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Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved (1987)

by Toni Morrison

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,590245138 (3.88)2 / 810
  1. 90
    Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (susanbooks)
  2. 30
    The Known World by Edward P. Jones (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  3. 41
    Cane by Jean Toomer (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: An often overlooked classic.
  4. 20
    A Visitation of Spirits: A Novel by Randall Kenan (lottpoet)
  5. 10
    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  6. 10
    The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines (karmiel)
    karmiel: Both books include a strong woman who attempts to build her life as a free woman after escaping/exiting slavery.
  7. 10
    Philida by André Brink (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: The true meaning of freedom, the price of freedom, cruel things people do in the name of love and cruel acts performed without love are the focus of these books.
  8. 21
    Mojo: Conjure Stories by Nalo Hopkinson (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: This collection of short stories is nowhere near as dark as Beloved, but it's worth following these tales to the crossroads.
  9. 10
    A Killing in This Town: A Novel by Olympia Vernon (hyacinthony)
    hyacinthony: I was reminded by Morrison's poetic narrative voice at the end of part 2 of Vernon's narrative style. Both books convey a powerful and mysterious spiritual force embedded in the violence of post-slavery african american conditions.
  10. 00
    Bailey's Cafe by Gloria Naylor (PrincessPaulina)
  11. 01
    Sap Rising by Christine Lincoln (edwinbcn)
1980s (4)
Ghosts (118)

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English (233)  French (4)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (246)
Showing 1-5 of 233 (next | show all)
I'm stunned.
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
This was amazing. I read it for the Great Books discussion group, and I actually finished it before the discusson, and I read it within a month. This is an American gothic tale. I had no idea. I would pair it with Octavia Butler's _Kindred_. The middle section, Section Two, where chapters are written in 1st person and shift between the 3 central women is a little weird, but other than that, flawless. Narratively Morrison is an artist when it comes to shifting the 3rd person POV narration between the characters: it happens so seamlessly the reader barely notices it. And that gives the reader the narrative through multiple POVs. I think that the title character never being referred to by the name she must have had prior to her death is significant. This is a ghost story, a poltergeist story, a haunting, and it of course allows for a reading of it as a haunting of an African-American family, of the entire African-American community, and of this entire nation. Brilliant use of the form; brilliant style. I am tempted to label it slipstream, but if I do so, then I need to label the gothics written by writers like Louisa May Alcott also slipstream, don't I? ( )
  AmyMacEvilly | Feb 3, 2016 |
It might be a classic ... but not to me. Weird in several senses ... the story line, the writing style, and how it twists and turns. ( )
  deldevries | Jan 31, 2016 |
Beloved is the story of a family of former slaves who have to lean how to cope with everything that happened to them while they were slaves.

This is definitely a great book and one that will be read for years to come. There is so much to think about that you can read this book multiple times and get something new out of it each time. The point of view and time period do jump around quite a bit, but I found this style to be effective in conveying Morrison's message in this novel. If you haven't read this one, you should definitely check it out! ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Beloved tells the story of Sethe, an escaped slave who lives in Ohio with her teenage daughter, Denver, in isolation in a house haunted by a baby ghost. When Paul D, a former slave who was on the same plantation as Sethe, arrives on her doorstep, everything begins to change. Paul D banishes the baby ghost, but just as things start to settle into something resembling peaceful, a strange young woman named Beloved appears outside Sethe's house and insinuates herself into the family to disastrous effect.

The story switches back and forth in time, from Sethe's young womanhood on the plantation to where the story began, even as the present storyline progresses. Horrors only lightly hinted at in the beginning develop fully as Beloved begins to assert her control, showing how Sethe and Denver ended up alone together in that haunted house to begin with. Beloved herself becomes more than just a mysteriously powerful young woman, breaking the people around her down from the inside, she becomes symbolic of the monstrous nature of slavery itself. Sethe, Paul D, and Denver might be "free", but the pernicious legacy of slavery is inescapable.

I found myself wondering as I was reading the book if Toni Morrison had read any Eastern European Jewish folklore, for Beloved reminded me of nothing so much as a dybbuk. True to a kind of folklore style, the novel relies heavily on magical realism, which isn't usually my favorite style of writing (I love fantasy novels, but I like them separately from my regular fiction), but works very effectively here. It allows Beloved to have many psychological lenses through which she can be interpreted without letting the story be set comfortably away from actual experience. Beloved, and Beloved, demands that we confront the real, continuing injustice of slavery. It doesn't let us hide behind long ago and far away. ( )
  ghneumann | Jan 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 233 (next | show all)
"Beloved" is Toni Morrison's fifth novel, and another triumph. Indeed, Ms. Morrison's versatility and technical and emotional range appear to know no bounds. If there were any doubts about her stature as a pre-eminent American novelist, of her own or any other generation, ''Beloved'' will put them to rest.
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Toni Morrisonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dekker, BesselTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vink, NettieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Beloved ( [1998]IMDb)
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I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. Romans 9:25
Sixty Million
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First words
124 was spiteful.
I will never run from another thing on this earth.
Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.
And though she and others lived through and got over it, she could never let it happen to her own. The best things she was, was her children.
Being alive was the hard part.
Nobody stopped playing checkers just because the pieces included her children.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish between this complete 1987 novel and any abridgement of the original Work. Thank you.
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Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0452264464, Paperback)

Toni Morrison gently reads her own Pulitzer Prize-winning work in the unabridged version of this riveting tale of ex-slave Sethe and the beloved ghost that haunts her. While Morrison makes occasional odd pauses in her reading, what is lost in smoothness is more than made up for in quiet intensity as the author reads words obviously deeply felt. Her intimate knowledge of the characters and their motivations lends this reading an authority that helps the listener sort out the breaks in time and dialogue in this complex story of a woman coming to terms with her enslaved past and the loss of her husband and baby daughter. (Running time: 12 hours, eight cassettes) --Kimberly Heinrichs

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:50 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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. After the Civil War ends, Sethe longingly recalls the two-year-old daughter whom she killed when threatened with recapture after escaping from slavery 18 years before.… (more)

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