Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Five novels into an already-distinguished career, Toni Morrison cemented her reputation as one of the most important writers of the 20th century with this global bestseller. Narrated by Morrison herself in a voice that’s rich with hard-won wisdom, the audiobook reveals why the book was so successful: although it’s as lyrical and gorgeous as her earlier novels, Beloved is also a shiveringly effective ghost story. Morrison’s lyrical prose spins out the history of escaped slave Sethe, whose experiences underline slavery’s destructive stain—and the redemptive power of family ties. Don't miss the powerful, Oprah-starring 1998 movie, either.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book is amazing, but Morrison goes very wrong...
"Beloved" is a truly great piece of modern literature; it should be read in schools. Its language is rich and emotional, and, as Morrison intended, nothing is given to you; the reader must participate actively in reading it. This is the kind of book that stays with you long after you finish the last page.
In saying that, "Beloved" is also quite awful. Morrison has said that her intention in writing this book was to expose the very worst of the horrors of slavery. I very much believe, then, that she should have chosen a different subject. "Beloved" is loosely based on the true story of a slave woman named Margaret Garner, who, in 1856 was convicted of the murder of her three year old daughter. Garner had escaped with her children from the plantation on which she lived only to be surrounded by slave catchers and their dogs not much later in a shack. Unwillingly to let her children be raised in slavery, she took a butcher knife to her oldest daughter, a three year old, succeeding in killing her, and then started on her other young children before being captured. Garner's story has been celebrated ever since, and Morrison has simply jumped on an ever-growing bandwagon.
When it comes down to it, Morrison is celebrating the brutal murder of a three year old little girl. And that is something I cannot support. Morrison has gone very, very wrong with this book.
Beloved is one of the best American novels to date
Beloved is one of best American novels to date. Toni Morrison mixes multiple genres and writes with a voice so singularly her own to create a masterpiece that will move, shatter, and reconstruct the emotions of those who read Beloved. If you do not want to read the book, Morrison's voice will spin the delicate yet unyielding story of 'Dearly Beloved' into a fictional reality so enduring, it becomes almost inescapable.
The novel revolves around a formerly enslaved woman's plight of possession and self-possession. In the protagonist Sethe's journey from slave to freed woman, Morrison raises questions regarding the notion of freedom, what it truly means to be free, and how to claim one's self after being enslaved. Infanticide may be a ghastly central element of Beloved, but it is all the more relevant and necessary for its brutality.
Why does Sethe believe she possesses the right to claim her children's lives? Is her act of violence any better or worse than the slavery she endured? Morrison does not clearly answer which claim may hold more value, and most certainly does not condone infanticide, nor does she celebrate Margaret Garner and the crime she committed.
Do not become lost in the tragic telling of a tale. Morrison has jumped on no bandwagon, and I do not believe anyone 'celebrates' the murder of a three-year-old child.
Beloved is an okay novel, but I was lost for the majority of it. I believe Morrison was trying a little bit too hard in some places. As for the audiobook itself, it is absolutely horrible. Morrison reads extremely slow. If she had read it at normal speed, the length of the audiobook could have been cut from twelve hours to around seven or eight. But as far as the novel itself, maybe I'm just missing something. I don't see how this is one of the best pieces of American literature. Sorry.