By Toni Morrison
Why this book?
I first read Beloved years ago in Argentina, over three wonderstruck days in a cold room in the Andes. It was one of the busiest times in my life, but everything stopped when I opened Morrison’s masterpiece. This tale of slavery’s long shadow over the lives of a Black family in Ohio is breathtaking on many levels—language, characterization, tragic moral force—but it is also, to its very core, a fantasy novel. This is magic, not metaphor. The dead return and take up sustained physical life among the living. What could be more fantastical? Of course, there’s an idea that “the fantasy readership” isn’t looking for earth-shaking literary novels, but that idea has more traction among those who talk about fantasy readers than the readers themselves. The latter are an avid, omnivorous bunch. Hand them something as brilliant as Beloved and come back in three days.
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