Beloved Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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In the troubled years following the Civil War, the spirit of a murdered child haunts the Ohio home of a former slave. This angry, destructive ghost breaks mirrors, leaves its fingerprints in cake icing, and generally makes life difficult for Sethe and her family; nevertheless, the woman finds the haunting oddly comforting for the spirit is that of her own dead baby, never named, thought of only as Beloved.
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.
From Publishers Weekly
Set in post-Civil War Ohio, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel concerns a runaway slave and her daughter, whose lives are disrupted by a former slave, a spirit and a woman named Beloved. According to PW, this "brilliantly conceived story . . . should not be missed."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I first read BELOVED as part of a literature class, and I was at first excited because I had never read anything by Toni Morrison before and had heard her books widely praised. Then I started reading it, and I thought it would never end.
I admit, it was the writing style that turned me off. There are many who laud Ms. Morrison's "ingenious" and "lyrical" prose, but I tend to find stream-of-conciousness writing confusing, annoying, and in many cases, as in this one, unnecessary. I find that it disrupts the story, and I like my stories to make sense. The effort involved in piecing together Morrison's story from the fragmented, dislocated chapters in which it is written is monumental. I usually don't stick around with books like that to find out if the end result was worth the effort, but with this one, I had no choice. Expecting nothing more, still I was sorely disappointed when I found that it was not. The story line has the potential for great power, but somewhere along the line it was mishandled and mangled beyond recognition.
Morrison's story is much darker than these. She focuses on the rape, the murder of children, the demeaning treatment of men and women alike, the comparison of slaves to animals and the horrible living conditions. Her characters deal with the trauma from being treated like they weren't human beings. They are bred like animals. They lose their "offspring" to their oppressors. These characters learn their worth in dollars, giving them no control over where they will go or what demeaning work will be forced upon them. To love is to risk losing the beloved. Even twenty years after the abolishment of slaves, Sethe still has to ask, "Would it be all right? Would it be all right to go ahead and feel? Go ahead and count on something?"
Beloved can be read as a ghost-story (though by no means a straight-forward one) or a psychological thriller. Something is haunting Sethe, and whether the ghost of her baby or the guilt for her own actions, the haunting is spiteful and venomous. This is a story about the trauma of the past living on in the present, and it is, in fact, a story to pass on, it's just not a story to carry around in your heart, letting it's trauma cause you pain. The tragedy of Beloved is that if you could just let it all go there's so much in the world of freedom to live for.
Most recent customer reviews
Awful horrible words can not describe how bad this book was. SO DEPRESSING!!! just don't read itPublished 7 months ago by Atbin Jahandideh
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 17 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 21 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 on July 7 2013 by Ann L Armstrong
This novel is a religious experience, derived from the Exodus of the Hebrew Bible (deliverance from slavery), the miracle healing stories of the Christian Gospels, the Book of... Read morePublished on Dec 10 2007 by Carol Read
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