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Song of Solomon
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Song of Solomon

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  43,713 ratings  ·  1,604 reviews
In an effort to hide his southern, working class roots, Macon Dead, an upper-class northern black businessman, tries to insulate his family from the danger and despair of the rank and file blacks with whom he shares the neighbourhood. The plan leads his son, "Milkman"--a named he earned after his mother nursed him well past the proper age--onto a path exactly opposite the...more
Hardcover
Published September 21st 1995 by Everyman (first published 1977)
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One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezBlindness by José SaramagoThe Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckThe Stranger by Albert CamusLord of the Flies by William Golding
The Best by Nobel Prize Authors
250th out of 298 books — 102 voters
The Stranger by Albert CamusLe Nœud de vipères by François MauriacBeloved by Toni MorrisonLe tambour by Günter GrassAll the Names by José Saramago
prix nobel de littérature lus
147th out of 150 books — 6 voters


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Community Reviews

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sckenda
Macon “Milkman” Dead, III, “grieving cause he could not fly,” is a young African-American on a quest to restore his name and to recover his lost ancestry. On his journey, he will meet spirit guides who will teach him to unlearn selfishness and to learn to fly.

Milkman was born the day an insurance salesman died jumping from the hospital roof in a futile attempt to fly. “If you surrendered to air, you could ride it.” Although a flight announces Milkman’s birth, he hastily despairs of and discard...more
Dolors
May 25, 2014 Dolors rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those not afraid of singing to the past
Shelves: read-in-2014
Have you ever considered the historical heritage and the intrinsic meaning of your name and surname? What is a proper noun if not a word that carries concentrated quintessence to depict oneself? Aren’t people named after parents or grandparents paying homage to their own ancestry somehow?
There is something miraculous about the past that the future lacks. All nations, maybe even the whole mankind, have managed to transform thousands and millions of particular fictions created by individual beings...more
brian
Jan 13, 2009 brian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to brian by: michelle, mindy, sandi, jessica treat, dfj, yvette, ruth, alisa,
my second toni morrison. and, again... wow. song of solomon. kind of impossible to do an all-encompassing book report, so i’ll keep it limited to this: while reading i returned, again and again, to the recent genocide in the former yugoslavia. to the first time rape had been charged as a war crime; to rape as a means of ethnic cleansing. now, think about this: to cast such shame on the women who were raped and the men who were powerless to act so as to prevent the continuation of the family. to...more
Aubrey
4.5/5

There's something to be said for stories. Beyond all the talk of clichés, the bemoaning of stereotypes, the intricate and obsessive breakdown of the latest wave of hyped-up mass media extravaganza that has managed to aggressively worm its way into the mob conscience. Beyond the deep-seated resignation at puzzle-piece popularity.

I don't have anything against the forthright advocates of analysis at all levels of fiction. Far from it. I simply believe that there is a time when one is able to p...more
Jeffrey
Jun 01, 2007 Jeffrey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Toni Morrison is perhaps the most important writer living today and Song of Solomon is perhaps the best novel of the last 50 years of American life. Despite the high standing of both novel and author, there are many that chide both for delving too far into the world of African American mythology. The book, according to a reviewer on this very website, bitterly states that Song of Solomon is more fable than novel. Attempting to paint the novel as fable undercuts its central mission: to highlight...more
Jen
One of my absolute favorites, partly for the following:

"You can't own a human being. You can't lose what you don't own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don't, do you? And neither does he. You're turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why...more
Rich
I would like to have given a lower rating because I simply did not enjoy the read, but there is a value to this book that I cannot deny. Powerfully written, and has great cultural insight and thought. But really, I couldn't relate very well -- perhaps that is the point in many cases. I can't explain it much better without spending more time looking at it again than I'd like to, so I'll leave it at this:

I felt enlightened. I felt like shit. All without feeling very invested.
Dan
Toni Morrison is an absolute master of prose rhythms and this book is beautifully written. It reads like great literature and one can see why she's deserving of her nobel prize. But I had a serious problem with this book (which I read over ten years ago so forgive me if my memory of it is vague). The first three quarters of the book are terrific. Written in a realistic style and capturing the modern lives of its characters. The final section of the book suddenly turns into a fable, and the main...more
Momina Masood
The fathers may soar...
And the children may know their names...


