17 September 2010

Beloved


I haven't read much Toni Morrison. Actually, before this book i'd only read Song of Solomon. I thought that was ok but felt like i didn't understand much of it. Beloved is very different. I thought it was very Gothic Tragedy.

The story plays with time, going back and forth with flashbacks and memories. The central event around which everything hinges takes place 18 years before the "present" of the book, pre-Civil War in Ohio. Sethe, a runaway slave with 4 children, sees her owner coming for her and the kids. In an attempt to save them from slavery she tries to kill them, succeeding in killing her year old daughter, Beloved. Sethe goes to jail and the other children do not go back to slavery. Beloved then haunts the home, driving away her two brothers when they become teens. Eventually only Sethe and her youngest daughter Denver remain. After the war when Paul D, a man who was a slave with Sethe, appears for a visit, he drives out Beloved's ghost. But who is the young woman who shows up, calling herself Beloved, with no memory?

This book shows so much horror of what people will do to each other, and i am not referring to what Sethe tries to do. By the time we see those specific events, her motivations are so clear you can almost see yourself making the same choice. it is terrible but...reasonable.

I managed to pick a book that counts for 5 challenges: Classics Challenge, 1% Challenge, RIP Challenge, POC Challenge and the 2010 Challenge in the "charity" category. YAY! A 6 from me.

3 comments:

  1. I have tried to read Morrison before, but for whatever reason she just doesn't work for me. I should try something else, but I can't even remember what I have read by her at this point...

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  2. This was my first Morrison and I was blown away by it...should really revisit it, as I've now read a bunch of her other books (and loved them), but nothing quite as amazing as this one. I agree with you that Morrison has a gift of making horrible decisions seem sympathetic, understandable. Sometimes you almost wish you DIDN'T understand...

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  3. I read a few of Morrison's books and they mostly did not work for me either but I really liked Beloved. It is amazing as it combines such a lot. I read an interview of Tony Morrison where she says she does not want to be an accessible author, well she mostly isn't. I haven't read Song of Solomon but it seems as if you also think Beloved is easier to read, right? I am glad you reviewed it. It sure derserves readers it's such a heartbreaking story.

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