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Sula

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  31,889 ratings  ·  1,710 reviews
"Extravagantly beautiful...enormously, achingly alive...a howl of love and rage, playful and funny as well as hard and bitter."--New York Times

This rich and moving novel traces the lives of two black heroines from their close-knit childhood in a small Ohio town, through their sharply divergent paths of womanhood, to their ultimate confrontation and reconciliation.

Nel Wrigh

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Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 5th 2002 by Plume (first published 1973)
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The Color Purple by Alice WalkerTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonThe Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm XBeloved by Toni MorrisonInvisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Best African American Books
21st out of 563 books — 651 voters
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathThe Color Purple by Alice WalkerThe Awakening by Kate Chopin
Best Feminist Fiction
57th out of 867 books — 1,838 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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brian
all these new editions of morrison’s books have the same author photo on the back. and it’s been causing problems. check it out:





despite that weird author hand placement thing, i've been kinda seriously obsessing over all these pictures of morrison's huge lion's head, piercing eyes, and silver dreads... and as i plow through her body of work i stare at her face for some external indication of all the furious demented & psychotic shit she flings at us. by all appearances she's a lovely woman.
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Chris
Toni Morrison is the bee's knees, the cat's pajamas, the flea's eyebrows, the canary's tusks, the eel's ankle, the snake's hip, and the mutt's nuts.
Barry Pierce
I always thought of Toni Morrison as one of those writers that your mother reads. Y'know, somewhere in the realms of Danielle Steel. How wrong was I eh? For something so short, the breadth of time and story is remarkable. I loved the dichotomous friendship of Nel and Sula and its eventual result. This novel is surprisingly disgusting as well, like Bret Easton Ellis disturbing. I like twisted tales though and I definitely like Morrison. More like this please!
Nicholas Armstrong
I want to first preface this with a concept presented by Harold Bloom. Bloom was discussing the admission or omission of 'ethnic' writers from the canon. He argued the reason there were so many white male writers is because, obviously, of societal factors of oppression, but also because they were the ones doing most of the writing. Bloom does not think we should rewrite the canon with new ethnic writers just because there aren't any. He DOES think an ethnic writer is important and should be ackn ...more
Lawsonlitgeek
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allyson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
I disliked Sula.

Sula the book was great; a bit dry at points, but - of course - very well written, very well rendered by Toni Morrison. This is my first TM book, and I think it was a good introduction.

Hannah is one of my favorite characters. I am quite baffled as to how someone could describe a woman who basically sleeps with every man in town but make her seem so tame and likeable that I can't count it against her. I think that's the point; she was dependent on someone else for her financial se
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Metoka
Aug 19, 2007 Metoka rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Feminists
Sula is controversial and she doesn't care. This is a novel about friendship in its most overwhelming form - not two women as friends, but two women as one: sharing, sharing, sharing until sharing was no longer appropriate...but does Sula know that? Did Nel?

Best lines:

1. "When you gone to get married? You need to have some babies. It'll settle you"
"I don't want to make somebody else. I want to make myself."


2. "She had been looking all along for a friend, and it took her a while to discover that
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Shannon *Eboni Scarlett* Holliday
Sula was a gift to me from an old boyfriend who I had been having trust issues with. I never forget he gave me this book as a birthday gift. I read it feeling mixed with emotions regarding my thoughts of his cheating or potential cheating with other women. Nonetheless, I read this book. I remember getting mad at Sula because it seemed no matter who was nice or extended kindness to her she always managed to have a negative reaction towards them. After finishing this book I recall feeling angry wi ...more
Edward Lorn
Sula is very nearly a horror novel. We're not talking serial killers or unstoppable monstrosities, but raw human horror, the kind of horror of which I wish there was more. Toni Morrison might cringe to think anyone would consider her work in the same breath as horror fiction, but there are quite a few disturbing scenes, ones that I will not spoil or even allude to in this review. I want you to experience them for yourselves. Needless to say, I was shocked by the brutality, and pleasantly surpris ...more
Cher
2 stars - Meh. Just ok.

