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?

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

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.

I don’t think I could have written my book had I not read Morrison’s extraordinary, brilliant Beloved.

From her book, I learned how to create the historical setting in which characters live, suffer, love, and die. In her novel I also learned the profound capacity of language to create what seems utterly real, even though it is imagined. And real in very complex, dazzlingly full, amazingly perceptive, penetrating, ways.

Style is a novelist’s presence or even identity on the page, and while, for a writer of fiction, imitating some other writer’ style never really works, and is anyway a…

No writer has gone deeper into birth’s problems and generative possibilities than Toni Morrison. 

Childbirth frames her work from beginning to end; her first novel (The Bluest Eye) begins in a failed pregnancy and her last novel (God Help the Child) ends in a hopeful one. This mid-career novel, perhaps her most celebrated, has at its center one of the most memorable and beautiful birth scenes ever written. As a reader, I encountered that beauty within the fraught context Morrison frames it. 

Morrison depicts birth under duress, a treatment that paradoxically allows her to see in birth…

Set at a time of slavery in the U.S., Sethe, a former slave, makes a terrible – and to her the only - choice to save her girl child from the horrors faced by women in slavery.

Beloved is the daughter who haunts her, and their tale has haunted me ever since.

Some of the images in this book – like the moment when Sethe, the protagonist, shrugs off her dress to reveal the whip scars on her back – will stay with me to the grave.

This novel is brutal and beautiful in equal measure. Anyone who wants to explore the forgotten parts of Black history owes a huge debt to Toni Morrison, and she fills such a heart-wrenching story with such a vivid cast of characters.

Heavens, this is such a tough book.

The subject – the effects of slavery on the people enslaved – is never going to be easy, and Morrison’s dense prose and time shifts are challenging. At one time I taught the book to British A-level students. They found it hard to understand; I found it hard to explain without sinking to the banal. But I believe it changed all our lives.

You can’t say that of many books.

From Judith's list on where the past is another country.

Toni Morrison’s magnificent Beloved is another novel that is deeper and more interesting each time I read it. It is, I think, a perfect novel, filled with heart and character and emotional truth. No American, certainly, can truly understand our history without reading this story of an escaped slave who murders her own child rather than allow her to be brought back to slavery, and then is haunted by the daughter’s ghost. What a beautiful and redemptive book, perhaps the most important novel written in my lifetime.

From Susan's list on that only get better with time.

This classic is the perfect example of why Morrison is considered one of the all-time greatest American writers. Her storytelling is visceral, and made me experience what it might feel like to be enslaved and bring that suffering forward to future generations. Morrison’s characters’ trauma is our country’s trauma, and for that reason, this novel should be required reading for us all. Her use of magical realism is grounded in both history and indigenous belief. And yes, there are light moments here and there, as Morrison is a master who knows you can’t have a great novel if you don’t…

My final pick is not technically a horror novel. It’s usually classified as literary fiction, however; it starts with a haunted house. The first sentence in the novel is, “124 was spiteful.” 124 refers to the house’s address or house number. The family believes is the spirit of one of their children who died at the age of two named Beloved. Later, the house’s presence leaves, and a strange, adult visitor arrives calling herself Beloved. The novel’s setting is during the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War. There are flashbacks to when slavery was legal, and we see the violent,…

When Beloved was first released, I was already a Morrison fan and looking forward to her latest. But I’d barely cracked the cover when I put it down. I’d never felt such a haunting, repellent force. Weeks went by and I tried again, once more blocked by the same energy. On page 18, Sethe says, “I got a tree on my back and a haint in my house” and it wasn’t the latter that shook me. It was the “tree”—the mark of the whip: something alive and, on some level, growing. Months later I faced the monster again, this time…

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