Author: Toni Morrison
Pages:Paperback, 324 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Summary: 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, bur 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
It’s hard to tell exactly what this book is about. Since I’ve finished it I’ve been thinking about it and to my frustration the word that ends this phrase doesn’t pop in my mind: “Beloved is a tale of…”.
Beloved is hard to define, and though my previously refered felling of frustration I can’t stop thinking about this great book, and every time I think about it, a whole new interpretation of it, or of one of its many chapters or events turns crystal clear to me.
But even though I can’t sum up the whole book in one word, I still enjoyed it, and maybe not being able to define it is one of the reasons why I loved it so much.
Beloved was my introduction to Toni Morrison and the first pages of it where hard to get into. The writing style was a bit (OK, more than a bit) confusing to me, and I kept re-reading what I had already read to be sure that I had get the main points, but after a few pages everything became OK, and I could finally appreciate the book.
Beloved story is not linear or straight forward so reading it was a brain exercise, but a great and fun exercise, that I will like to repeat. The reason this story it’s not straight forward is because different characters see and intrepert the events of the plot in diverse ways due to their diverse backgrounds: for instance Sethe interpretations are marked by her time has slave, Paul D’s ones’ are marked by the several adversities he faced after Sweet Home and by the fact that he managed to overcome them,… More than interesting I found this method fascinating because it’s a great way for the reader to discover and understand better the characters. The only problem that I think some people might have with this way of telling the story is that the narrators are very unreliable because of it.
Beloved story is great, but it was the whimsical feeling that I had while reading the book that kept me turning pages. The book sometimes gives to me the some feelings that fairy tales give me, that anything, good or bad, is possible, and that the boundaries of reality may be trespassed.
A great book that will make you think about how past influences present and future, and how far love can go.
“The future was a matter of keeping the past at bay.”
“She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they would not have it.”
“Clever, but schoolteacher beat him anyway to show him that definitions belonged to the definers—not the defined.”