Sunday, January 4, 2009

Beloved--Toni Morrison

Year Published: 1987
Pages: 288
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4/5

"124 was spiteful. Full of a baby's venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children."

Thus begins Beloved, an amazing story of strength, courage, perserverence, and desperation. Set in Ohio in the late 1800s and revolving around the family of an escaped slave, Sethe, it is a haunting tale of the effects of slavery. "Beloved" refers to the headstone of the grave of one of the children she lost after Sethe's escape, and the ghost of said child haunts the house Sethe occupies with her other daughter, Denver. When a fellow slave of the plantation from which Sethe fled appears on her doorstep, he and the ghost face-off, which sets off a series of events and forces Sethe to confront the horrors and secrets of her past.

This is a beautifully written tale of beauty and horror. The characters are haunted by their past, by the grievances they have suffered and by their responses to their treatment, as much as 124 is haunted by Beloved. Whether or not the ghost is "real" becomes secondary; the character's pasts are true and haunting enough.

Book-a-Week # 2
Challenge/s: Decades, A-Z, New Classics

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