Saturday, 24 January 2009

Beloved - Toni Morrison

I can't even begin to describe the beauty of this book. It's simply among the best written novels I've ever read.
It's also a strange book, and I can't say I completely understood it. I just enjoyed it immensely even if its subject was tough and the story a very sad one, made of denied rights, cruelties, nightmares and unspeakable deaths.
It's set in the late 1800s, in America. Slavery is ending, but at 124, Bluestone Road, Cincinnati, its inhabitants are plagued by a different kind of slavery. The angst of the ghost of a baby who died violently. Sethe, the mother of the dead baby and of Denver, knows it and accepts it as a part of her punishment. She earned her freedom from slavery, but she's condemned to suffer even through her free life. This is her story. But it's also about many other people: Paul D, a man who was a slave in the same house as Sethe, and who returns to her after years of his escape, and tries to establish a new life for himself.
Denver, Sethe's youngest daughter, who was born on a boat, and never met her father.
Baby Suggs' who preached ex-slaves to recognize the beauty in themselves and decided to die after her people betrayed her.
All these people escaped slavery, but their nightmares, their past, find a way of catching up with them, one way of another.
And of course, this is the story of Beloved, who is the incarnation of Sethe's dead baby, but is also "something more". Maybe the collective spirit of every slave, brought from Africa, who died and were forgotten.

This was painful, like every story of slavery. But also so beautiful. And moving, deep, sensual, mysterious, dramatic, passionate. It's one of those books that are hard to talk about, but that resonate deeply inside.
It was a journey into the highest level of writing, and into the deepest of emotions.
I can see myself reading everything by Toni Morrison in the future.

other reviews:
1 more chapter
Matching Curtains
Jackie (Pulitzer Project)

4 comments:

Chris said...

I can't wait to read this one Valentina! It's been on my TBR list forever. Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much!

Nymeth said...

So far I've only read this and Jazz, but I love her writing too.

Rebecca Reid said...

I loved this when I read it. I think I should reread it!

I have to say, that is the prettiest cover I've ever seen for it!

Trish said...

I read this one about 10 years ago and remember having a tough time with it as well. I'd love to re-read it again someday. The Bluest Eye is also really good, but difficult subject matter. Sula is pretty accessible, I think. Th