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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  52,489 ratings  ·  3,063 reviews
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 Wright has chosen to stay in the place where she was born, to marry, raise a family, and become a pillar of the black community. Sula Pe
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 5th 2002 by Plume Books (first published 1973)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  52,489 ratings  ·  3,063 reviews

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Emily May
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2018
Because each had discovered years before that they were neither white nor male, and that all freedom and triumph was forbidden to them, they had set about creating something else to be.

4 1/2 stars. I have known for some time that I haven't read enough Toni Morrison. Before Sula, I had only read Beloved, which is also a great book. Reading this, I can't understand what took me so long to pick up another.

Toni Morrison's writing is frank and uncompromising. She creates characters who burn with an inextinguish
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pagehabit
thanks for this book.

Because each had discovered years before that they were neither white nor male, and that all freedom and triumph was forbidden to them, they had set about creating something else to be.

this one gets 4 "please don't hit me again, sula!" stars.

and honestly, for more than half of it, it was leaning towards 5 stars, and not just because of stockholm syndrome.

i have never read toni morrison before. her name was at the top of my "authors i have never read, much to my great personal shame" list along with tolstoy, balzbook.
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

In the hills above the valley town of Medallion, Ohio is a small neighborhood known as the Bottom where black residents form a tight-knit community. They are united in their understanding of discrimination and their experience with racial oppression. The Bottom is home to Nel Wright and Sula Peace, two girls whose friendship is solidified by the burden of a horrendous secret. Once grown, they remain guardians of that secr
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Then summer came. A summer limp with the weight of blossoming things. Heavy sunflowers weeping over fences; iris curling and browning at the edges far away from their purple hearts; ears of corn letting their auburn hair wind down to their stalks. And the boys. The beautiful, beautiful boys who dotted the landscape like jewels, split the air with their shouts in the field, and thickened the river with their shining wet backs. Even their footsteps left a smell of smoke behind."- Toni Morrison, Sula

Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This unerring writer has been the only one to get all 5 star reviews from me so far (for "Beloved," "The Bluest Eye," & this); all of her books have that same wondrous quality. What can be said about our most cherished writer that hasn't already been said? It is really hard to come up with a favorite novel ("Beloved" for its twinges of Goth? "Eye" for its incessant play with tenderness and cruelty? Or this, for its inspiring mix of grief from [the ultraheavy psychological effects of] "Eye" & ...more
Feb 01, 2009 rated it liked it
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 f
Violet wells
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the first time I’ve ever struggled to review a book I’ve read. Perhaps this relentless English rain is getting to me and addling my brain? Not that Sula was in any way bad. Just that I find my response to it is as mysterious as the book itself. I could say it’s been a while since I read Toni Morrison and my first response was excitement at the reminder of how stunningly she can write a sentence – “Grass stood blade by blade, shocked into separateness by an ice that held for days”. I coul ...more
Jan 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel, fiction
Hell ain't things lasting forever. Hell is change.

It is time for change; slowly, painfully, but inexorably the spirit of the age sheds old rags and dons a new garb. The mutes are beginning to discover a voice that had been trapped in their windpipes; eyes see things that they had hitherto only watched; and hearts ache with a new throb of hope mixed with fear of which no one can tell which is greater. From this sense of foreboding out comes Sula.

The excluded community confined up in
She had no center, no speck around which to grow.

I can't start to explain this book or the feeling I get each time a new chapter (numbered according to years) gives me the anxious expectation similar to unwrapping a piece of chocolate from the box of assortments - you never know what you'll get.

I can't accurately explain why this fluidity of language, this mixture of elegant vernacular, this exhilarating and encompassing flow of words forms trails down my spine and envelops me into a warm cocoon t
Glenn Sumi
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel-winners
Toni Morrison’s novels - allusive, poetic, with plots that are carefully, artfully constructed - take work. You can’t read them casually. But they also offer up rich rewards to those with patience.

Sula, her second novel (published in 1973), tells the story of two girls who grow up in the 1920s in a Black hillside community called the Bottom in the small town of Medallion, Ohio.

Nel Wright, as her name implies, does everything right, including get married to a nice Black man and raise chil
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
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.
☽¸¸.I am¸¸.•*¨ The ¸¸.•*¨*Phoenix¨*•♫♪ ☾
“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.”


I found Toni Morrison to be one of the most consistent authors I ever read. And, with her being one of my favourite writers of all time, this means I found all her books I read to this day extremely interesting an
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 20-ce, us
This is a wholly black novel. There isn’t a single white character developed here, not even the mention of a white name. No white character so much as utters a word. After reading so many novels, this seems just and equitable, even commensurate. Morrison has a beautiful idiosyncratic American voice unlike anyone else’s. She’s inimitable.
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!
Imagine writing a Black feminist novel that precedes the release of seminal Black feminist texts like Black Macho & the Myth of the Superwoman (1978), Aint I a Woman (1981), & Women, Race & Class (1981), amongst others. Toni Morrison did just that in 1973 with the release of her stellar second novel, Sula.

