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Beloved by Toni Morrison
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Beloved (1987)

by Toni Morrison

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,886224150 ()1 / 755
  1. 70
    Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (susanbooks)
  2. 41
    Cane by Jean Toomer (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: An often overlooked classic.
  3. 30
    The Known World by Edward P. Jones (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  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
    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.
  7. 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.
  8. 10
    Philida by Andre 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.
  9. 00
    Bailey's Cafe by Gloria Naylor (PrincessPaulina)
  10. 01
    Sap Rising by Christine Lincoln (edwinbcn)
1980s (5)
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English (212)  French (4)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (224)
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
My second reading of Beloved, more than 25 years later (!) wasn't dramatically different from my first. The, as a fairly recent college graduate, this was not an easy read; yet, I was thrilled with every page and by the honesty that came shining through all the abstractness. Today, I am equally awed even though I've now ingested other masters of the genre. Her subject and true story make Beloved stand out but also the way Morrison is naturally able to combine so many artistic and human elements. One again, I found myself preoccupied with the person of Beloved until, once again, I was able to reach the conclusion that this doesn't matter as much as connecting to the characters who seek to make themselves understood. Morrison's introduction to the Vintage edition, which I didn't have access to the first time around, explains how she sought to throw the reader, "ruthlessly into an alien environment as a first step into shared experience with the book's population. Just as the characters were snatched from one place to another," With this immersion, Morrison makes the reader understand not only the motivations but the emotions propelling the action of the story even though many of these experiences really may be alien. The life spent in atonement -- and desire creating its own reality are more familiar and dominate as themes. But, throughout, the characters' rejection of and then facing / embracing reality while still seeing beauty in people and the world are reasons we rush to embrace them and are able to at all understand this very difficult story, ( )
  Laura1124 | Feb 21, 2015 |
This book was, in short, simply amazing. Difficult to read because the book kept flipping from past to present with virtually no transistions - and often from character to character, but utterly fascinating. Not at all what I expected - a ghost story! A story of past sins revisiting the present and creating all new sins. A story with more depth and breadth than I can possibly capture in a brief review. ( )
  VincentDarlage | Jan 30, 2015 |
You know how sometimes you keep hearing about something - writer, band, TV show - and you think it simply can't live up to all the hype? And then you try it, and you realize OH MY SWEET AND HOLY GOD IT'S EVEN BETTER THAN THE HYPE, IN FACT, BETTER THAN MY LIMITED MIND EVER ALLOWED ME TO IMAGINE; WHAT WAS I DOING WITH MY LIFE BEFORE THIS? Yeah. That. That's Toni Morrison. Go read her.

Not even trying, he had become the kind of man who could walk into a house and make the women cry. Because with him, in his presence, they could. There was something blessed in his manner. Women saw him and wanted to weep - to tell him that their chest hurt and their knees did too. Strong women and wise saw him and told him things they only told each other: that way past the Change of Life, desire in them had suddenly become enormous, greedy, more savage than when they were fifteen, and that it embarrassed them and made them sad; that secretly they longed to die - to be quit of it - that sleep was more precious to them than any waking day. Young girls sidled up to him to confess or describe how well-dressed the visitations were that had followed them straight from their dreams. Therefore, although he did not understand why this was so, he was not surprised when Denver dripped tears into the stovefire. Nor, fifteen minutes later, after telling him about her stolen milk, her mother wept as well. Behind her, bending down, his body an arc of kindness, he held her breasts in the palms of his hands. He rubbed his cheek on her back and learned that way her sorrow, the roots of it; its wide trunk and intricate branches. Raising his fingers to the hooks of her dress, he knew without seeing them or hearing any sigh that the tears were coming fast. And when the top of her dress was around her hips and he saw the sculpture her back had become, like the decorative work of an ironsmith too passionate for display, he Could think but not say, "Aw, Lord, girl." And he would tolerate no peace until he had touched every ridge and leaf of it with his mouth, none of which Sethe could feel because her back skin had been dead for years. What she knew was that the responsibility for her breasts, at last, was in somebody else's hands.

Review from my blog, This Space Intentionally Left Blank ( )
  emepps | Jan 23, 2015 |
A remarkable book that reads like an epic poem. Beautifully written, yet extraordinarily difficult to read, which seems like a total contradiction. But Morrison's style is often indirect, dances back and forth in time, and often captures thoughts and words more as electronic flashes from the brains of it characters than as organized memories or linear narrative. Yet the journey is well worth taking. ( )
  rongeigle | Dec 29, 2014 |
This was my first Toni Morrison, and it managed to be both everything I expected and nothing like I expected... It's the story of Sethe, a runaway slave living in Ohio, who many years ago killed her small daughter to prevent her being taken away by a posse of men from her former plantation. It's about how her actions have reverberated down the years, and about how slavery penetrated every part of society. There is a pervasive feeling of fear and oppression that seeps under the skin of the reader and refuses to leave. This is also, however, a ghost story, a feat of magical realism slightly akin to Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child - and that I WASN'T expecting. I'm still not entirely sure what was going on with Beloved and Sethe, and I'm not entirely sure I liked it as a plot device (especially the stream-of-consciousness weirdness near the end)... but there we go. As a whole the book was beautifully written, brutal and evocative, and I think that even when the content, the storyline itself, has left my memory, the FEELING of reading it will linger. An interesting reading experience. ( )
  elliepotten | Dec 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 212 (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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Epigraph
I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. Romans 9:25
Dedication
Sixty Million
and more
First words
124 was spiteful.
Quotations
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 Dutch 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:56 -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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