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Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved (original 1987; edition 2004)

by Toni Morrison

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,437270119 (3.88)2 / 848
Authors:Toni Morrison
Info:Vintage (2004), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Own, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Fiction, To read
Tags:Own, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Fiction, To Read

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. 11
    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.
  9. 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.
  10. 00
    Bailey's Cafe by Gloria Naylor (PrincessPaulina)
  11. 01
    Sap Rising by Christine Lincoln (edwinbcn)
1980s (5)
Reiny (7)
Ghosts (121)

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English (256)  French (4)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Hebrew (1)  All (270)
Showing 1-5 of 256 (next | show all)
This is the story of a formerly enslaved woman named Sethe who makes an incredibly difficult and shocking decision upon being faced with the possibility of being taken back to Kentucky. We don’t learn the full details of what she did until about two-thirds of the way through the book, but really early on we know that it involves the death of one of her children. She gets a pink gravestone for this daughter with the world “Beloved” cut into the stone.
Fast-forward about 18 years and her youngest daughter is still living at home. Her two sons have long ago left to make their own way in the world. Paul D, whom Sethe knew back the Sweet Home plantation, drops by for a visit and encounters the anger of the ghost that haunts the house. It is generally understood that this ghost is Sethe’s dead daughter. A few days later, Beloved arrives on the doorstep. She is about 19 or 20 years old and has no history and no family. She just shows up and there’s something very odd about her.
I really loved this book. I had not realized at the start that it would be a ghost story, but it works really well. It makes sense that the horrors of slavery and its many casualties would manifest in new horrors. It also serves as a good argument against the notion of “good” slaveowners. Sweet Home as run by Mr. Garner was not as cruel as other plantations. Yet when Baby Suggs gets her first taste of freedom in her 60s, she can’t imagine anything better. She realizes that she had never truly lived before that moment.
Beloved tells the history of slavery from the perspective of those hurt most by it. It can be a difficult read at times, but it’s well worth it. This is history that needs to be told, and doing so in this manner, in a novel where we sympathize with each of the protagonists, the emotional impact of this history can be keenly felt by the reader. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to discussing with my book club later this week. ( )
  Jessiqa | Jun 6, 2017 |
Beautiful language. Spooky. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 2, 2017 |
Boy, I'm glad that's over. I'm glad I read it, but what a struggle. I didn't enjoy it, and I can't say I recommend it. But I'm giving it 3 stars because the story is important, I just didn't like the writing at all. ( )
  TerriS | Mar 25, 2017 |
This book is spectral. ( )
  Jeremy.Strong | Feb 22, 2017 |
I just re-read this for the first time since my qualifying exams in grad school, and I was stunned, again. Crafted with such incredible attention to detail, Beloved is surely the most ambitious and powerful cultural representation of US slavery ever made. It's also a beautiful meditation on freedom and family, and to my mind, absolutely essential reading.

Update: Just read it again. This might be the only book that makes me cry every time I read it. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 256 (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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