Beloved - Random House Large Print Author:Toni Morrison Toni Morrison's magnificent Pulitzer Prize-winning novel--first published in 1987--brought the unimaginable experience of slavery into the literature of our time and into our comprehension. Set in post-Civil War Ohio, it is the story of Sethe, an escaped slave who has risked her life in order to wrench herself from a living death; who has lost a... more » husband and buried a child; who has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad. Sethe, who now lives in a small house on the edge of town with her daughter, Denver, her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, and a disturbing, mesmerizing apparition who calls herself Beloved.
Sethe works at "beating back the past," but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly: in her memory; in Denver's fear of the world outside the house; in the sadness that consumes Baby Suggs; in the arrival of Paul D, a fellow former slave; and, most powerfully, in Beloved, whose childhood belongs to the hideous logic of slavery and who has now come from the "place over there" to claim retribution for what she lost and for what was taken from her. Sethe's struggle to keep Beloved from gaining possession of her present--and to throw off the long-dark legacy of her past--is at the center of this spellbinding novel. But it also moves beyond its particulars, combining imagination and the vision of legend with the unassailable truths of history.
Upon the original publication of Beloved, John Leonard wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "I can't imagine American literature without it." In fact, more than a decade later, it remains a preeminent novel of our time, speaking with timeless clarity and power to our experience as a nation with a past of both abominable and ennobling circumstance.
Reading Toni Morrison's books is not something for the faint of heart. Her literature requires the reader to work for it, to struggle through sometimes uncomfortable prose or through gut-wrenching scenarios within the larger story. But, at the end, you have earned that story...you have achieved something. And, I've found that people either can't stand her books, or they love her books. There isn't any real middle-ground. I am part of the latter group. And especially for this book. I re-read it every year, and it is still new and gripping and passionate and brilliant every time.
I didn't care for this book and I couldn't summon up the desire to even finish reading it. Heavy use of symbolism. Incoherent and unrealistic at times. Perhaps the author did not intend for the book to be realistic but I believe it is important when you are representing an historical time period and the treatment of slaves. Completely turned me off reading anything else by Morrison.
This book recently was rated the best book of American Fiction written in the past 25 years. It is not light reading, and I honestly found some of the parts hard to follow. Not for the squeemish reader either-there are themes of rape and violence that are truthful, yet horrid.
On the other side, it's a provocotive look at life for slaves after the emancipation and the way that grief and pain manifest themselves for one mother.
Not the easiest read. In the beginning, I would have to keep going back to reread the previous page, to try to figure out what the author was trying to say. There's a lot to think about in this book. It was recently named the best American novel of the last 25 years. I'd say it's good, but not *that* good.
A complicated and painful book to read. I saw the movie before reading the book and think it might have been better the other way around.
It is a view of slavery that most whitefolk (of which I am one) don't want to remember and surely do not understand the depths of the depravity that the black people suffered at the white hands of our ancestors. I think that it would be a good book for high schoolers to read, even in class for discussion...this is information about an era in our country that people tend to gloss over. This book is not glossy.
A good read but be prepared to do the work of staying with the author and the characters...it's a bit of a challenge.