What a book! What an incredible journey! I cannot possibly review this book; it has got me completely speechless! What a pleasure to partake in Milkman's journey, to be introduced to characters like Pilate, and to be reminded that one can fly if only one tries enough! This is my first African American and Morrison novel, and I'm so glad we'll be doing her next semester! Ecstatic and eager to fish out gems from this novel! Only hope...more
Katie Abbott Harris
I have read a couple of Toni Morrison's other novels, but this is the by far the best I have read. This is a stunning tale of self-discovery that follows the lives of a black family living in Michigan. The majority of the narrative revolves around Milkman, the first black child born at Mercy Hospital, and the son of a prominant and wealthy businessman. To escape the town and threat of death by the hand of his scorned lover and cousin, Hagar, he goes on a quest for treasure. He may not find what...more
Gorfo
The fathers may soar
And the children may know their names


When I learned that school would be forcing me to read Song of Solomon I whined and groaned and cursed the name of Toni Morrison to the high heavens. I had already entered the strange and mysteriously poetic world of Toni Morrison to no avail, and I didn't believe that this book would be any better. However, I was WRONG, and now that I have finished the novel I find myself forced to bite my tongue and retract all previous negative statemen...more
Hend
الرواية هى من نوعية الروايات التى يطلق عليها اسم
Masterpiece
ملحمة بديعة
تدخل عالم من الاغانى والفولكلور والسحر والغموض
عالم اسطورى من ميثولوجيا تصنعها تونى موريسون

هى وسيلة للحفاظ على وصلة لتاريخ العائلة المنسية. في مجتمع حيث معظم الأجيال السابقة كانوا أميين، والأغاني بدلا من كتب التاريخ تحكي قصة الماضي
ةتسجل تفاصيل حياة اجداد سابقين
وما هو مصير الاسلاف
تبقيه على الطريق لاكتشاف ذاته الضائعة

تبدا الرواية برجل يقفز من فوق السطح
السيد سميث
لقد طار رجلى
رجلى اجتاز الغيوم
رجلى عاد الى حيث يقيم

فى اليوم التالى اب...more
Josh
I love Toni Morrison, I really do, but this book reads like a standard lemon of a workshop story: every character has both an eccentric name and some striking characteristic. This one has no navel, and this one is supernaturally lucky, and this one jumps off of buildings. And there is none of the assured economy of either Beloved or my personal favorite, Jazz. Here, we have to get every detail about every damned thing until I feel like I'm choking on the stuff of the book.
Elizabeth
Another favorite novel.

Read about Milkman Dead's journey- part cultural and part self-discovery. It is a magical and engrossing tale that uses folklore, symbols, imagery, foreshadowing, allusions, and ultimately irony to tell it (I felt as if I were at Milkman's side when he decoded a telling children's jingle).

The ending may leave some frustrated but I thought it was just right. I also recommend Toni Morrison's "Beloved." It is a darker tale but shares the same phenomenal story telling of thi...more
Bruce
Morrison’s novel gripped me. Not only is it written creatively and eloquently in terms of language, it is also compelling in terms of plot and, underlying that, sociology. The picture provided into particular black history and culture is riveting. Morrison’s technique of using current family and family dynamics to unearth and explore background issues both historical and psychological is effective, and the narrative unrolls in ways unexpected yet persuasive. Having just read Faulkner’s Light in...more
Ash
'When Hansel and Gretel stood in the forest and saw the house in the clearing before them, the little hairs at the nape of their necks must have shivered. Their knees must have felt so weak that blinding hunger alone could have propelled them forward. No one was there to warn or hold them; their parents, chastened and grieving, were far away. So they ran as fast as they could to the house where a woman older than death lived, and they ignored the shivering nape hair and the softness in their kne...more
Sarah
this is one of those books i REFERENCE...all the time, in my head, during conversations, as in 'oh like when milkman said...' or 'that reminds me of how mason dead got his name...' also i have a lifelong fascination crush on pilate. i read the book in highschool so it's been a loooong time but i still have vivid visual memories of pilate peeling an orange on the porch in a black dress, and of the description of her voice being like pebbles knocking together. classic, epic, surprising, and beauti...more
Jennifer (aka EM)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sentimental Surrealist
The issue of white guilt is raised during this review. Yes, I'm white (and male), and I've been raised (as have many other white people born after the year 1980 or so) to appreciate the achievements of cultures besides my own. This is an idea I've never had any issues with at all, except when it comes to putting it in practice: it takes something really special to come along and shake my reading habits out of White Men. I'm trying harder this year - trying to read more women and more minorities,...more
Vale
Uno dei miei romanzi preferiti. Il canto di Salomone narra le vicende di una famiglia di colore nel sud degli Stati Uniti. Il romanzo ha un'architettura semplice: due pilastri laterali e un punto di fuga centrale.
I pilastri sono due fratelli: Macon e Pilate. Il primo è un uomo di successo, integrato nella società, un afro-americano che onora la sua nazione. La seconda, Pilate, rappresenta l'elemento sincretico: in lei convivono magia e cultura, riti ancestrali e modernità.
Il punto di fuga è Mil...more
Becky
The brilliance of this book snuck up on me. I was halfway through the book, enjoying the character development, the vivid story telling, the beautiful language, completely oblivious to the skillful weaving of all these tales. And then all of a sudden - wham - it hit me. Pure genius, the way TM set the scene for such a complex tale. Milkman's self-discovery, his awakening from the youthful, selfish, one-dimensional, I-deserve-only-happiness state of mind through a quest to find his family roots....more
Pattrice
This is my favorite of Morrison's novels. I've read it I-don't-know-how-many times, the last time more than a decade ago. Someone I know mentioned that she was reading it in preparation for writing about it, and I decided to read along, to be able to discuss it with her more cogently and also to see whether it would still have such a powerful effect on me and whether I would see new things in it after so many readings. Yes and yes. Even more so. More things than ever. If I weren't going to be ta...more
Kristen
Great book. Morrison's writing sometimes borders on poetry and there are some rather profound ideas in her wotk that one could easily miss.

