Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beloved, Toni Morrison

BelovedBeloved124 was spiteful. Full of a baby's venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children. For years each put up with the spite in his own way, but by 1873 Sethe and her daughter Denver were its only victims.

Beloved was one of the strangest novels I've ever read. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, and I ended up not finishing it, even though I thought that I would really like it. "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." 

This book was really, really strange, and I didn't find it a "towering achievement". It wasn't at all what I was expecting. It's kind of magic realism, I suppose, but not as good as other works of magic realism. If you call it historical fiction, it's certainly a really weird form of it. 

The writing and the metaphors were okay though strange, and the writing could be dense but interesting. However, the book was really confusing; it was hard to keep track of what was going on. The characters are all really odd too. I ended up putting it down; I had better things to read. I can see the appeal of it to some, but I don't think it deserved the Pulitzer Prize. I liked the font of the edition I read (on right), but somehow it fell flat for me, and I just couldn't connect with any of the characters. There's so much vagueness that goes on in the book, and I like mystery, but I don't like everything to be so strange.

Some may enjoy this novel, and I can see why. It's still worth a try, and who knows? You may love it. I guess the reason that I didn't finish it was that I was expecting something totally different. Like when you're expecting water and it's juice. You spit it out, even though it's not bad per se; just unexpected. Maybe I'll revisit it again, actually finish it, and enjoy it more. Though I don't think I'm ever going to love this one.

Read Beloved:
  • if you like Toni Morrison
  • if you like historical fiction of sorts
275 pages.
If the library doesn't have it, don't worry about reading it!


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