Although this novel is called Sula, I wouldn't have been surprised if this novel was called the Bottom, which is the neighborhood in the fictional city of Medallion, Ohi
Edward Lorn
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 surprised a ...more
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it

'The Bottom' is a community of black families in the hills above the valley city of Medallion, Ohio where white families live. The story begins in the early 1920's - just after the end of WWI - and traumatized soldiers are returning to town. The main characters in the story are Nel and Sula, who bond as young schoolgirls in 'The Bottom.'

Nel is the only child of a repressed mother determined to control every aspect of Nel's life, while Sula grows up in a rather raucous extended family. This incl
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm grateful to Rowena for inviting me to join The Year of Reading Toni Morrison group which spurred me to read this now. It's one of Toni Morrison's shorter works, and in her brief introduction to this edition, she notes its uniqueness in having a friendly, comfortable opening to orient the outsider (possibly white) reader.
Ignor[ing] the gentle welcome [would] put the reader into immediate confrontation with his wounded mind ['the emotional luggage one carries into the black-topic text']. It would have called greater attereader.
Read By RodKelly
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“She had been looking all along for a friend, and it took her a while to discover that a lover was not a comrade and could never be - for a woman. And that no one would ever be that version of herself which she sought to reach out to and touch with an ungloved hand. There was only her own mood and whim, and if that was all there was, she decided to turn the naked hand toward it, discover it and let others become as intimate with their own selves as she was.”

Toni Morrison's prodigious second
Nicholas Armstrong
Jan 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Jessica Woodbury
I listened to the audiobook of this and I have to say that having Toni Morrison read to me each day made something shift inside me. It was kind of like having a little guardian angel in my ear. Many have complained about her reading style. She doesn't read like most professional readers do. Her voice ebbs and flows, often ignoring punctuation. But to me, her voice moved like a river, speaking to something deep inside me, a sweet rumble, a purr. I couldn't get enough of it.

I hadn't re
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I read Toni Morrison in high school (?) but I clearly need to go back and read everything. It's so clear to me now, how many writers are trying to be Toni. Every word matters, every character is flawed and human, and this is a five-star read.

And this is my last book for the 2018 reading challenge from The Reading Women - under the category of Nobel Prize Winner.
Tori (InToriLex)
Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex

When I first read this in high school, I loved it but I didn't have the life experience to understand it, that I do now. This book connects with me, because the culture is familiar. Growing up in a black family,  knowing how burdensome and destructive racism is, this broke my heart all over again. The story focuses on Nel and Sula, two best friends who lose each other and have to deal with the after. Friendship between women, is an undervalued part of the
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-american
I received this book for free through a complimentary Quarterly Literary Box.

After hearing much about her, I have finally read a book by Toni Morrison. I really enjoyed this book. The way Morrison writes is so beautiful. She definitely has a way with words.

The story itself was interesting. Sula and Nel together were so interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a female friendship quite like that before. Sula had this ethereal quality about her that was really captivating.
Onaiza Khan
What a captivating book. Can't get over it.
✨    jamieson   ✨
“It was a fine cry - loud and long - but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.”

My entire literary education has been filled with vague references to Toni Morrison - and yet despite years and years of knowing her name, knowing she was brilliant and hearing so, so much about the beauty of her novels I never picked up one of her books until now.

Sula is a beautiful book. Toni Morrison understands the hearts of people, seems to be able to perceive the souls of humans
“The air all over the Bottom got heavy with peeled fruit and boiling vegetables. Fresh corn, tomatoes, string beans, melon rinds. The women, the children and the old men who had no jobs were putting up for a winter they understood so well.”

I usually like to write a review right after finishing a book, to capture my initial emotional reaction. But this book … well, let’s just say that I thought it best to sit and fan myself for a few days before putting pen to paper.

This is a firec
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: topnotch
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 e
Jul 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I chose to read this novel after the recent passing of the author because I don't think I had ever read it. It's a short novel at under 200 pages but that doesn't mean it's a quick read. The text is so rich and nuanced, it is unforgivable to race through this book. It charts the growth of the community of Bottom, the neighborhood of Medallion, Ohio that is home to an African American community. It is the story of two girls Nel and Sula, who are close friends, until they grow up and aren't friend ...more
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Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford) was 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
“Like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous.” 666 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.”
More quotes…