Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Bluest Eye--Toni Morrison

Genre: Fiction
Year Published: 1969
Pages: 224
Rating: 4/5

"Quiet as it's kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941." That's the first line of the prelude to The Bluest Eye, but the opening line of the next section is one of my favorites: "Nuns go by quiet as lust, and drunken men and sober eyes sing in the lobby of the Greek hotel."

I love Morrison's prose; her poetic comparisons and personifications give a clear yet sad-eyed description of the world her characters inhabit. This book is really sad, and deals with some disturbing subject matter--incest, racism, and just general mistreatment of human beings. The whole point of this novel appears to be that if you treat a person as if they're nothing, they will end up being nothing. And sadly, many of the characters in this book are treated that way. As the author writes at the end of the novel: "The soil is bad for certain kinds of flowers. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear, and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live. We are wrong, of course, but it doesn't matter. It's too late. At least on the edge of my town, among the garbage and the sunflowers of my town, it's much, much, much too late."

Book a Week # 7
Challenge/s: Decades, 1% Well Read

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