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Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved (original 1987; edition 1999)

by Toni Morrison

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,944261131 (3.88)2 / 824
Authors:Toni Morrison
Info:Editions 10/18 (1999), Edition: [Nouv. éd.], Poche, 379 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fantôme, esclavage, migration, Etats-Unis

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. 20
    A Visitation of Spirits: A Novel by Randall Kenan (lottpoet)
  4. 31
    Cane by Jean Toomer (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: An often overlooked classic.
  5. 21
    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  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)
Ghosts (119)

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English (247)  French (4)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (261)
Showing 1-5 of 247 (next | show all)
Molto toccante! ( )
  cloentrelibros | Aug 23, 2016 |
Morrison never makes for an easy read. She makes demands on the reader. She has a really ugly painful subject here and she makes the best and the worst of it. She makes slavery and it's aftermath sound horrific which it was. She writes a masterpiece with undertones of those falsehoods we want to believe because they would seem to be payment for a debt we are owed or fear because we believe we are truly an awful person. She visits the land of PTSD with thoughts of past horrors and feared futures. I will always wonder what happened to the title character though it is not so much about her as about her effect on others. I don't get to have a happily ever after entirely sort of like real life. But it was good enough.
  newnoz | Aug 6, 2016 |
Väldigt obehagligt och väldigt bra. ( )
  BellaStormborn | Aug 1, 2016 |
Audiobook read by the author.

From the book jacket - Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not truly ree. She has borned the unthinkable and not gone made, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Meanwhile Sethe’s house has long been troubled by the angry, destructive ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

My reactions
This is a challenging book to read (and to listen to) because Morrison uses multiple narrators, switches time frames without notice, and dribbles out clues to what really happened in a way that keeps the reader off balance and unsure where the story is headed. Sethe is an enigma – emotionally and physically scarred, she seems to have given up, waiting for a sign that she has been forgiven for what she has done in the past, for the impossible decisions she had to make. Those who care about her – her daughter Denver and friend/lover Paul D – are left to compete with Sethe’s guilt as they vie for her love and attention.

I did think the “atmospheric” writing sometimes got in the way of the storyline. And Morrison tells a horrific story of a mother trapped in an environment that is toxic and cruel, where her life and that of her children is meaningless. As Sethe’s desperation, fears and hopes are revealed I find myself changing my mind about her, alternately wanting to shake her or hug her.

Still, I loved Morrison’s use of language; I felt immersed in the story, the timeframe, the magic, the brutal reality. Here’s one example of her poetic turn of phrase:
…where blueberries grew, tasting so good and happy that to eat them was like being in church. Just one of the berries and you felt anointed.

Morrison read the audiobook herself. She obviously has a keen sense of exactly the atmosphere she wanted to convey. Her delivery is breathless, slow, and almost hypnotic; she frequently stops for a breath after every three or four words. I did not like this at first, but over time her delivery grew on me. However, I do think I may have missed some key elements by listening, rather than reading the text. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jul 31, 2016 |
Going into this, I knew nothing about this book apart from a friend who couldn't get through it, a coworker who recommended it, and its brief mention in a season one episode of QaF. I read this because it was a classic I hadn't read before, and I'm glad I did. The subject matter was dark and disturbing, but the prose was all kinds of gorgeous. The fact that Toni Morrison reads the audio book made it all the more beautiful. The rhythm and power behind the words was impossible to escape.

This is the store of Sethe, a former slave and a mother. The ghost of her young daughter who died years ago haunts her and her house as a lingering presence. But then she actually physically shows up one day. This is the story of Sethe's past, present, and future, told in bits and pieces, out of order and sometimes without narrative, only emotion and feeling. Sometimes it's hard to believe what's happening. Sometimes it's hard to watch what's happening. But you can't help feeling for the characters-- Dever, Paul D, Baby Suggs, Sethe, and of course Beloved. They all deserve a chance at life, but not all of them get it.

I was pulled this way and that emotionally why reading. It was a pleasure to listen to the beautiful prose, but that was juxtiposed against some horrible images--desperation of humanity, heartsickness, unconditional love, uncontrollable fear, and unshakable regert. The sort of all-encompassing regret that WOULD haunt and destroy. I admit there were some times I wanted to pause the audio and just contemplate the words, try to figure out all of what they meant. There are some lines in there that could be analyzed endlessly.

I can't say I loved the book, but I definitely embraced it, learned from it, felt from it. I did enjoy the language. And I am extremely glad I finally read it. ( )
  katekintail | Jun 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 247 (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.
downloadable .mp3 file

» 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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Original title
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Important events
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Beloved ( [1998]IMDb)
Awards and honors
I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. Romans 9:25
Sixty Million
and more
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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Original language
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)

(summary from another edition)

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