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Song of Solomon Paperback – June 8, 2004
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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.
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“Stunningly beautiful. . . . Full of magnificent people. . . . They are still haunting my house. I suspect they will be with me forever.” —Anne Tyler, The Washington Post
“If Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man went underground, Toni Morrison’s Milkman flies.” —John Leonard, The New York Times Book Review
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“Morrison dazzles. . . . She creates a black community strangely unto itself yet never out of touch with the white world. . . . With an ear as sharp as glass she has listened to the music of black talk and uses it as a palette knife to create black lives and to provide some of the best fictional dialogue around today.” —The Nation
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This novel could be called a "coming-of-age" story, even though the protagonist is in his thirties by the time he takes an interest in his own past and starts to dig a little. Milkman in his thirties carries on like a man in his late teens or early twenties, not having found anything in life that could get him to grow up. Little by little the adolescent life he is living sours on him, and he longs to tear away from it and discover who he really is, without the burdens of race and family hanging around his neck. In the end he gets what he wants, the chance to grow up, and without giving away the ending, in the last paragraph he is poised to lose everything he has gained. Milkman Dead is a unique character that you won't soon forget, and the supporting characters hold their own weight as well. An excellent read.