Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Two of the Nobel laureate's powerful novels fall into the historical fiction category. In Beloved, which is set in Ohio at the end of the Civil War, a black woman who fled slavery in Kentucky several years prior is haunted by the ghost of the little daughter she killed when faced with recapture. Jazz compels the reader to the Harlem of the 1920s in a novel framed by the story of Violet and Joe Trace, married for more than 20 years, and how they deal with the fact that he has recently shot his lover, a girl of 18.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Powerful is too tame a word to describe Toni Morrison's searing new novel of post-Civil War Ohio. Morrison, whose myth-laden storytelling shone in Song of Solomon and other novels, has created an unforgettable world in this novel about ex-slaves haunted by violent memories. Before the war, Sethe, pregnant, sent her children away to their grandmother in Ohio, whose freedom had been paid for by their father. Sethe runs too, but when her ``owners'' come to recapture her, she attempts to murder the children, succeeding with one, named Beloved. This murder will (literally) haunt Sethe for the rest of her life and affect everyone around her. A fascinating, grim, relentless story, this important book by a major writer belongs in most libraries. Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Morrison's latest work cinched her reputation as a foremost contemporary American novelist. A staggering depiction of hauntedness set in Ohio after the Civil War, Beloved concerns a woman who flees slavery and, facing recapture, kills her little girl. Morrison's vision of black life, particularly the impact of the past on the present, is mythical in the telling.


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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

A demanding but enthralling novel in which the agony, violence, and sexual abuse of slavery--and the struggle to escape--are dramatized through the experiences of intensely individualized characters.


Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Toni Morrison's fifth novel, Beloved, is the story of the life and loves of Sethe, an escaped slave who had preferred the risk of death to slavery for both herself and her children. Readers who know Morrison's fiction will find familiar themes-the struggle for identity, the all-consuming demands of love, the inescapable presence of the past-explored in a lyric style that combines realistic detail with folktale, legend, and myth. The technique invites almost inevitable comparison with Morrison's masterpiece, Song of Solomon (1977), and indeed there are numerous haunting parallels between Sethe's household and that of Pilate Dead that may illustrate a weakness in this latest novel. The fragile equilibrium between reality and myth so carefully sustained in Song of Solomon is less successful in Beloved, and, as a result, Sethe and her family are less real, less flesh-and-blood than the Deads. And the continual employment of flashbacks in the latter novel occasionally leads to confusion. These criticisms, however, are relatively minor; Song of Solomon is a great novel; Beloved, a very good one. Morrison is one of a handful of contemporary novelists whose work will, in this reviewer's judgment, stand the test of time. For academic, secondary school, and public libraries.-C.E. Davis, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

The ghost of the child Beloved comes back to haunt the mother who murdered her, in a demanding novel that dramatizes the agony, violence, and sexual abuse of slavery. (Jl 87 Upfront)


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

This literally haunting novel encapsulates the horror of slavery and the consuming passion of motherhood in a single act of defiance by a runaway slave. (Jl 87 Upfront)


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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Art illuminates history in this powerful story of the black experience and the devastating legacy of slavery after the Civil War. (Jl 87)


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Mixed with the lyric beauty of the writing, the fury in Morrison's (Song of Solomonp latest book is almost palpable. Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this haunting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath traces the life of a young woman, Sethe, who has kept a terrible memory at bay only by shutting down part of her mind. Juxtaposed with searing descriptions of brutality, gradually revealed in flashbacks, are equally harrowing scenes in which fantasy takes flesh, a device Morrison handles with consummate skill. The narrative concerns Sethe's former life as a slave on Sweet Home Farm, her escape with her children to what seems a safe haven and the tragic events that ensue. The death of Sethe's infant daughter Beloved is the incident on which the plot hinges, and it is obvious to the reader that the sensuous young woman who mysteriously appears one day is Beloved's spirit, come back to claim Sethe's love. Sethe's surviving daughter, Denver, immediately grasps the significance of Beloved's return and so does Paul Dno period after D, another escapee from Sweet Home; but Sethe herself resists comprehension, and, as a result, a certain loss of tension affects the latter part of the narrative. But this is a small flaw in a novel full of insights, both piercing and tender, with distinctive, memorable characters, flowing prose that conveys speech patterns with musical intensity and a brilliantly conceived story. 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. BOMC main selection. (September 16) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Two of the Nobel laureate's powerful novels fall into the historical fiction category. In Beloved, which is set in Ohio at the end of the Civil War, a black woman who fled slavery in Kentucky several years prior is haunted by the ghost of the little daughter she killed when faced with recapture. Jazz compels the reader to the Harlem of the 1920s in a novel framed by the story of Violet and Joe Trace, married for more than 20 years, and how they deal with the fact that he has recently shot his lover, a girl of 18.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

The ghost of the child Beloved comes back to haunt the mother who murdered her in a complex, eloquent novel that captures the agony, violence, and viciousness of slavery.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

The ghost of the child Beloved comes back to haunt the mother who murdered her in a complex, eloquent novel that captures the agony, violence, and viciousness of slavery.