Beloved (Vintage International) Reprint Edition, Kindle Edition
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- In this edition, page numbers are just like the physical edition
- Length: 326 pages
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
- Page Flip: Enabled
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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.
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“A triumph.” —Margaret Atwood, The New York Times Book Review
“Toni Morrison’s finest work. . . . [It] sets her apart [and] displays her prodigious talent.” —Chicago Sun-Times
“Dazzling. . . . Magical. . . . An extraordinary work.” —The New York Times
“A masterpiece. . . . Magnificent. . . . Astounding. . . . Overpowering.” —Newsweek
“Brilliant. . . . Resonates from past to present.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A brutally powerful, mesmerizing story. . . . Read it and tremble.” —People
“Toni Morrison is not just an important contemporary novelist but a major figure in our national literature.” —New York Review of Books
“A work of genuine force. . . . Beautifully written.” —The Washington Post
“There is something great in Beloved: a play of human voices, consciously exalted, perversely stressed, yet holding true. It gets you.” —The New Yorker
“A magnificent heroine . . . a glorious book.” —The Baltimore Sun
“Superb. . . . A profound and shattering story that carries the weight of history. . . . Exquisitely told.” —Cosmopolitan
“Magical . . . rich, provocative, extremely satisfying.” —Milwaukee Journal
“Beautifully written. . . . Powerful. . . . Toni Morrison has become one of America’s finest novelists.” —The Plain Dealer
“Stunning. . . A lasting achievement.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Written with a force rarely seen in contemporary fiction. . . . One feels deep admiration.” —USA Today
“Compelling . . . . Morrison shakes that brilliant kaleidoscope of hers again, and the story of pain, endurance, poetry and power she is born to tell comes right out.” —The Village Voice
“A book worth many rereadings.” —Glamour
“In her most probing novel, Toni Morrison has demonstrated once again the stunning powers that place her in the first ranks of our living novelists.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Heart-wrenching . . . mesmerizing.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Shattering emotional power and impact.” —New York Daily News
“A rich, mythical novel . . . a triumph.” —St. Petersburg Times
“Powerful . . . voluptuous.” —New York
- ASIN : B000TWUTYG
- Publisher : Vintage; Reprint edition (July 24, 2007)
- Publication date : July 24, 2007
- Language : English
- File size : 1718 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 326 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,574 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Since that time I have read many great books, but only a handful that left me feeling like Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man." Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre", Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," Hemingways' "The Sun Also Rises," Baldwin's "Another Country," Byron's "Don Juan," and now I can add to that list Toni Morrison's "Beloved."
Ms. Morrison's book transcends greatness and enters that rarefied stratosphere of the sublime, heavenly, and magical. "Beloved" is a masterful work of art that should be read by anyone who aspires to be a writer or a teacher. It is like DaVinci's "The Last Supper." It reaches into the past, depicting the brutality of slavery, while it's revelance remains even more powerful in the society we now live in, and like Yeats' wrote, "Neither time, nor place, nor art have moved it." It lives forever.
I enjoyed some parts of this book but it was overall so depressing and sad that I just couldn't enjoy it and the writing style was kinda confusing to follow as well...I would not recommend this book.
Beloved is a truly great book that lives up to the hype. Hard to put down. The writing is excellent. The story is not one of suffering, but one of persevering through the insufferable. It's often hard to read, with the unflinching descriptions of torture and degradation. However, I'm a tiny bit closer to understanding.
In case I’m not the only person in the world who did not know the plot of the book beforehand I will not speak about it in detail. I wouldn’t want to spoil the book for other readers.
Beloved was only my second encounter with Toni Morrison despite having almost all of her books on my ‘to read’ list for years and I’m sorry it took me this long to familiarise myself with not only what is considered her greatest work but also a book so deserving of all the praise heaped upon it.
Morrison writes about slavery and the collective trauma it has created. A trauma that has been swept under rugs and resolutely ignored. The trauma in Sethe’s past refuses to stay hidden forever. It confronts Sethe and asks her:
1) How long will you hold on to me?
2) What purpose do I serve?
3) Who are you without me?
Finally after a harrowing almost fatal fight with her trauma Sethe needs to determine a way forward.
I love magical realism and the poetic style authors who employ it use but I did struggle with how abstract some passages of Beloved were. This difficulty was compounded by the stream of consciousness passages which were also acutely abstract . There were some parts of the book I only understood because I reread them or looked through a literary guide. Reading Beloved is hard work but it is well worth it.
Top reviews from other countries
Around this central theme are a number of close family members and slaves with common histories. All of the characters are portrayed with powerfully emotional lives that really made me, a white male in his 60s, get some sense of the tortured lives imposed on such individuals. I can only imagine the impact of this book on those with an African American heritage.
The book is not an easy read as the story is told in a non-linear fashion and through the eyes of multiple characters. This keeps the reader of their toes, but makes the story ultimately a more involving read.
I can understand why this is considered a classic.
Admittedly It took me a bit of time to get into this book. Though once I got the gist of the lingo and the "tongue" in my head, it was a joy to read and difficult to put the book down.
The book is set in Cincinnati 1873 and the story is based Seethe, who is a runaway slave, trying to get herself, her children, friend's and husband to his mother's a free slave, where Seethe's cannat least raise her children in a free society and can offer sanctuary.
