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 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. Her 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.
Beloved was my first experience with Toni Morrison, and I’m hitting myself for waiting so long to read it.
The beginning was a bit hard for me to get into. Much of it is written in vernacular (the dialog, and parts where certain characters narrate), and I have to admit, it was frustrating to read at first. Only because I had to read slower than my usual pace. But once I got further into the story, I got used to it and really enjoyed the rest of the book. The writing (those descriptions of everything!) is gorgeous.
Page 152: Down came the dry flakes, fat enough and heavy enough to crash like nickels on stone. It always surprised him, how quiet it was. Not like rain, but like a secret.
That is the most perfect description of snow. I’d like a needlepoint of that to hang on my wall every winter please.
This is not always the easiest book to read. Sethe’s story is tragic and horrifying at times. It’s crazy to think that this was a normal thing for people, slaves, to have to endure. But Sethe has survived. She has scars, but she also has her family.
Here’s my other favorite quote from the book:
Page 55: “Sethe, if I’m here with you, with Denver, you can go anywhere you want. Jump, if you want to, ’cause I’ll catch you, girl. I’ll catch you ‘fore you fall.”
Author: Toni Morrison
Date of Publication: 1987
Source: Personal Copy