Toni Morrison has been on my personal "must read" authors list for years, so it is especially disappointing to find that her style is simply not a good fit for my tastes. This book jumps from one unpleasant subject to the next, bouncing in and out of a stream of consciousness flow. While appropriate for the time in which the novel is set, I also found the repetitive, constant focus on race to be platitudinous and unfortunate. There are far more things I would like to know
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Tiffany E
Mar 16, 2008 Tiffany E rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone 11th grade and up
Sula is rich with amazing figurative language and outstanding imagery. Reading this book will fully immerse the reader into the joys and tragedies of the characters within it. The story centers on two characters - Sula Peace and Nel Wright. The bond these girls share are remarkable, and soon enough, is tested over time. Eventually, however, one of them commits the ultimate betrayal, which tears them apart. This book focuses on many aspects of life, and really challenges the double standards that ...more
Ivonne Rovira
May 12, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has ever loved — and lost — a best friend
Recommended to Ivonne by: Karen Morgan
I really enjoyed Sula, although The Bluest Eye, my first Toni Morrison read, remains my favorite. The book lays open the stark choices that women had for most of the 20th century, between staid, upright housewife and woman of the world. I still don’t know how to discuss the book without giving away too much. Let me just say that Sula follows the relationship of two African-American girls — the polar opposites, Nel and Sula — in an Ohio river town from the 1920s into 1940.

Unlike a lot of “serious
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Kate
Sula seemed to me completely different from Toni Morrison's Beloved, and I enjoyed Sula much more. While the presence of Sula, a strong, unique African-American girl, is discernable throughout the book, much of it actually focuses on other characters like her best friend Nel and the town veteran/madman/drunkard Shadrack. I like how the book begins with the story of her mother and grandmother so we get a sense of Sula's history. In fact, her one-legged grandmother Eva is one of the most intriguin ...more
Connie
Toni Morrison has written a lush, earthy story, set in a segregated area of Ohio, about the black experience between 1919-1965. Nel, who has a very traditional childhood, becomes the best friend of Sula who lives in an unstructured environment. When they become adults, Nel got married, had children, and stayed in her hometown. Sula went away to college, and had affairs with many men, following the path of her sensual mother. Sula returned to her hometown after ten years, became the source of gos ...more
Nakia
(1/15/13 review)Love! Love! Love!

(2009 review)Fantastic story! Morrison is a powerhouse when it comes to story telling. In this short book, she will manage to gain your heart, break it, and then heal it on the very last page. I'm glad Oprah made this one of her book selections so women everywhere could get the chance to experience and live through the life long friendship of Sula and Nel. The only way I know to describe this story: gorgeous!.
Jibran
It is time for change; slowly but inexorably the spirit of the age finds a new voice. The white lords and black subhumans begin to alter their established, longstanding social positions. From this sense of foreboding out comes Sula.

The black community confined to the hills up there in a small Ohio town is made, through centuries of social conditioning, to treat themselves as different and separate from the white people. What an incredible fact of human psychology that, even if that community doe
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James
Toni Morrison is a brilliant author, I think it would be hard to argue otherwise. And I imagine her Nobel Prize is well deserved. (Can you feel a "but" coming? Here it is…) But, I didn't enjoy this book.

I would draw a parallel to classical music. I have heard many classical pieces written in the 20th century, which I disliked. I found many to be discordant. But it is simply a matter of taste. Some of these works have been very highly praised for their originality and creativity by people far mo
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Daniel
Once again, Toni Morrison has fucked me up with brilliant writing and the ability to shape a character's misery into an implement that slips past flesh and bone before delivering a lifetime of pain into the jelly nether regions that we try to keep to ourselves. The final passage of "Sula" delivered the most piercing blow, and after I put the book down I was left gassed, limp, and a little depressed.

I love it.