The novel is set in Michigan, my home state, and I know it's fiction and the unnamed town is completely fictitious, but for the life of me I can't stop trying to figure out where this imaginary town would be. I've put way too much thought into this but I just can't help myself and I decided that they lived either in the thumb area or on the westside of the st...more
Mason
Ideologically dense, emotionally complex, confusing as hell--in other words, it's vintage Morrison. Awesomely epic without succumbing to gassy, self-absorbed grandeur (hello there, "Beloved" and "Paradise"), "Solomon" is nothing less than a literary magic trick, conjuring up a mythic all-black phantasmagoria of magicians, assassins, and explorers, and then holding up a cracked mirror and showing us that it's nothing more than a distorted reflection of our own world. As Milkman Dead searches for...more
Gabe
Upon reading the very first chapter, I predicted that this story was one of flight. Why else would it start with something as odd as a man jumping off the roof of a hospital. Sure enough, the book ended with the protagonist, who struggles with rising up and flying away throughout the whole book, escaping through the act of flight. Not only does he fly, but he does it from the same place Solomon dropped his grandfather. This shows how everything is tied together. Part of what allows Milkman to fl...more
James
Song of Solomon is a brilliant synthesis of a mythic journey, family drama and story of origin. This is the story of Macon "Milkman" Dead, heir to the richest black family in a Midwestern town, as he makes a voyage of rediscovery, travelling southwards geographically and inwards spiritually. In some respects, Milkman's story is a classic Bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story about the moral and psychological development of the main character. However, Milkman is thirty-two when he finally comes o...more
Jee Koh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
I want to state for the record that my mediocre rating of this book has much more to do with my own ignorance and stupidity than any problem with the book itself. I just didn't get it. I couldn't figure out what it was about or what it was trying to say. It just seemed boring and pointless. I didn't like any of the characters and I really didn't care what happened to them. Morrison's writing, as usual, was lyrical and beautiful but it wasn't enough to sustain the book for me. I checked out the C...more
Klint Kratzer
There's something almost dichotomous about the writing style and plot of this novel. At certain points I was enthralled with Morrison's captivating style and folklore anecdotes, but I feel the book as a whole was incomplete, incongruous. Like Rich wrote, "I felt enlightened. I felt like shit. All without feeling very invested."

Best example: The complete mutation of the protagonist's character from apathetic torpor to such intensity was hard to buy into.

Overall, great writer. But I think some re...more
Shane
I don't deny that Morrison is a good writer, but her books tend to wear me out a bit. In my opinion, they aren't "easy" reads...pretty dense narratives and sometimes confusing dialogue. You really have to pay attention when reading her work because almost every sentence is packed with meaning. I tend to like writing that doesn't feel like writing, if that makes any sense (a feat which I believe takes a lot effort on the author's part). So, I'm not saying this book isn't good...it is. It's just n...more
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I lived in Danville 6 66 Jul 05, 2011 01:28PM  
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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...more
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“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” 2127 likes
“You can't own a human being. You can't lose what you don't own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don't, do you? And neither does he. You're turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can't value you more than you value yourself.” 287 likes
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