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Home (Vintage International)
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VINE VOICEon March 13, 2013
I really look forward to all of Morrison's new releases. I am an avid fan and she is one of my favorite authors ever, with Paradise being one of my top three books of all time. That being said I don't understand the hype behind Home and why so many glowing reviews.

Home is well written, which I would have guessed without even reading it knowing Morrison. My problem is that the story didn't seem to go anywhere or do anything. I understand that it is a story of hope and survival, but the short handed way Morrison handled it was more like she was outlining a book to her publisher than an actual book. We see Frank travelling with a short background/history of him. We see Ycidra as she grows up and moves to Atlanta. That's pretty much it. Two loosely connected stories brought together in the end, with Morrison trying to shock the reader into a jaw dropping moment.

A huge fan of Morrison, not a fan of Home at all. Well written, but the story is more of an idea of story rather than the fully fleshed out books and characters she has written in the past. Home is still arguably better than a lot of other stuff out there, but compared to her own written work this one pales in comparison.

2 stars.
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on January 13, 2013
A new novel from Toni Morrison is an event to relish. With a literary career spanning into its fifth decade, she continues to produce work as powerful and unforgettable as any fiction published in this day and age. In her most slender work of fiction to date, Home lacks none of the storytelling ingenuity and character depth that are hallmarks of every one of her works. A veteran of the Korean War, Frank Money returns to the states fortunate enough to have escaped physical wounds. More distressingly, though, he suffers from flashback moments of nightmarish anguish over the atrocities he committed as a soldier. He is also distressed over any thought of returning to his god-forsaken hometown of Lotus, Georgia. When a letter arrives from a resident of his childhood town telling him that his younger sister, Ycidra ("Cee"), has fallen victim to a crime, Frank bolts back to the place he despises in order to save her. The central story of Frank and Cee is compelling and tender, a recounting of life's struggle to survive and find ways to forgive and move on. Morrison packs surprises and shocks, and the ending is tremendously arresting, sad, and beautiful in its power to explore how any transgression can be faced with dignity and how solace can be found in a redeeming act of grace. The main plot is supplemented with side stories, full of their own intrigue. Even in such a short novel like Home, Morrison's range of narrative is extraordinary, how everything feels so authentic and every character, no matter how minor, feels so real. Her novels are never one straightforward story; they are canvases of insight, interwoven tableaus of places and people. Every detail is fascinating, her prose vibrant and fresh, reminding us how incredibly brilliant Toni Morrison is. In its brevity, Home is another testament that with each work Toni Morrison breaks new ground as an artist and re-establishes the measure of what every writer should do: challenge their self and continue to produce work that bristles with emotion, packs a punch, and evokes admiration.
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on January 18, 2013
In this brief novel not so brief themes are addressed: the war, the economy, race, family, identity. We can hardly expect less from Toni Morrison. But here, her mastery of the vernacular becomes an extraordinary, poetic vehicle. The voyage of Frank, the novel's main character, becomes the reader's own inner voyage. Morrison's prose glides by easily, like all things profoundly familiar, even as the emotions grow in intensity as the novel progresses.

When truth intervenes, it arrives with a capital `T' and a capital sentence. Unless Frank does something about it. Face this truth: face his humanity, now undone, and reconstruct it. War, of course, has destroyed that humanity. Ironically, it is loss and death (and that frail sister) that are Frank's only chances of redemption. Home is that place where one's humanity is found --redefined, and no smooth ride will ever take us there.

Still, Toni Morrison's readers travel along. Along sadness, frailness, beauty. Simplicity, which is the way of the skillful. Add power and depth to that simplicity, and you know why this is a work of literature by one of its most brilliant representatives.
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on June 10, 2012
More of a novella than novel
Short but packed with emotion

I liked it but wasn't blown away by it. It was finely written. It is detailed and descriptive. It was emotive. But it was maybe a little too lean and sparse to be lyrical or poetic. It wasn't overly complex, making it an easy read, but I also didn't feel that connected with the characters. The way the story switched narrators (almost The Done Thing in current writing!) was well done.

