This New York Times Notable Book is an emotional powerhouse of a novel about a modern Odysseus returning to a 1950s America mined with lethal pitfalls for an unwary Black man.
When Frank Money joined the army to escape his too-small world, he left behind his cherished and fragile little sister, Cee. After the war, he journeys to his native Georgia with a renewed sense of purpose in search of his sister, but it becomes clear that their troubles began well before their wartime separation. Together, they return to their rural hometown of Lotus, where buried secrets are unearthed and where Frank learns at last what it means to be a man, what it takes to heal, and—above all—what it means to come home.
A Washington Post Notable Work of Fiction
A Best Book of the Year: NPR, AV Club, St. Louis Dispatch
In Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner Morrison's immaculate new novel (after A Mercy), Frank Money returns from the horrors of the Korean War to an America that's just as poor and just as racist as the country he fled. Frank's only remaining connection to home is his troubled younger sister, Cee, "the first person ever took responsibility for," but he doesn't know where she is. In the opening pages of the book, he receives a letter from a friend of Cee's stating, "Come fast. She be dead if you tarry." Thus begins his quest to save his sister and to find peace in a town he loathed as a child: Lotus, Ga., the "worst place in the world, worse than any battlefield." Told in alternating third- and first-person narration, with Frank advising and, from time to time, correcting the person writing down his life story, the novel's opening scene describes horses mating, "heir raised hooves crashing and striking, their manes tossing back from wild white eyes," as one field over, the bodies of African-American men who were forced to fight to the death are buried: "...whatever you think and whatever you write down, know this: I really forgot about the burial. I only remembered the horses. They were so beautiful. So brutal." Beautiful, brutal, as is Morrison's perfect prose.
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Good story. Great writing.
A powerful appetizer
Length does not dictate the quality of a story but I wanted more: I wanted to witness the healing of Cee and Frank; I wanted to watch Lily take possession of her own home. The writing is lyrical and brutal, a mirror of the conflicts and dreams that create the story of this unique family. Some parts will make you squirm, others will bring a wide smile to your face. The first- and third-person narrator format was confusing at first but now I realize I (the reader) was part of Frank's return to reality . . . and a new life. "Home" is a tasty starter but now I'm ready for the main course. Maybe Toni will cook up a sequel that puts Lotus into the capable hands of Miss Ethel and her hard-working crew of church women.
A well written and powerful story that ends too soon. I would love to know what happens to Cee and Frank after they bury their past. Maybe Morrison is setting up a sequel?