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Beloved (The Trilogy #1)

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  249,936 Ratings  ·  7,978 Reviews
From one of America's most brilliant and acclaimed writers comes her most important and accomplished achievement yet, the magnificently told, powerfully moving story of remarkable occurrences in the life and spirit of an ex-slave.
Audio Cassette, Abridged, 0 pages
Published October 6th 1998 by Random House Audio (first published September 2nd 1987)
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Trena Reed Toni Morrison has a unique way of using the language. My husband felt the same way about the book at first, but I encouraged him to continue reading…moreToni Morrison has a unique way of using the language. My husband felt the same way about the book at first, but I encouraged him to continue reading and by the end he understood and enjoyed it.

Some of the illusions she makes at the beginning of the book are foreshadowing--glimpses of future events. The book has a kind of rhythm that may feel unfamiliar, but if you stick with it, by the end, you may find an appreciation for her unique style.

Some books, and this may be one, are better the second time you read them when you know the full story and can appreciate the depth of meaning. I encourage you to continue reading, but in the end, it's okay to say this style/book is not for me.

Good luck.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Tiombe Jones I think the author also evidences some discomfort with occupying the space in Sethe's mind when she commits this act. The description of this scene is…moreI think the author also evidences some discomfort with occupying the space in Sethe's mind when she commits this act. The description of this scene is not typical throughout the book. It is graphic and TM really attempts to inhabit it, but it lacks the unquestioned understanding evident in other scenes. When she speaks of atrocities done to Sethe, she can speak as Sethe. But when she speaks of atrocities done by Sethe, she just is not able to inhabit that space but instead places the storytelling with the actor who she does see as violent. In other words, Sethe is only violent as a reflection of the violence of slavery and whiteness; she cannot tell Sethe's violence independent of that narrative because she doesn't imagine it independent of that narrative.(less)
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Jessica
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: makes a nice mother's day present
Recommended to Jessica by: "recommended" is putting it mildly
Beloved is the Great American Horror Novel. Sorry Stephen King: evil clowns and alcoholic would-be writers are pretty creepy, but they just got nothing on the terrifying specter of American slavery! I literally got chills -- physical chills -- over and over while reading this book. To me, great horror has the scary element (e.g., a ghost) and then, lurking behind it, something so vast and evil that trying to think about it can make you go insane. Beloved did that! It worked as horror! And then a ...more
Samadrita
"Beloved

You are my sister

You are my daughter

You are my face; you are me

I have found you again; you have come back to me

You are my beloved

You are mine

You are mine"


It's 6 o'clock in the morning and I have finished with one of the best books I have ever read in the course of my short life.
I am sleepless and I need a moment to organize my thoughts, sort out my feelings. Come back to real life. But I can't.

A part of me is still with Sethe and her daughters, Denver and Beloved at 124. A part of me
...more
Mark Stone
Jul 31, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody.
I don't give books low marks lightly. If anything, I am prone to being carried away by the author's enthusaism and rate books more highly than they deserve. I am an aspiring author, myself, and that also leads me to be kind to the books.

That being said, I really hated this book.

I like fantasy and magical realism. I find the dreams and allegories that live just underneath the skin of the world we can more readily see and touch endlessly fascinating. I like my stories intense and emotional, and I
...more
Glenn Sumi
Over the past 15 years, I’ve tried a couple of times to read Toni Morrison’s epic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about murder, guilt, ghosts and the brutal, complex physical and psychological legacy of slavery.

Something about the dense, poetic prose and the elliptical nature of the storytelling made it impenetrable. After a chapter or two, I’d give up, perplexed. And I’ve read William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf! This made Oprah’s Book Club?

I’m so glad I persevered.

About a third of the way in, I
...more
Lisa
Sometimes reality is too painful to address in plain, simple narrative.

Sometimes truth has to be approached in circling movements, slowly getting to the heart of the matter through shifting, loosely linked stories that touch on the wound ever so lightly, without getting too close too fast.

Sometimes I read to escape my reality, only to find myself in a universe endlessly more complicated, more painful, more difficult to understand and follow.

Sometimes basic statements like "I could never under
...more
Bookdragon Sean
Beloved is a novel about haunting; it is a novel about the human inability to move on from the past and how easily it can resurface. We may try to move on, but it never really leaves us. And when the past is painful and full of blood it literally echoes for an eternity.

“You know as well as I do that people who die bad don’t stay in the ground.”

