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Beloved (Plume Contemporary Fiction) by Toni…

Beloved (Plume Contemporary Fiction) (original 1987; edition 1994)

by Toni Morrison

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,327292107 (3.88)2 / 880
Title:Beloved (Plume Contemporary Fiction)
Authors:Toni Morrison
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Literature, Classic Literature, African American Literature

Work details

Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)

  1. 91
    Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (susanbooks)
  2. 41
    The Known World by Edward P. Jones (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  3. 31
    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  4. 20
    A Visitation of Spirits: A Novel by Randall Kenan (lottpoet)
  5. 31
    Cane by Jean Toomer (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: An often overlooked classic.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 00
    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (shaunie)
    shaunie: Morrison's masterpiece is a clear influence on Whitehead's book, and his is one of the very few I've read which bears comparison with it. In fact I'd go so far as to say it's also a masterpiece, a stunningly good read!
  9. 11
    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.
  10. 00
    Bailey's Cafe by Gloria Naylor (PrincessPaulina)
  11. 11
    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.
  12. 01
    Sap Rising by Christine Lincoln (edwinbcn)
1980s (5)
Reiny (7)
Ghosts (121)

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English (278)  French (4)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Hebrew (1)  All (292)
Showing 1-5 of 278 (next | show all)
Wow…what a harrowing story. I’ll admit to not having read a lot of stories based around the slave trade or black rights in the American south, particularly not those told from the perspective of a person of colour. I’ve read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman, but Beloved is from an earlier time period and from a non-white perspective and was a real eye opener for me. The core story about the events leading up to the murder of a child and the subsequent haunting kept me turning the page, and though it was a difficult read I’m glad I made it through. ( )
  SadieBabie | Jun 23, 2018 |
I always find it embarrassing when I don't like an award winning book especially when it is on a politically correct subject - slavery, African-Americans - but I really didn't enjoy this. It is a fascinating subject - an escaped slave who murders her child rather than allowing it to be taken back into slavery and then the child comes back to haunt her literally. But the plot keeps bobbing around between now, the past, the man slave, the women slave, the daughter, the ghost that I did not know where I was. Anyway, third time I tried it and the first time I finished it. ( )
  mumoftheanimals | Jun 13, 2018 |
With her recent birthday and the many quotes, I have been thinking about how much I love this book. It and "Anna Karenina" are tied as my favorites. One of the many things that I love about reading is that we can enjoy a book for many reasons and on different levels, depending on who we are and the time in our lives that we are reading it. What I most love about this book and "Anna Karenina" is that it touches equally well on various important aspects of human nature. In addition, though, "Beloved" in particular helped me to really feel what it must have been like to be a slave. Its amazing how Toni Morrison could capture that in words. ( )
  joyfulmimi | Jun 3, 2018 |
Great writing. Memories of Sethe, a slave who escaped with her children and murdered her daughter, based on true story of Margaret Garner. Little touches that provide (just a little) insight into living as a slave and as a fugitive slave. Don't watch the movie. ( )
  margaretfield | May 29, 2018 |
I've read African-American lit before, obviously...Native Son, The Color Purple, and Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Bluest Eye, 12 Years A Slave. But with the possible exception of the last one on that list, none really drove home the harrowing legacy of slavery quite as viscerally as this one.

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. ( )
  500books | May 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 278 (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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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Toni Morrisonprimary authorall editionscalculated
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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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)

(summary from another edition)

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