Publisher: Vintage - first published by Alfred A. Knopf
Length: 324 pages
About: Secrets of slave child murder unravel
Style: 3rd person
Where: US (Kentucky)
Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a
slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe's new home is
haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.
124 WAS SPITEFUL. Full of a baby's venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children. For years each put up with the spite in his own way, but by 1873 Sethe and her daughter
Denver were its only victims. The grandmother, Baby Suggs, was dead, and the sons, Howard and Buglar, had run away by the time they were thirteen years old--as soon as merely looking in a mirror
shattered it (that was the signal for Buglar); as soon as two tiny band prints appeared in the cake (that was it for Howard).
Morrison's style is both bleak and tender. She writes of the unthinkable without histronics. Her triumph is that through metaphor, dreams and a saving detachment, she melds horror and beauty into
a story that will disturb the mind forever.
The Sunday Times, Penny Perrick, October 25th 1987
Not so good:
It is a novel in which themes are more important than people, with the predictable consequence that the people never really come to life.
Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post 1987
About the author
Born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18, 1931. Morrison began writing fiction as part of an informal group of poets and writers at Howard University who met to discuss their work. She went to
one meeting with a short story about a black girl who longed to have blue eyes. The story later evolved into her first novel, The Bluest Eye (1970), which she wrote while raising two children and
teaching at Howard. In 2000 it was chosen as a selection for Oprah's Book Club. In 1993 Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first black woman to win it.