PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unflinchingly look into the abyss of slavery, from the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner. 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. It’s clear 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 expressive 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.
Mixed with the lyric beauty of the writing, the fury in Morrison's (Song of Solomonp latest book is almost palpable. Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this haunting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath traces the life of a young woman, Sethe, who has kept a terrible memory at bay only by shutting down part of her mind. Juxtaposed with searing descriptions of brutality, gradually revealed in flashbacks, are equally harrowing scenes in which fantasy takes flesh, a device Morrison handles with consummate skill. The narrative concerns Sethe's former life as a slave on Sweet Home Farm, her escape with her children to what seems a safe haven and the tragic events that ensue. The death of Sethe's infant daughter Beloved is the incident on which the plot hinges, and it is obvious to the reader that the sensuous young woman who mysteriously appears one day is Beloved's spirit, come back to claim Sethe's love. Sethe's surviving daughter, Denver, immediately grasps the significance of Beloved's return and so does Paul Dno period after D, another escapee from Sweet Home; but Sethe herself resists comprehension, and, as a result, a certain loss of tension affects the latter part of the narrative. But this is a small flaw in a novel full of insights, both piercing and tender, with distinctive, memorable characters, flowing prose that conveys speech patterns with musical intensity and a brilliantly conceived story. As a record of white brutality mitigated by rare acts of decency and compassion, and as a testament to the courageous lives of a tormented people, this novel is a milestone in the chronicling of the black experience in America. It is Morrison writing at the height of her considerable powers, and it should not be missed. BOMC main selection.
Love this book. It is such a unique and dark tale of the guilt mothers hold based on the choices they’ve made when raising their child. Although this is extreme, most mothers can relate to the guilt in their own lives.
As this is a widely-acclaimed novel, considered to be one of the greats, I primarily blame myself for feeling this book was monotonous and a chore to get through.
Beautiful and Haunting
Read in a few days. Some parts are difficult, but the storyline is a testament of the power of women when they come together.