: Beloved (9781400033416) : Toni Morrison : Books
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by Toni Morrison
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Vintage
  • Publishing date: 08/06/2004
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9781400033416
  • ISBN: 1400033411


Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

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  • An excellent read
    From Amazon

    I've read this book for two separate English classes at Williams College now, and it's been a really remarkable experience- I don't want to ruin any of the plot or the characters, but I would really recommend that anyone, particularly those with an interest in the history of slavery, pick this up sometime. It made me cry, but maybe I'm just overemotional...

  • Haunting
    From Amazon

    I don't know how many times I tried beginning this book. The plot was confusing - I couldn't follow it. But when I really began reading it, turning the pages, it was a feeling more than a plot; I just let the words flow across my mind. Eventually everything came into place. The most amazing thing is Morrison's talent. She can put you, as a reader, in someone else's shoes, whether it's Paul D. or Sethe. I don't care if your ancestors were slaves 100 years ago in America or 1000 years ago in Rome, you will feel what it's like, how dehumanizing, when you read this book. And I'm still wondering if Beloved was truly a spirit or simply Sethe's insanity.

  • Difficult, But a Must-Read
    From Amazon

    This novel was rated by the New York Times as the best American novel of the last 25 years and has been accorded the status of a classic great American novel. This amount of hype, Morrison's iconic status, and the difficulty of the book can cause a great amount of skepticism in the reader. One wants to hate the book and toss it aside.

    It took me quite a while to warm to the book, and I did almost toss it aside at points. It is not an easy read. Morrison could have structured her narrative in a more readable way, but she deliberately chose not to. The story of the runaway slave-mother's tragic loss of her daughter is too painful to be told in this fashion. So it's done episodically, with flashbacks, and with the device of the sudden appearance of a stray girl who is taken in as a new daughter with growing suspicions as to her being a reincarnation.

    There are very good reasons for Morrison to tell the tale in this fashion. The events of the slave era, after all, exist only in racial memory, and a 21st century reader can best approach the horrors of the times by peeling back the layers of memory. This is exactly how Morrison tells her story, and it does resonate. Also, it is apparent that Morrison is skilled in the oral traditions of a culture that didn't tell legends in a linear manner.

    So, the reader has to put aside his/her frustrations with the difficulty of this approach and appreciate the writer's need to tell the tale in this fashion. And it helps that the story becomes a lot clearer as you slog through the narrative.

    Morrison's language is quite remarkable. It is at times poetic. She can capture the character and look of a person in a few striking sentences. It's really some of the best writing I've read for some time.

    So, the book does live up to the hype. It's a classic work that has to be re-read and that probably has to be studied in a literature class to appreciate fully.

    I heard one critic say that this was the book he'd bring to a desert island. No way. It's not the kind of book one falls in love with. And for me, I connect better emotionally with Banks' and Oates' novels as well as O'Brien's "The Things They Carried." I'd probably rate those books as better than Morrison's in a contest to name the best American work of fiction over the past 25 years. Still, some of Morrison's characters, particularly "Paul D", are unforgettable and quite attractive. But in the end, I can't fall in love with this book any more than I could fall in love with "Ulysses."

    The book is a must-read for those wanting to be literate in recent American fiction.

  • Hated it! Do I have to give it a star?
    From Amazon

    I did not like this book at all. It is hard to follow and keep up with. If it were not a required read for a college class I would have never read it. I even considered dropping the class because I didn't want to complete this assignment. There are so many other things to write about. why pain and anger? Why so much disgust. We have read about the disgusting things slaves suffered at the hands of their 'masters' it was horrible but why do we need another book?

  • Hype isn't enough
    From Amazon

    Where do I begin?? This story was recommended to me by my girlfriend who happens to also be the person selecting the books for our book club. Anyhow, last month we read Beloved, and i can honestly say that we were not impressed. The word choice and composition of points seemed to take away from the character development. The only reason why i love fiction-because of the character development. Other than that it was an okay read. I certainly hope her other books are not too excessively wordy.


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