Beloved

By Toni Morrison,

Book cover of Beloved

Book description

'Toni Morrison was a giant of her times and ours... Beloved is a heart-breaking testimony to the ongoing ravages of slavery, and should be read by all' Margaret Atwood, New York Times

Discover this beautiful gift edition of Toni Morrison's prize-winning contemporary classic Beloved

It is the mid-1800s and as…

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Why read it?

37 authors picked Beloved as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I read this book for the first time while working on my PhD, and I love the novel for its beautiful, uncanny, and brutally honest portrayal of maternal love.

Based on the true story of an enslaved woman who escaped a Kentucky plantation to the free state of Ohio and then did the unthinkable in a desperate attempt to save her children from bondage, Morrison’s book is literally haunted by the ghost of the protagonist’s lost daughter, and figuratively haunted, by the stygian specter of American slavery. Toni Morrison was a true master, and for me, Beloved is her masterpiece.   

The language of Beloved is so lush, singular, and encompassing that it defies description. It must be experienced.

This book pulsates with troubled energy, possession, obsession, grief, rage, and life force. It is one of the most haunted – and haunting – novels I’ve ever read, an unflinching, deeply embodied account of slavery and its wake. The book feels like a living thing, alert and hungry. It contains the depths of our violence and sorrow, but also exaltation, healing, profound love and tenderness.

What can I say about Toni Morrison’s novel about the legacy of slavery that hasn’t been said by a hundred book reviewers? Just that Beloved is her masterpiece and reading it made me want to write fiction.

I love the non-linear plot, how it seamlessly moves between the past and present, between the outer and inner lives of its central characters, and its clear-eyed rendering of the horrific reality of slavery in the pre-civil war South. A book that not only transported me to another time but transformed me.

From Erna's list on grown-up time travelers.

It is hard to forget the ghosts and spirits haunting this book. They register the pain of slavery and dare us to look away. Little in my education as a historian equipped me to engage stories of loss and violence.

Morrison turned to fiction to restore a balanced view of American history, leaving us with a question: what tools do we need to unlock hidden histories? I think about this question every time I write. 

This book is a longtime favorite of mine. Toni Morrison was a master at blending the personal story and the political, and in this book, she blends the true story of a mother who kills her child to prevent slave catchers from returning the baby to life as a slave.

Morrison’s fictional Sethe is haunted by the ghost of the baby she killed and the memories of her difficult life as a slave. This is one of the novels I return to time after time, both for the beauty of the writing and the portrayal of a mother’s love, guilt,…

This book would have to go on my list of top five novels ever. It’s a work of pure genius that I can re-read over and over.

Morrison’s magical realist rendering of Margaret Garner’s history—a slave’s murder of her child to free her from slavery—enters myth with Beloved’s reincarnation. The novel is about the aftermath of trauma, and the exorcism of Beloved shows Sethe overcoming the shame of the murder through the support of the Black community.

In Paul D’s words: “You are your best thing.” I also have a soft spot in my heart for Denver.

This is one of those books that I re-read periodically, and every time I do, I find something new to love.

I’m a sucker for well-crafted prose, and the language in this book is haunting and beautiful. The novel’s magic is centered in the titular character, who appears first as a ghost and then later as the quiet newcomer who gives her name as Beloved.

I love the way that Morrison’s poetic language and the hazy, dreamlike quality to the storytelling make the reader slow down, put aside the day-to-day “real” world, and accept plot developments like the ghost of…

It feels presumptuous to even try to describe this novel…I can only say that to me, it is a story about a truth so painful that it can only be viewed indirectly and magically, from all the many vantage points its characters (and ghosts) offer.

A spiraling, heartbreaking explosion of a book, brilliantly structured, beautifully written, with a secret at its center. 

A masterpiece that I read while in graduate school, dazzled by Morrison’s artistry.

At the time, I wasn’t aware that I had Black ancestors who’d been enslaved and that my mother was passing for white, which I chronicled in my memoir White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing. Reflecting on this gothic novel now, I have a deeper understanding of Sethe and the haunting ravages of slavery. How a house and a person can be possessed by the brutality of the past.  

From Gail's list on modern gothic mystery.

I first read Beloved at university, doing a combined English Literature and Philosophy degree, and remain as affected by it as I was then. Toni Morrison’s aching prose means this story washes over you like a wave, subsuming you in the lives of the characters.

This is a ghost story, in that protagonist Sethe is visited by a woman who she believes to be the return of her lost daughter, but it is truly a book about the psychological trauma of slavery, and what it means to have a love that is “too thick”, to be forced towards unimaginable actions…

From Heather's list on compelling creepy.

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