Beloved

Beloved

Audiobook CD - 2006
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Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe's new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement. After the Civil War ends, Sethe longingly recalls the two-year-old daughter whom she killed when threatened with recapture after escaping from slavery 18 years before.
Publisher: Westminster, MD : Books on Tape, p2006.
ISBN: 9781415935354
1415935351
Branch Call Number: CD FIC MORRISO
Characteristics: 10 sound discs (12 hrs., 4 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.

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ashleyung
Aug 11, 2020

The story begins in 1873 in Cincinnati, Ohio, following the end of the American Civil War and the abolishment of slavery. The story centers around Sethe, a former slave, who lives with her eighteen-year-old daughter, Denver, on 124 Bluestone Road. 124 is known to be haunted by an abusive, malevolent spirit which is believed to be that of Sethe’s dead child. The arrival of Paul D., another former slave that Sethe previously knew from their shared time on the Sweet Home plantation, induces an apparent exorcism of the spirit. Yet the following day, a young woman who calls herself Beloved, appears in front of 124, and Sethe takes her in.

Although it’s unclear whether Beloved is truly the embodied spirit of Sethe’s dead baby or some other person, the importance lies in what she symbolizes: when Beloved arrived, she also brought with her all the “rememory” of Sethe’s past, including her time at Sweet Home and the atrocities she had endured and witnessed, her escape, and her life as a free woman thereafter.

Beyond its plot, one of the most interesting aspects of the novel is the way in which it’s written: out of linear time sequence. Throughout the novel, the tenses change, moving back and forth between the present moment and flashing-back to twenty years prior, each time revealing more and more of the characters’ past. The perspective of the novel also shifts from omnipresent point-of-view, often narrowing in on each character, to first-person, and back.

Another highlight of the novel is Morrison’s style of writing. At first, it can be difficult to follow, as Morrison has a way of describing events without ever really saying exactly what she means so that it takes the reader some time to fully grasp at it. However, when understood, her writing flows poetically and is deeply engaging.

The content of the novel is very heavy. Morrison directly brings the modern reader into experiencing the impact of slavery and its aftermath, and she is brutal in describing the inhumanity of slavery. Despite the disturbing content, or because of it, I highly recommend this book, because it’s important for everyone to understand the history of our country.

b
Bklvr1981
Oct 12, 2019

Did I read this already?? Do we have at home?

j
JStuart23
Sep 21, 2019

Probably the most profound book I have read of Ms. Morrison yet. This book truly touches on the human condition of slaves and how slavery is internalized. This book was difficult for me to follow. After each chapter I had to read a summary of the chapter at Sparknotes.com. Once I could understand what was going on and who was who, I started to feel the emotions of each of these characters.

This book is filled with symbolism. The first 8 chapters are a testament to that. From chapter 9 to the end of the book, it stops with metaphors and basically puts trauma right into your face. This is the other side of slavery that people don't really understand. Physically abuse is nothing compared to what it does to a person mentally.

This book made me feel like I was back in the classroom discussing and dissecting the book to try and interpret its inner message, but also what Toni is trying to convey.

This book should be read by all. It is food for the soul and teaches humanity through tragedy.

s
SherryMarieJ
Sep 03, 2019

Didn't care for or finish it.

s
steven_hahn
Aug 07, 2019

Very moving story that delves deep into its characters’ psyches and how they are shaped based on the tumultuous events surrounding our nation’s transformation from a slave-owning society to a free one.

The story is constructed in a way as to jump around in time, a method which makes it confusing at times. The nature of the characters also adds to the complexity of the storyline.

The prose is very beautiful and, as this is read by the Toni Morrison herself, imbued with the same passion one imagines she felt when writing it.

j
jimg2000
Aug 07, 2019

Saw the acclaimed 1998 film (many thanks to Oprah) and then read the book years ago. Recall surprised and shocked by the very raw story ... and the prose on "colors" of things and "without skin" used to describe white men. Have not reread the novel yet but scanned the 200+ quotes in goodreads and the book's wiki page (summary, themes and characters.) An unique historic American literature.

s
samoan_wayfarer
Jun 23, 2019

Personally I had difficulties in starting the book, but after finishing Beloved I can see why it is considered to be a classic novel and the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize!

Definitely the type of novel I would come back to read and analyse over time, (once I've matured lol) and to appreciate in its entirety.

TechLibrarian Jun 10, 2019

I first read Beloved when I was 20 or 21, almost 20 years ago now, so I decided to give it another read. Though it had certainly made an impression on me, this time through has been so much more meaningful for me as a reader. The story is gripping, yes, and made richer by symbolism and fluid but technical writing. At some points I had to put the book down just to have a moment to reflect. One of the greats, for sure, definitely worth reading or rereading!

a
alexy93
Dec 08, 2018

a crime against humanity. slavery contributes to the destruction of one's identity and ultimately the soul. the weight of its chains is felt across generations.

RogerDeBlanck Jan 31, 2018

Upon its publication in 1987, Beloved was deemed a masterpiece, and it went on to win the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Through the character of Sethe, Morrison investigates the tragic, true-life events surrounding an ex-slave named Margaret Garner. The institution of slavery becomes magnified through a heinous act of violence that haunts Sethe throughout her life. The novel examines Sethe’s psychological wounds as she struggles to find strength to counteract the unthinkable memories of her past. With prose that is lean, clear, and beautiful, Morrison joins the past with the present through Sethe’s remembrances. Morrison focuses on the mental anguish of slavery amid the physical brutalities, and she presents a wrenching exploration of slavery’s legacy in America. Beloved is one of the monumental achievements of literature in the 20th century and one of the central reasons Morrison became the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. It is my favorite novel, and it is a reading experience I cherish as more valuable and emotional than any other book.

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Quotes

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jenniferzilm Nov 19, 2019

“She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”

Laura_X Feb 22, 2019

Outside, snow solidified itself into graceful forms. The peace of winter stars seemed permanent.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.

Laura_X Feb 05, 2016

Me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.

SPL_STARR Jun 15, 2015

"124 was spiteful."

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knitty78 Jun 10, 2014

knitty78 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

EuSei Sep 26, 2013

EuSei thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Notices

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EuSei Sep 24, 2012

Violence: Rape. Extreme violence.

EuSei Sep 24, 2012

Sexual Content: Oral sex, incest

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