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Beloved by Toni Morrison
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Beloved (original 1987; edition 1999)

by Toni Morrison

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,334None163 (3.89)1 / 706
Member:everde01
Title:Beloved
Authors:Toni Morrison
Info:Editions 10/18 (1999), Edition: [Nouv. éd.], Poche, 379 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fantôme, esclavage, migration, Etats-Unis

Work details

Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)

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1001 (80) 20th century (174) African American (432) African-American Literature (216) America (67) American (198) American fiction (64) American literature (229) classic (109) classics (63) family (69) fiction (1,937) ghosts (201) historical fiction (247) literature (239) magical realism (84) Nobel Prize (72) novel (340) Ohio (88) own (86) Pulitzer (115) Pulitzer Prize (182) race (97) read (196) slavery (566) to-read (165) Toni Morrison (61) unread (96) USA (90) women (84)
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    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.
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    cammykitty: This collection of short stories is nowhere near as dark as Beloved, but it's worth following these tales to the crossroads.
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English (207)  French (4)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (217)
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
Truly gifted writing. I was mesmerized from start to finish. ( )
  KikiUnhinged | Feb 9, 2014 |
I'm glad I read this. It really conveys the trauma of living through slavery. I love Paul D and how he tells Sethe "you your own best thing." ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
This is a most impossibily beautiful book, that needs to be read with a willing eye. Toni Morrison's style won't be for everyone. I would suggest to anyone who doesn't like having to sometimes re-read a line or passage to understand it's full meaning or feel the power of words, to read something else. I can understand why some people would give the book 1 star. It's hard work in some places, but like anything worth fighting for you need to be brave and keep going until the "beauty" is revealed.
The depiction of slavery in Beloved gets right to nature of slavery. It is deprivation of the right of every human to be realised under their own terms. "Definitions belong to the definers not the defined" Paul D, Beloved ( )
  JFRogers | Jan 30, 2014 |
This is pretty great, but not 'best novel of the last quarter century' great, as voted by some NYRB types. It's too uneven for that- the first person chapters are awkward and a little pointless and it occasionally dips into the pathetic (in a bad way). The prose is uneven too, which is obviously intentional, but I'm not sure it works. That said, full marks for moxie. I wish more writers were willing to say, you know what? I'm just gonna write a novel about the three biggest themes I can think of right now. Bring it. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
I think it is very interesting that most people have either given this book 5 stars or 1 star.

Toni Morrison's language flows like a river. At times strong, at times slight, never overwhelmed. Dialog among characters is very well done, and just like in real life, sometimes it may not be obvious what's going on. In fact, this is perhaps one of the most interesting things Morrison does in Beloved. As readers, we visit the thoughts and stories of many characters, and in a way, we have privy to understanding their reasons. So when someone does a certain thing, it seems unbelievable almost that other people do not understand why, because we do. At a certain point in the book, the story actually develops to reveal a misunderstanding and the characters realize it and go on to rectify what they have done. But at another point, again, just like in real life, misunderstandings remain mysteries, remain prejudices, assumptions, opinions born out of a hunch. This becomes one of the drivers in the story, especially in a story dealing with ex-slaves who don't speak much about their feelings or thoughts, perhaps because they are not supposed to have any.

To say that it is hard to relate or sympathize with any of the characters in the book is a sign that a) you are very easily offended by historical facts and human nature, or b) you are ignorant of what might happen to humans or what they will be capable of doing under extremely harsh conditions (i.e. slavery, not being allowed to have sex with anyone for 20 years, rape, abuse, etc), or c) you have not really read the book. Yes, what the characters in the book do during and after their life as slaves might not be wonderful. Yes, they did not crawl under a tree and cry themselves to insanity (well, not all of them, at least,) some survived, some had sex with barn animals, some were forced into sex as well as into labor, some found love, some escaped, some murdered... The list is long, though a much much longer list can be assembled of the things slave owners did to their slaves, even the nicest ones who "listened to what they had to say."

The book and the story does a very good job of telling life how it is (I do not mean "telling life how is WAS." I do not know much about the history of slavery or the lives of slaves and ex-slaves, nor do I know how accurate the depictions in the book are of that time in America. I know enough to be able to judge that it is not too far from reality in general.) How some crimes that seem unimaginable are entirely possible given the right life, right personality, right time (or lack there of.) How not all "coloreds" agree on moral and ethical actions and judgments, and how in that regard, they are very much like "whitefolks." How being a mother means something entirely different to one woman compared to another, though it is so easy to pass judgment when one is not in the particular situation. How one charismatic person can bring together a whole community out of scraps of humans trying to outlive their past, and how a single act of violence can change a whole community. In this regard, though the book is "about" slavery and ex-slaves, it could be about any group of people who have had a harsh, unmerciful life trying to make sense of what's left. Dysfunctions arise in such a community, or in any family within that community exist in every community, but perhaps the reasons and how they come about are different.

Yet the book has hope to offer in the end. Hope that some will rise from this broken community, from the dysfunction, put together what they have learned from their grandmothers and mothers and sisters and even strange men, find work, find things to want, a life to desire... Hope that some will learn not to have to think of each day as a fight to keep the past at bay, but a day to be lived to build a future. As some other things in the book, this hope is not surging, in-your-face kind of hope, but a slow, steady trickle in the end that leaves you imagining how, from there, we got here. And how much more we have to go... ( )
2 vote bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 207 (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 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. Full of baby's venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children.
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
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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 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)

(summary from another edition)

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