I am trying hard not to compare it to Mudbound by Hillary Jordan but there is a similarity in themes (black poverty in the South, injustice for returned black soldiers) and brevity and I found that Mudbound resonated far more deeply.
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on May 8, 2012
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 " 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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on March 6, 2016
Toni Morrison's work is always worth reading! Her characters are beautifully drawn and the moral and ethical values are always clear. My only quibble is that book takes a few short cuts that make the final acceptance of the meaning of "home" less than believable. There is also a character in zoot suit who drops in and out of the story and seems to have no real role. The beginning and the end are closely tied together and make the novel end well for this reader who normally dislikes endings in modern novels. If you are a Morrison fan, I recommend another fine if slightly flawed novel.
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on October 19, 2012
I sometimes find Toni Morrison's work difficult to understand, with the exception of The Bluest Eye, but Home had me captivated from the first page. She has taken a story of a driven, protective brother (the kind I wish I had), a veteran with probable PTSD, who's on a quest to rescue his sister from a sadistic situation. Along the the way, Ms. Morrison, in the most lyrical prose you'd ever want to read, paints multiple characters so vividly that I would recognize them if they rang my doorbell. I was amazed at how much she said about the family in only a few, short sentences. This is minimalism at it's best. I only wish she had a clearer portrayal of race in her landscape. After all, the setting is Georgia in the 1950's. Still, it's a captivating story that I finished in only two nights. Home is a great read from a master storyteller.
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on July 6, 2012
"Home" was a surprise for me because it is so fundamentally different from most of Morrison's previous works. However the simplicity and beauty of this shockingly brief novel is refreshing. It reads much like a short story in a sense, without the density and complexity of say "Beloved" or "Jazz". I finished this book in a few hours, however it left me with a feeling of satisfaction and warmth. Its story is one that may resonate with many Americans, particularly those with Southern roots or those who have experienced the aftermath of war veterans or heroes attempting to make an adjustment coming home from Korea or similarly any previous war. I love the intimacy and grittiness of the characters as they are introduced to the reader. We find out in a few passages why Cee feels so vulnerable and is an easy target for a doctor who has few ethics and whose scientific experiments take precedence over the well-being of real human beings. Cee was scarred emotionally as a child, having been raised by an emotionally-scarred grandmother. Her hero is her brother Frank, from whom she has to learn how to reach her own inner strength so that she might eventually embrace her own life and worth. Again, I love this book as it touches my heart and inspires me to re-create images from my own family history, even though on a literary level, critics will most likely not give this work the stature of many of Toni Morrison's previous ones. Bravo to Toni for a real, heart-warming story.
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on October 10, 2012
Toni Morrison does a fantastic job at drawing readers into her novel. Though it is quite short for a typical novel, she does not disappoint with her literary skills. Through this novel, readers can ask questions as to whether or not this story is a traditional "Hero story" or one that blurs the line between hero/villain. In addition, medical practices in the book are a concern as well. Readers will find it interesting and helpful to research the Tuskegee syphilis experiment before reading the novel. There are so many ways of reading this story, but my personal favorite is questioning whether it really is a hero story and also whether or not it can be viewed in a prince saves princess sort of way. There are many things that could be discussed, but all-in-all just pick up the book and read it.

For a more detailed review of Toni Morrison check out this website: [...]
Also, there is a good article about this book here: [...]
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on November 22, 2013
Of all the authors I've ever read, few can impart the heartbreak of the human condition like Toni Morrison. A short read, I tore through this book on a flight from Tokyo to the United States, absorbing the characters, the conditions, the injustice that humans visit on each other. Though the there are many themes, I found this book speaking to the dangers of apathy and of giving up. Exposing the shame of medical experimentation on people of color in the darker days of our nation's history, it also demonstrates the good that can come of the kindness of strangers and the prices we pay for remaining silent.
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