I don't welcome pain or misery--which is to say, I don't read memoirs, and I don't truck
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Rose
I can now say I've read this author whom I've heard of for years now & can agree that she's a terrific writer, her way with words is lovely & leaves a lasting impression & I'll definitely read some of her other books. That said I will regretfully admit this story was deeply depressing & I disliked almost all the characters. I found them all to be pretty selfish & cruel & just a really unpleasant lot. The friendship between Nel & Sula was completely unimaginative as it ...more
Timothy Volpert
I am playing some serious catch-up with authors I really should have read by now. I was in awe of this book--Morrison's prose is effortlessly beautiful and puts you right in the place and time occupied by her characters. I usually don't care for the use of omniscient narrators, but here the subtly shifting tone of the text seamlessly moves us from one character's point-of-view to another in a way that doesn't imply a godlike all-knowingness so much as the inevitable, painful intimacy of life in ...more
Marcos
I love, love, loved this novel. I absolutely did not want it to end. What an amazing and sweetly horrific and human reading experience. Madame Toni's riff on friendship, and meditation of relationships and of love....

Here's my review:

I discovered the magic of Toni Morrison’s prose and language ten years ago when I was a freshman in undergrad. The first Morrison work I’ve read was “The Bluest Eye”, which to me was a magical experience; except now with constant re-readings to teach for high school
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Kata
Aug 20, 2012 Kata rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kata by: Beverly
I have read some amazing books in the last few months. I only hope to continue on this torrent of amazing reads. I've been wound tight on Toni Morrison as of late and Sula did not disappoint me at all.

Eva, the matriarch of the family, at the center of Morrison's novel is an astoundingly strong woman who behaves shockingly at times. Her daughter, Hannah is carefree and promiscuous. Sula, the main character is Hannah's daughter. The reader is introduced to Sula at a young age. She and her best fr
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Lindsay
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard Knight
Now this is interesting. After reading a book, I always go on Wikipedia to read the plot summary just in case I missed anything. One thing that caught my attention is that this particular Wikipedia entry said that Sula can be considered the main antagonist of the book. Shoot. If this were an Ayn Rand novel, Sula would most certainly be the protagonist. And that's because she lives life how she wants to and doesn't regret her actions. In Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy, Sula's "selfishness" cou ...more
Chris Blocker
Having read other early Morrison novels, I found nothing surprising in Sula. There's the same gorgeous language and calming tone one will find in The Bluest Eye or Beloved, all layered over some of the most horrific scenes in print. More recent Morrison novels are told in the same beguiling whisper, but lack the urgency, and as a result, much of the story, that her earlier works show so abundantly.

Compared to the other early works of Morrison I have read, Sula was similar, but its characters and
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Aislyn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Darkowaa
!! FULL REVIEW: https://africanbookaddict.wordpress.c...

Toni Morrison is a brilliant writer. This isn't my favorite book by her, but its a lovely story... Some bits were a bit dry and uninteresting, but the overall storyline is enjoyable.
I hated Sula. She was a selfish, almost wicked soul. Nel was a bit more innocent but didn't live for herself: i feel like she lived for her mother, her husband, her kids, and Sula.
The demise of Nel and Sula's friendship/sisterhood was predictable to me- esp gi
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Ana
Feb 20, 2014 Ana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone. Especially young women.
“There in the center of that silence was not eternity but the death of time and a loneliness so profound the word itself had no meaning.”

After watching theJunot Diaz and Toni Morrison conversation that took place in December, which you can watch here.
Junot Diaz and Toni Morrison interview

(It's long but worth it!) I was utterly fascinated by Toni Morrison. She is a name that I have heard my entire life. She was that author that I always said, “Yea, I’ll get around to reading her eventually” Ye
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Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford), is an American author, editor, and professor who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature for being an author "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality."

Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed African American characters; among the best k
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More about Toni Morrison...
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“Like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous.” 399 likes
“Lonely, ain't it?
Yes, but my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else's. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Ain't that something? A secondhand lonely.”
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