Book - 1987
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Toni Morrison--author of Song of Solomon and Tar Baby --is a writer of remarkable powers: her novels, brilliantly acclaimed for their passion, their dazzling language and their lyric and emotional force, combine the unassailable truths of experience and emotion with the vision of legend and imagination.

It is the story--set in post-Civil War Ohio--of Sethe, an escaped slave who has risked death in order to wrench herself from a living death; who has lost a husband and buried a child; who has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad: a woman of "iron eyes and backbone to match." Sethe lives in a small house on the edge of town with her daughter, Denver, her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, and a disturbing, mesmerizing intruder who calls herself Beloved.

Sethe works at "beating back the past," but it is alive in all of them. It keeps Denver fearful of straying from the house. It fuels the sadness that has settled into Baby Suggs' "desolated center where the self that was no self made its home." And to Sethe, the past makes itself heard and felt incessantly: in memories that both haunt and soothe the arrival of Paul D ("There was something blessed in his manner. Women saw him and wanted to weep"), one of her fellow slaves on the farm where she had once been the vivid and painfully cathartic stories she and Paul D tell each other of their years in captivity, of their glimpses of freedom...and, most powerfully, in the apparition of Beloved, whose eyes are expressionless at their deepest point, whose doomed childhood belongs to the hideous logic of slavery and who, as daughter, sister and seductress, has now come from the "place over there" to claim retribution for what she lost and for what was taken from her.

Sethe's struggle to keep Beloved from gaining full possession of her present--and to throw off the long, dark legacy of her past--is at the center of this profoundly affecting and startling novel. But its intensity and resonance of feeling, and the boldness of its narrative, lift it beyond its particulars so that it speaks to our experience as an entire nation with a past of both abominable and ennobling circumstance.

In Beloved, Toni Morrison has given us a great American novel.

Toni Morrison was awarded the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in Literature for Beloved.
Publisher: New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1987.
ISBN: 9780394535975
Branch Call Number: MORRISON
Characteristics: 275 pages ; 25 cm.


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From Library Staff

Killed. Me. Dead. I honestly cried off and on for week after reading this book in college. I don't know if I could manage it again, or if maybe I'd be less tender knowing what was coming. Such a great and important book, but it really rips your heart out.

List - Polli Recommends
LPL_PolliK Sep 06, 2016

This book eviscerated me, left me sobbing for a week and I still think about certain scenes 25 years later. If you want a book to change you and haunt you, this is the one.

Sethe, an escaped slave living in post-Civil War Ohio with her daughter and mother-in-law, is persistently haunted by the ghost of her dead baby girl. -Novelist

From the critics

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Jun 23, 2019

Personally I had difficulties in starting the book, but after finishing Beloved I can see why it is considered to be a classic novel and the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize!

Definitely the type of novel I would come back to read and analyse over time, (once I've matured lol) and to appreciate in its entirety.

TechLibrarian Jun 10, 2019

I first read Beloved when I was 20 or 21, almost 20 years ago now, so I decided to give it another read. Though it had certainly made an impression on me, this time through has been so much more meaningful for me as a reader. The story is gripping, yes, and made richer by symbolism and fluid but technical writing. At some points I had to put the book down just to have a moment to reflect. One of the greats, for sure, definitely worth reading or rereading!

Dec 08, 2018

a crime against humanity. slavery contributes to the destruction of one's identity and ultimately the soul. the weight of its chains is felt across generations.

RogerDeBlanck Jan 31, 2018

Upon its publication in 1987, Beloved was deemed a masterpiece, and it went on to win the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Through the character of Sethe, Morrison investigates the tragic, true-life events surrounding an ex-slave named Margaret Garner. The institution of slavery becomes magnified through a heinous act of violence that haunts Sethe throughout her life. The novel examines Sethe’s psychological wounds as she struggles to find strength to counteract the unthinkable memories of her past. With prose that is lean, clear, and beautiful, Morrison joins the past with the present through Sethe’s remembrances. Morrison focuses on the mental anguish of slavery amid the physical brutalities, and she presents a wrenching exploration of slavery’s legacy in America. Beloved is one of the monumental achievements of literature in the 20th century and one of the central reasons Morrison became the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. It is my favorite novel, and it is a reading experience I cherish as more valuable and emotional than any other book.

Apr 26, 2017

Another lynching story more or less copied in the Faulkner modernist obscurant style. Liberals like Faulkner and John Grisham give their borg lynching stories which please that mindset: Sycamore Row from Grisham and Dry September from Faulkner. Like obama Morrison was given the Pulitzer and Nobel prize for being black. I selected Beloved since it is supposedly her best work; the hoi-poloi love to commend it thinking it makes them appear intellectual and chic. I thought it would be crap, but it isn't; it harbors silly negro mysticism, but that is pretty much a characteristic of the beast. I had to make myself read the first thirty pages, then I got into it and it was interesting--not beautiful like Penn Warren's All The King's Men nor half as good a story as To Kill A Mockingbird: my favorite, and my selection for most perfectly written novel.

Who was this offensive to: a loser liberal jackass; or a loser mindless african?

The plotline was very deep, but the characters look 3-dimensional. To me, I am so speechless to recommend long enough. Overall, a masterpiece worth reading behind history!

Jan 09, 2017

Morrison is a powerful and lyrical writer of unspeakable things taking place at an inhuman time in our country. Beloved is the murdered baby, the grandmother on the slave ship, the voice of all those lost in the Middle Passage. It is not an easy read.

Jun 13, 2016

A powerful book that seems to have been a lived experience almost.

Nov 26, 2015

Selected for the Logan Central Tuesday Book Club in 2016. For a full list of 2016 selections, see the Logan Central Tuesday Book Club list.

Jul 22, 2015

This book is generally viewed as a great work of literary fiction, but I have difficulty finding any reasons why. I understand it was intentionally written in a confusing manner to make the reader feel instantly wrapped up in the plot, but I was unimpressed by a complete lack of clarity. It was a poor attempt at combining the courageous perseverance of former slaves and a pitiful horror-based ghost story. Hopping between the timelines was far from seamless. One chapter lacked even a single comprehensive sentence. I finished the book feeling no empathy for the characters. I found the overarching concept the book was supposedly about intriguing, but the story itself was bland, the characters both uninteresting and unlikable, the plot impossible to follow, and the book poorly written overall.

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Laura_X Feb 22, 2019

Outside, snow solidified itself into graceful forms. The peace of winter stars seemed permanent.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.

Laura_X Feb 05, 2016

Me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.

SPL_STARR Jun 15, 2015

"124 was spiteful."


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knitty78 Jun 10, 2014

knitty78 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

EuSei Sep 26, 2013

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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EuSei Sep 24, 2012

Violence: Rape. Extreme violence.

EuSei Sep 24, 2012

Sexual Content: Oral sex, incest


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