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Beloved (1987)

by Toni Morrison

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,163377164 (3.89)2 / 1104
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)
  1. 101
    Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (susanbooks)
  2. 51
    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  3. 51
    Cane by Jean Toomer (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: An often overlooked classic.
  4. 41
    The Known World by Edward P. Jones (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  5. 20
    A Visitation of Spirits by Randall Kenan (lottpoet)
  6. 20
    A Killing in This Town 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.
  7. 21
    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!
  8. 10
    Bailey's Cafe by Gloria Naylor (PrincessPaulina)
  9. 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.
  10. 22
    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.
  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
    Family by J. California Cooper (Cecrow)
  13. 01
    Sap Rising by Christine Lincoln (edwinbcn)
1980s (6)
Ghosts (15)
Reiny (7)
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» See also 1104 mentions

English (358)  French (6)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  Italian (3)  Swedish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Czech (1)  All languages (377)
Showing 1-5 of 358 (next | show all)
This is clearly a moving and important story, and one I cannot help but feel poorly for rating as I have. Simply, at the time I read this for a class in high school, I was not sufficiently motivated or interested to appreciate the nuance and tragedy of Beloved. I still don’t know what to think of those three chapters. You know the ones. ( )
  AlunStokes | May 17, 2022 |
Puoi trovare questa recensione anche sul mio blog, La siepe di more

Amatissima è quel tipo di romanzo immenso che, dopo averlo letto, vorresti leggesse chiunque, ma non hai idea di come scriverne perché almeno qualcunǝ si incuriosisca abbastanza da fare un tentativo. Mamma mia, Morrison, cosa non mi hai fatto provare durante questa lettura!

E dire che per gran parte della prima metà non mi aveva preso per niente: non riuscivo bene a capire dove volesse portarmi Morrison, complici quel tocco di realismo magico che sconcertava la mia ragione e una storia della quale faticavo a mettere insieme i pezzi. Poi a un certo punto qualcosa ha scattato, gli elementi della storia si sono messi in fila e ho capito di star leggendo un capolavoro.

Vi diranno che Amatissima è un romanzo sulla schiavitù dei neri negli USA – ed è vero – ma quello è solo il primo filo, che poi si intreccerà con altri fili per dare vita a un tessuto simile al raso, così uniforme che è difficile individuare il punto di partenza. Come si fa a dire di aver raggiunto la libertà? Che cos’è la libertà? Basta non avere più padroni e padrone, oppure è una questione più complessa, fatta di tanti ambiti nei quali liberarsi?

Ho amato il modo in cui Morrison ha raccontato la maternità, inevitabilmente intrecciata con lo schiavismo e il patriarcato, che ne pervertono l’amore con le loro logiche gerarchiche e il loro assoluto disprezzo per la libertà altrui. Non si attraversa indenni una società dove a chi è in fondo alla scala gerarchica può essere fatta qualsiasi cosa – e Morrison non è parca di esempi. Nemmeno essere le vittime garantisce di aver imparato la lezione.

E in questo romanzo di donne, non manca lo sguardo sulla mascolinità, annientata nella condizione di schiavo, dove qualunque pretesa di forza e superiorità sugli altri generi viene meno e ancora persa nel tentativo di ritrovarsi e ricostruirsi secondo logiche diverse.

It was not a story to pass on: non è una storia da tramandare e non è una storia da ignorare. È particolarmente consigliata alle persone razzializzate e a chi ama la letteratura di confine, non tanto geografico, ma etico e interiore. ( )
  Baylee_Lasiepedimore | May 13, 2022 |
Difficult read about a former slave who murders her child to prevent the child from being exploited and abused by white men in the aftermath of the Civil War. Morrison jumps around perspectives and is at times indirect about chronology and cocntext but the writing is very evocative. ( )
  brianstagner | Apr 29, 2022 |
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 by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison

Read - ok attempted - as part of a challenge, and have to admit I've finally declared it a loss.

Set in the years after slavery, this is the story of Sethe, a black woman set free, but who is still haunted by the loss of her family and friends. She is not free in the real sense because she killed her children and one of these lost souls - her daughter Beloved - has seemingly come back to life to stay with her in the house 124.

There is a mix of timelines that weave in and out, with various characters appearing, such as the SchoolTeacher (the new, nasty Slave Owner at Sweet Home), Paul D, etc.

I can see why people have loved this book, and appreciate why it has won so many awards, but I've struggled with it, and read so many books in the meantime whilst this has sat on my bedside table that I have been unable to pick it back up and finish it. I will therefore have to declare it a loss and move on ( )
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
Here's what I wrote after reading in 1989: "Haunting and completely engaging. Sethe was an amazing woman and a true surviver. Her daughter Beloved, a poor babe. Reading beyond the story, however, one has to wonder how the human mind allowed the black American slalves to survive their lives. Such mental anquish on top of the physical." Reading this comment in 2022 I realize how naive my comment was; really, you never thought through the emotional and mental anguish prior to this reading? It's probably worth re-reading. I'd learn more with it, from it, the second time through. ( )
  MGADMJK | Mar 31, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 358 (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.
 
As a record of white brutality mitigated by rare acts of decency and compassion, and as a testament to the courageous lives of a tormented people, this novel is a milestone in the chronicling of the black experience in America. It is Morrison writing at the height of her considerable powers, and it should not be missed.
added by g33kgrrl | editPublishers Weekly (Aug 17, 1987)
 
Morrison traces the shifting shapes of suffering and mythic accommodations, through the shell of psychosis to the core of a victim's dark violence, with a lyrical insistence and a clear sense of the time when a beleaguered peoples' "only grace...was the grace they could imagine."
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Morrison, Toniprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dekker, BesselTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Natale, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vink, NettieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.
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.
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Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish between this complete 1987 novel and any abridgement of the original Work. Thank you.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

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