Enter Beloved, daughter of Sethe, a girl killed by her mother many years previous to escape the shackles of slavery. Was it murder? Was it mercy? Was i
...more
Harpal
Aug 25, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: school
This is probably my least favorite book I have ever read. I think I hate it even more because so many people like it so much. Unlike really trashy novels, people actually try to argue that this is a great book. But it definitely embodies all the things that make me hate books. It's heavy handed with its message, which ultimately ruins some pretty spectacular imagery. Its also just a giant pastiche of people who can actually write, which makes it just feel disjointed and annoying since it switche ...more
Fabian
Dec 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has been a while since I last was online (according to this computer's calculations: thirteen days ago) & since then I have finished the monumental "Beloved."

The only way I can describe this sure classic is: "it's a mix between the most brilliant of Hawthorne (his Scarlet Letter bears plenty of similarities to Beloved since it too deals with a time of intense persecution in this country; the roles women played at such historical crossroads; the ghosts of the burdensome past making cameos
...more
Rowena
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Working dough. Working, working dough. Nothing better than that to start the day's serious work of beating back the past."- Toni Morrison, Beloved

"Beloved" focuses on the psychological trauma of slavery which permeates the very atmosphere and even emerges in ghost form. It seems to be a good book to read in the light of the recent discussion on the Roots reboot, as well as the recent New York Times article which discusses how African-American DNA bears signs of slavery. I feel that for many thi
...more
Dolors
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Broken hearts in search of mending
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Book #23: Beloved, by Toni Morrison (1987)

The story in a nutshell:
To understand the importance of 1987's Beloved, you need to understand that before this first
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Chicago commercial photographers

I FINISHED!!!!!!

Chicago commercial photographers

I realize this is a classic and a Pulitzer Prize winner and yada yada yada, but oh my goodness am I glad to be done.

Dear Oprah, what’s going to happen to me since I hated it????

Chicago commercial photographers

That’s what I was afraid of.

Going in to this book I knew nothing about it except for the fact that it was on the Banned Books List and that Oprah said I should read it . . .

Chicago commercial photographers

I did manage to finish, but WHAT. A. SLOG. There are only about 47
...more
Aubrey
In the beginning there were no words. In the beginning was the sound, and they all knew what that sound sounded like.
I could leave it like that.

I should, really, I should. Leave it, in her words, in her meaning, in her context and effort and heritage and everything that is not mine. Never will be mine, these things that should rightfully flay me alive every time I happen to dwell upon them, whether in flight of fanciful musings or serious consideration as they so rightfully deserve. The only t
...more
Garima
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Garima by: Samadrita & Dolors
the sadness was at her center, the desolated center where the self that was no self made its home. Sad as it was that she did not know where her children were buried or what they looked like if alive, fact was she knew more about them than she knew about herself, having never had the map to discover what she was like.
I’m accustomed to hear different stories. I’m accustomed to live around different lives. I’m more used to beauty than ugliness. I’m more used to songs than silence. I’m more used
...more
Samra Yousuf
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Damn the humans, they are the most enigmatic beings who ever lived, their hearts have reasons that reason knows not, and their heads fabricate worlds the world have never seen, they kill the things they love and are haunted by the memories that fade away by the time but never disappear, but becomes a ghost and gnaws at your nerves, for always and forever….
To be a mother is the most consummate feeling one can have, the one most celestial and earthly alike, you share your blood and flesh with the
...more
Will Byrnes
There are reasons why Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Beloved may be the biggest one. The structure is a ghost story about a woman who killed her own children rather than see them be dragged back from freedom to live a life of slavery, and how the guilt of that act comes back to haunt her. But the real payload here is a portrayal of the slave existence, how it seeps into every pore, affects every emotion, defines one’s world view, how one values education, how willing o ...more
Trillian
Aug 24, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: over-educated literati
Shelves: not-worthwhile
This is the worst book that I have ever read. It epitomizes what elite academics love about literature: It is dark and nasty (which, to an academic, means realistic) and it is obscure and incoherent (to an academic, this means deep and profound). This is like the deliberately hideous painting that is called "art" by intellectuals: Common-sense individuals question its merit and are told it is complex, beautiful, and beyond the untrained understanding and crass sensibilities of the uneducated. I ...more
Rowena
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rowena by: Samadrita
Shelves: african-american
“Darkness is stronger and swallows them like minnows.” - Toni Morrison, Beloved

“Beloved” is a beautiful, haunting story that is set around the time following the slavery emancipation declaration. It’s mysterious and supernatural, as well as being a love story, a tale of horror, forgiveness, loss and confusion. It’s very poetic and lyrical, full of metaphors and powerful imagery.

The book tells the story of Sethe, a runaway slave who has left her home in the South but is still living in the past
...more
Valerie
Jan 07, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate this book. But I guess I should say why. Some might say that I was too young to read this book since I read it when I was 15 but I'm a few years older now and I still hate it with seething anger. I heard that Toni Morrison was a good writer so when we had to pick a book from this long list I decided to read it. BIG MISTAKE!

