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Home by Toni Morrison
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's review
Jul 14, 2012

liked it
Read in July, 2012

It is always a challenge when one reads a novel (or novella, really, in this case, as this book isn't even as long as A Mercy) by an author one respects, admires, and flat out likes. It is especially challenging when that author has received the Nobel prize (last American to do so, by the way) and for good reason. With The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, and Beloved behind her, it's almost unfair to compare this work to those, but their existence informs my reading, of course.

This book is good. It tells a compelling story (though I wanted more of Frank's story), and it tells it well. What tends to separate Morrison's good work from her great work, though, is some quality that causes her great ones to rise to mythic stature. Beloved is the best example of this, but it's even there in her other great works. This work does not have that. It seems to be more a story about the two characters (and the community) than it does to be about some universal idea, which is what has always propelled Morrison's great works. It's not that they don't convey individual characters, as they do, but it's that they have a way of going beyond them. I never felt that in this novel.

It's certainly worth a few hours of your time, as it's a solid, short novel. If it were by someone else, it would probably be receiving excellent reviews instead of the middling ones it's been getting. I suppose that's what happens when one achieves greatness. We just keep expecting it.

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