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Sula by Toni Morrison

Sula (1973)

by Toni Morrison

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,116701,120 (3.82)1 / 328
At the heart of Sula is a bond between to women, a friendship whose intensity first sustains, then injuries. Sula and Nel are both black, both smart, and both poor. Through their girlhood years, they share everything. All this changes when Sula gets out of the Bottom, the hilltop neighborhood where there hides a fierce resentment at the invisible line that cannot be overstepped.… (more)
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Toni Morrison - Sula: Lyrical. Bizarre. Not at all uplifting. Genius. #cursorybookreviews #cursoryreviews ( )
  khage | May 11, 2020 |
Sula by African American female writer Toni Morrison demonstrates definitively why she was awarded the Nobel Prize. Her prose borders on poetry, painting rich and detailed pictures in very few words.
The general tone of this book strongly conveys the desperation and poverty Black Americans endure as the result of racism without ever talking about racism. Every moment, every episode hinges on the impoverished, second class citizen status of the character, yet the story is universal, the characters are not stereotypes but instead are typical of characters existing anywhere in the world. Sula and her friend Nel represent two very different types of people, those that are crushed by their circumstances and others who stand above them even as they continue to be marginalized.
The storyline begins with a scene from WW I and proceeds through the next several years tracing the lives of the protagonists, of their relationship with each other and with others, and of their ultimate movement in vastly different directions.
This is a powerful read eliciting empathy and compassion from any thoughtful reader. ( )
  Paul-the-well-read | Apr 18, 2020 |
Morrison's second novel is another one that I read on my own outside of college classes, and the one I remember the least. The novel is set in the fictional town of Medallion, Ohio in the Black neighborhood jokingly known as The Bottom despite being on the hilltops adjacent to the white part of town in the valley.

The main plot of the novel focuses on the friendship of two girls, Nel and Sula, growing up in the 1920s. Nel is from a stable family with rigid rules while Sula's mother and grandmother are considered unconventional and loose. Their close friendship turns on the accidental death of a child they were playing with, something they chose to keep secret.

As they grow up, they go in different directions with Nel settling into a conventional marriage while Sula goes away to college and is rumored to have many sexual affairs. When Sula returns after a ten year absence, she is decried as the personification of evil, and unites against her, especially when Sula sleeps with Nel's husband. Nel and Sula do reconcile by the end of the novel. A framing device set in the present day notes that The Bottom has ceased to exist and the hills have been gentrified for white peoples' home.

In Sula, Morrison tells a story of a friendship between two Black women, something unusual in fiction up to that point. She creates two fully-developed, nuanced characters in Nel and Sula. One chooses a conventional life and the other follows her own initiative but neither is judged as being the "good" or "bad" one, at least by the author. The novel also shows the deleterious effects on a community living in segregation, and the internecine squabbles among Black people between "respectability" and embracing one's own identity ( )
  Othemts | Apr 11, 2020 |
Morrison captures the kaleidoscopic nature of love in Sula, both forceful, grand and mundane. I was impressed by the psychological uniqueness of her characters, imparted at times with only a few sentences, and the fluidity of the work's movement through history.
  b.masonjudy | Apr 3, 2020 |
Just a stunning masterpiece. Morrison's writing floats while also digging in deep--she manages to make this hazy world that also digs into you so deeply. The relationship at the center of the book is incredibly written, and she explores it with such deftness. I can't say anything in this review that hasn't been said before about this book, but it's immense and will be a book I definitely return to again and again. ( )
  aijmiller | Sep 13, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Morrison, Toniprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alien, PierreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bertolotti, AntonioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dorsman-Vos, W.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGuire, James LPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Minor, WendellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polz, Karinsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vink, NettieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, OwenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Nobody knew my rose of the world but me.... I had too much glory. They don't want glory like that in nobody's heart."

- The Rose Tattoo
It is sheer good fortune to miss someone long before they leave you. This book is for Ford and Slade, whom I miss although they have not left me.
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In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from the roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there was once a neighborhood.
the only way to avoid the Hand of God is to get in it
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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