I didn't like any of the character -at all-or the plot. I know the book is supposed to give you a view on the cruel treatment of slaves but after I finished I actually
...more
Algernon
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

I got a tree on my back and a haint in my house, and nothing in between but the daughter I am holding in my arms. No more running - from nothing. I will never run from another thing on this earth. I took one journey and I paid for the ticket, but let me tell you something: it cost too much! Do you hear me? It cost too much.

What's the difference between tragedy and melodrama? To me Sethe is one of the most tragic heroines in literature, but not everybody feels the same. The most peculiar critic
...more
Lawyer
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Lawyer by: Jake Reiss, Owner, The Alabama Booksmith
Beloved: Toni Morrison's Novel of the Cost of Freedom

Photobucket

First Edition, Beloved, Alfred Knopf, New York, New York, September, 1987, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1988

The task of the Underground Railway has been made more difficult. It is 1850. As a part of the Compromise of 1850, our Nation, in yet another effort to stall a War Between the States, has passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. A Federal Officer is subject to a fine of $1,000.00 if he fails to aid a slave owner in returning
...more
Gadabyte
Jan 05, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: your meth-addicted uncle chester
confusing, boring, and pretentious, this is the book that convinced me that the pulitzer doesn't mean shit.
[P]
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bitch-please
You know, sometimes I just don’t get other readers. I can’t relate to their reactions, their expectations, their way of looking at things. Take Beloved, a book that I have only ever part read, having given up about a third of the way into it. Reaction to the book seems to be about evenly split between those who hate it and those who love it. Which is fine, of course. Yet the haters appear to base their antipathy on the subject matter; they, according to the reviews I’ve read, have a problem with ...more
Lizzy
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a melancholic but beautifully written story about Sethe, a slave woman who having escaped slavery will never be free. She is daunted not only by her memories, but also by the ghost of her baby daughter that died nameless. On her grave there is just a word: Beloved. Her suffering is poignant and heartbreaking.
“Sad as it was that she did not know where her children were buried or w
...more
Rakhi Dalal
The clear blue sky above, the richness of life around, stretching from the vivid colors in the nature to the exquisiteness that material life offers. The soft milky ambrosia not once maligned by the sweat of forced labor, the promise of a day to mull over existence for the mind is not strained with the thought of an empty stomach. Granted free thought. The assurance of a smile on your kid’s face for he has never known deprivation or fear. The assurance of a smile on your face for you have always ...more
Paul
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How to review a book like this, and it is a great book; I’m not sure I have the superlatives it deserves. Morrison based the novel on the story of Margaret Garner, an escaped slave who killed her child as she was being recaptured, to save the child a lifetime of slavery. The setting is around the time of the civil war. The plot and the storyline are well known and it seems most of my GR friends have either read it or have it on their tbr lists.
The writing is great and there is a strong sense of
...more
Kecia
I have long believed in ghosts, but not in the supernatual or paranormal sense. I believe ghosts are memories or what Toni Morrison names as "rememory." I heard on NPR this week a man say that he was the grandchild of slaves and when he went into the voting booth and cast his ballot for Senator Obama he saw his grandparents faces, rememory. I once went to Auschwitz in Poland and my friend said to me as we walked thru the sadness, "they are looking at us, they are in the flowers," rememory. I hav ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Words like Holocaust, Slavery, War etc. loose over time the terror they should inspire upon one's mind. Reminding us about what these evils feel like is one important role art plays. Toni Morrison does exactly that in this book, and in a effective way.

Past

She starts her story in the middle when slavery is already banned and biggest horrors have already passed. however this is not a happily-ever-after. In fact, for people who have been slave (or to generalize suffer miserably in anyway) for an
...more
Alex
Beloved has been more quickly and thoroughly canonized than any other modern book, so and because it suffers from two curses. The first is the curse of the classic itself, what you might call the Moby-Dick curse: everyone read it too early so no one liked it. It's not exactly difficult (nor exactly is Moby-Dick), but it's not easy either, and a high schooler forced to read it is going to suspect it of being good for her, which is no fun for anyone. When I polled my bookish friends about this boo ...more
Bob
There are certain truths in our world that one has to accept. One of those truths for me is that being a white male I can never truly understand what it is like to be a female or a person of darker skin color. It is by reading that I can obtain small glimpses into other people’s thoughts and feelings.

Morrison, certainly not of an age to have experienced the lives of her characters, paints a vivid reality of what life must have been like for newly freed black people post-Civil war. I was impresse
...more
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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
More about Toni Morrison...

Other Books in the Series

The Trilogy (3 books)
  • Jazz
  • Paradise
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” 2351 likes
“Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all.” 1725 likes
More quotes…