The story highlights the brutality of the slave in order to give luxury, lust and riches to the white man.
What sacrifices, especially a slave mother would do to protect her children and highlight the discrimination and lynching even after slavery was abolished.
In this story, we follow Seethe, a slave, wife and a mother of four children battle to get all to the safety of her mother in law named Baby Suggs - freed by her owner Mr Garner and paid for by her Son, Halle, Seethe husband.
Living on a farm called sweet home, the owners Mr and Mrs Garner are kind and reasonable to the slave's they have. Until things change and another master comes to the farm with strict and brutal tactics, a plan is made by the slaves to escape to freedom.
The escape doesn't go to plan to everyone. Whitemen are patrolling to capture runaways. When Seethe see's them at Baby Suggs house and knows that no place is a safe and free place, she takes action to keep her babies safe and free from the pain and trauma a slave life brings, though when her baby dies, Seethe is haunted for the rest of her life.
When Paul D, a fellow companion (slave) from sweet home tracks down Seethe many years later, he manages to banish the haunting, though Seethe free in body, is not free in spirit and mind and is still haunted by her past. However, Beloved turns up and Seethe, it seems, is able to put her demons to rest after the pain of bringing them to the surface.
I loved the story, the writing style and use of language and description.
Reaching the end of the story, you do wonder if Beloved was everyone's haunting, a life lesson and a mutual understanding of the sacrifices made by Seethe. As Beloved seemed to open everyone's eye's, open up painful memories that still enslave Seethe and shackle her to the experience of being a slave. Or was Beloved plotting something else to punish Seethe further for allowing her to justify Seethe's actions. It's a very thought provoking story!
Toni Morrison has also written
The Bluest Eye
Song of Solomon
God Help the Child
The American Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Beloved, her fifth book, was inspired by a true story about a slave-mother in the mid-nineteenth century (called Sethe in the novel), who escaped across the river Ohio to the free city of Cincinnati, just before the Civil War.
There are four principal voices, about whom we learn as much from how they talk as what they say. There is a shocking central narrative, which darts back and forth in time like the unfolding of a shared trauma in group psychoanalytic sessions. The African-Americans who tell the story are profoundly instinctive and generally terrified of 'whitepeople', who are usually seen as non-human.
Other characters are also brought to life, such as the slave-owner, 'Schoolteacher', or the old-timer and ex-slave, 'Stamp Paid'. Though she is not the pivotal character in the story, Sethe's daughter Denver became (for me) the anchor, as the most sympathetic and rounded person, who eventually frees herself from mental subjugation.
Ghosts are flesh and blood entities in Beloved. Sethe's daughter (called Beloved) reappears after many years, despite having been killed when an infant by her mother, who did not want her baby to be captured by a vicious slave-owner. This incident led to Sethe and her family being shunned by their community. As in South Africa under apartheid, oppression can lead not to solidarity amongst the oppressed but to fierce mutual suspicion. This feels more realistic than the somewhat simplistic characterisations in the Oscar-winning film, 12 Years A Slave.
Occasionally the novel can be obscure. But this minor fault is massively outweighed by the imaginative writing which brings to life the hemmed-in and yet freely-roaming mindsets of the central characters.
Sadly, and despite Toni Morrison’s undoubted pedigree – for she won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 - I do agree with either of these epithets. Some might argue that as a [relatively] elderly white man I would be incapable of empathising with the book, but my criticisms are nothing to do with a lack of empathy but are more a feeling that the book is not worthy of being considered as a masterpiece, as the writing is often unconvincing and confusing and the narrative frequently distracts from the powerful underlying story.
The book, which was inspired by a true story, recounts the life of Sethe, who lived as a slave in Ohio in the second half of the 19th century; escaped via a desperate journey across the Ohio river; and came to live with her Grandmother Baby Suggs and her daughter Denver in a house called “124” in the free city of Cincinnati. The eponymous Beloved is the baby daughter whom Sethe killed because she didn’t want her to be taken away from her into a life of slavery; which led to Sethe being jailed (along with the baby Denver) and to her family being ostracised by their black community.
The book’s most impressive passages describe in compelling detail the impecunious day-to-day horrific and oppressed existence of black slaves in middle America in the 19th century; their terror of white people, who consider them to be unhuman; and the widespread racism then prevalent in the country, even after the American Civil War. The latter, of course, still has echoes in modern USA.
Although the dialogue is written in the vernacular, it is credible and easily understood despite (or perhaps because of) the absence of grammar, syntax and so forth.
The story is told from various perspectives, sometimes from that of the [third person] author and sometimes from those of Sethe, Baby Suggs, Denver and other characters. This, coupled with the frequent time shifts and the fact that these are not described or signposted, meant that I often found myself wishing that the narrative had been written in a more straightforward manner.
One thing in particular that I actively disliked was the reappearance in number 124 of Beloved as a young woman, who becomes the dominant personality in the household, first as a silent presence and then as the seducer of Paul D, the itinerant black man who had become Sethe’s lover. For several chapters I was unsure whether this character was someone with the same name as Sethe’s murdered daughter, or (as it transpires) was a supernatural reincarnation of her. I found this plot device rather tedious and unhelpful.