By Toni Morrison
Why this book?
The first time I read this book, I was a 22-year-old university student who was voraciously eating up feminist literature. Beloved not only shattered every notion I had about female narratives, voice, and the emotional impact a story could have on a reader, it also ripped me open on an inexplicable somatic, visceral level. Given it's a slave narrative with descriptions of dehumanizing violence against many of the characters, this is not an easy read. But bearing witness is what the book requires. For me, the mother-daughter relationship between Sethe and Beloved is one of the most tender and horrifying I have ever read, and thirty years later, it still haunts me. The echo of trauma resonates on every page, its reverberation, gutting for the reader.
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