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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 is not an easy read. But it is a very educational one when it comes to the plight of the African-American population during the time period highlighted in the book, in... Read morePublished 6 months ago by AliKira
This book has no plot, nor does it have much character development. Beloved is written in such a way any reader would find themselves confuse just before the fifth chapter. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mandeq Jama
I loved it. I saw the movie, book was much more than movie could tell. Heart warming and ver sadPublished 21 months ago by Ann L Armstrong
I felt I ought to read this book since it won the recent New York Times writers' and critics' poll for the best work of fiction of the past quarter century. Read morePublished on June 14 2006 by T. McDonell
Beloved by Toni Morrison was a very interesting book. In this book the protagonist named Sethe tells here story about when she was going through slavery. Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2005 by D.Haines
I love books that are full of poetic writing and Morrison takes the prize for this category. Books such as "The Bark of the Dogwood" or "Song of Solomon" come... Read morePublished on July 22 2004
A book almost too painful to read, it reminds me in a way of the movie Schindler's list, very heavy with horrific images, make sure you pick the right mood to read this in. Read morePublished on June 12 2004 by Gail Moore
Nothing Short of Breathtaking
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I was 'sipping' my usual cup of tea one late afternoon, in my work's coffee shop, when I was invited by a customer to sit with... Read more
I gave "Beloved" 3 stars because it has a theme, which is always a good feature in a book as far as I'm concerned. Read morePublished on April 9 2004 by S. Becker