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Sula by Toni Morrison

Sula (1973)

by Toni Morrison

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5,765631,131 (3.8)1 / 298

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Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
This was an emotionally difficult book to read, much of the time. Third person, past tense, written in the classic story teller's voice, and a set of hard to hear stories they were. But crucial for all of us. The setting of the book is in the aftermath of #WWI, which allows the author to unobtrusively draw attention to segregation and to use the little known race riots around the country as a catalyst for anger against the system (erupting into riots in each city) over two years time). Telling way to show something via a larger historical backdrop. I've learned much from this short and difficult book.

Let's #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


April, 12019 HE ( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
My three-star rating of [b:Beloved|6149|Beloved|Toni Morrison|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347984578s/6149.jpg|736076] is based on my memory of reading it over ten years ago in college. I couldn't tell you many of the plot elements now, but I remember loving the non-linear narrative, basking in the wordsmithery, and disliking the story. I tried [b:Sula|11346|Sula|Toni Morrison|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1429163083s/11346.jpg|3207953] hoping for the same quality of craft and, just maybe, a character or two I could feel for. I got the first. I'm thinking Morrison and I have different criteria for the second, so I probably won't read her again after this.

Reading this book exercised my literary appreciation in ways I'm glad for. Morrison wields language as a weapon of savage beauty. Her dialogue sings. Few authors writing in omniscient point of view can make me care; Morrison is not one of them, but that doesn't mean she doesn't use the omniscient voice with great mastery. This was intellectually a good read.

But then there's the actual story. I read multiple Goodreads reviews as I was trying to process these characters and events--a couple 1-stars, a couple 5-stars, and several in between--and I can see validity in a lot of other readers' thoughts (something I love about Goodreads). Ultimately, however, for me, this book leaves an acid taste. Clearly that's what Morrison intends, but I can't give more than three stars to a book as horrific and disgusting as this one. Strong modifiers, but they fit.

There's not a single character in this book--black or white, male or female--that isn't despicable (well, there's Shadrack, but he's out of his mind). What Eva does to her son. How Sula and Nel react to Chicken's accident. How the white boatman reacts to Chicken's accident. How Sula reacts to Hannah's accident. And on and on it goes.

Morrison's ultimate message seems to be one of hopelessness and human depravity and the risky pointlessness of kindness (and the question of whether kindness exists at all--was Nel kind to Sula for Sula or for herself?). It's interesting that I can't find more to appreciate about the story, because my belief is that humans are depraved and can't redeem themselves. But I guess the stories I come back to are the ones that somehow manage to show redemption and hope, even if it's only a glimmer for which the reader has to hunt. There's no redemption for any of the characters in [b:Sula|11346|Sula|Toni Morrison|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1429163083s/11346.jpg|3207953]. ( )
  AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
Sula by Toni Morrison is complex story set in an African-American community in Ohio between 1919 and 1965. It follows two best girlfriends from childhood through to old age and portrays one woman’s betrayal of the other. Nel Wright and Sula Peace, meet as children and their devotion to each other is strong enough to allow them to stand up to bullies and conceal a horrible secret. While Nel grows up to be a pillar of the community, Sula becomes a pariah. The author uses comedy, ribaldry, and sincerity to great effect and this story fully captured my attention.

Toni Morrison has a powerful voice and the gritty language and exploration of family and friendship that Sula explores also captures the complexities of race and gender relations in the United States between the years of 1920 to 1965. I would classify Sula as a feminist novel, as the author uses powerful female characters to tell her story. The characters are realistic and humanizes a part of American history in this short but powerful novel.

This is both Toni Morrison’s second novel and the second book by her that I have read. I am in awe of her frank, uncompromising and intense writing. Talented and impressive, I will continue to search out this author’s books. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 7, 2018 |
In this novel Morrison focuses on two characters: Nel, who is brought up by a very strict mother, and Sula, brought up in a large and busy household by her mother, grandmother, aunt, and various boarders/fosters. When they meet at school, they become fast friends. They live in the "bottoms" of Medallion, Ohio, which is actually up in the hills and is the black part of town, from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Really, this book is about that black community. Their men have been sent to war (1 and 2) and have come back with physical and mental problems. They cannot work and can barely function. Men who can work are unable to get jobs solid enough to support their families--public works projects don't hire blacks (or only for the worst-paying jobs), and the businesses downtown won't either. They must make do as best they can. They cannot even farm effectively because "the bottoms" is no good for farming, being hilly. The women are the ones that pull together to get things done as they need doing--or doing what they think must be done.

It is in this setting that the girls grow up. Nel marries young and has children, as is typical and expected. Sula goes to college and stays away for a decade, before coming home single and with her hometown morals/ethics gone.

Perhaps the incidents with Chicken Little and her mother's death closed her mind to love and caring? Did she shut down after those two event, feeling responsible for both? ( )
  Dreesie | Sep 30, 2018 |
This is a novel published in 1973. It covers the time period from WWII to the sixties. The setting is Ohio. We know that this time period was harsh time. There was extreme racism during this time period. This story is also about relationships, friendships, women, and family. I love Morrison's writing. ( )
  Kristelh | Sep 17, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Morrison, Toniprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dorsman-Vos, W.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Minor, WendellCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vink, NettieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, OwenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Nobody knew my rose of the world but me.... I had too much glory. They don't want glory like that in nobody's heart."

- The Rose Tattoo
It is sheer good fortune to miss someone long before they leave you. This book is for Ford and Slade, whom I miss although they have not left me.
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In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from the roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there was once a neighborhood.
the only way to avoid the Hand of God is to get in it
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452263492, Paperback)

Book Description Publication Date: 1982 | Series: Plume Amazon.com Review: In Sula, Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize for literature, tells the story of two women--friends since childhood, separated in young adulthood, and reunited as grown women. Nel Wright grows up to become a wife and mother, happy to remain in her hometown of Medallion, Ohio. Sula Peace leaves Medallion to experience college, men, and life in the big city, an exceptional choice for a black woman to make in the late 1920s. As girls, Nel and Sula are the best of friends, only children who find in each other a kindred spirit to share in each girl's loneliness and imagination. When they meet again as adults, it's clear that Nel has chosen a life of acceptance and accommodation, while Sula must fight to defend her seemingly unconventional choices and beliefs. But regardless of the physical and emotional distance that threatens this extraordinary friendship, the bond between the women remains unbreakable: "Her old friend had come home.... Sula, whose past she had lived through and with whom the present was a constant sharing of perceptions. Talking to Sula had always been a conversation with herself." Lyrical and gripping, Sula is an honest look at the power of friendship amid a backdrop of family, love, race, and the human condition. --Gisele Toueg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:14 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Traces the lives of two African American women from their youth in small-town Georgia, through divergent paths of womanhood, to their ultimate confrontation and reconciliation.

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