Hagar; the hunger for property and respectability through Milkman's father; the idea of one's "people" through those in the South who have not forgotten connections; the violence of civil rights through Guitar; and many more issues facing blacks of the times and today. Despite the resonance of history, this novel is ultimately about its people and their eagerly lived lives. Morrison plunges her readers into their hearts with a humanity and skill too few novelists possess. The result is a remarkably emotional and intelligent story that will stay with you for a long time.
Readers should not be intimidated by Morrison's Nobel Prize Winner status, as this novel, like most of her others, is written in startling but accessible language. You don't need an advanced degree (or even a specific race or gender) to slip into her magical prose. Her characters are real and fully realized, and feel like friends, even when you might want to shake them to their senses.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
this book is not for a reader who wants a simple plot or who is not willing to concentrate on the text and think about it on numerous levels. in fact, it may even be a dangerous book for people like that. i have heard morrison called a racist, and i have heard her called a degrader of her own race, and unfortunately this is because her work lacks the inane quality of so many other works today that fit so easily into simple categories. so many readers today want works that reinforce their own sense of themselves, that make broad statements that have already been made, such as 'racism is bad,' and that consequently make them feel good by presenting plots that include them on the side of right. this author's work is hardly aimed at such generic ideals. instead, morrison weaves tales that destroy the very notion of racial superiority, setting up oppositions that not only show in detail the horrors of white discimination, but also the devestating effects of internal attempts by black groups or individuals at creating a heirarchy of their own where they might be superior to other blacks. this novel is about the lunacy of existing through stereotypical perceptions, and more importantly the horrific consequences of hate from all sides and the redeeming qualities of love from all sides. it is about so much more, but at its simplest level, it is about being american. this book is not for everyone, but if you're willing to think extremely hard about each page, and not afraid to accept that something of yourself, no matter what your race or gender may be, is almost certainly going to be indicted within it, by all means devour this incredibly beautiful and powerful story with no self-illusions, because it will make you a better person to have done it. this is toni morrison's masterpiece, and quite simply one of the greatest american novels of the 20th century.
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80 of 87 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've read SOS going on four or five times now, floored, awestruck, enraptured each time, every twist and turn a new surprise arrives. Milkman is a wonderful archetype for a Black man searching for what he can claim as his own. His mind, his body, his sex, money? What is his and not tainted by the past, by racism, by internal family feuding? This is what I call a "Patience Book", you have to sit with it the way you would sit with a child on a Sunday afternoon. Patience. You have to breathe in rhythm with this book. Morrison is one of those few writers that it's silly to ask all of your questions of even after you finish the book. Pick it right back up and breathe, savor each page, have patience. It is not an easy read for it is literature and you are reading, truly reading. Not surfing through pulp fiction knwoing that the hero lives, the heroine is saved and everybody sleeps well on the last page. Uh uh. Patience. What else but patience could you use to understand Magdalene, Pilate, Corinthians? My all time, all time, all time favorite literary scene that chills me, tears me up, knocks me around hard and then uplifts me: Pilate at the funeral. "That was my baby, That's my baby, AND SHE WAS LOVED!"
Honey, welcome to real African American literature, impossible to translate to film for this is patience reading. Patience, free at last, free at last!
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Hilde Bygdevoll on August 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Song of Solomon" is the third book I've read of Toni Morrison. The prose is beautiful, subtle and unique. She is the winner of both the Pulitzer and the Nobel Prize. Read this novel, and you will understand why!
From the fantastic opening scene - when Robert Smith, the insurance collector, is about to "fly" from the top of a building, some forty, fifty people gathered on the ground to watch. One of them, a woman is standing there, singing, and another woman entering labor - to the ending, this book held my full attention. I just could not put this book down!
In telling this beautiful story, Morrison cleverly mix together elements of magic, myth, and folklore. The style of the book reminds me of the book "One hundred years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez. Both novels share many similarities, and they are books which you have to "think" while reading them.
The characters in "Song of Solomon" are each very well developed. It is almost as if you know them all personally and one cannot help but to care deeply for them all. This is the only book I have read by Toni Morrison that features a male lead. I wouldn't know, but based on the opinion of other reviewers on Amazon.com Morrison masters the task of "being male" perfectly well.
"Song of Solomon" is considered to be Toni Morrison's masterpiece, and the novel is one of my all-time favorites. If you read only one novel by Toni Morrison, it should be this one!
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