Book Review: Beloved by Toni Morrison

belovedBeloved by Toni Morrison
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison

Read – ok attempted to read – as part of a challenge, and have to admit I’ve finally declared it a loss.

Set in the years after slavery, this is the story of Sethe, a black woman set free, but who is still haunted by the loss of her family and friends. She is not free in the real sense because she killed her children and one of these lost souls – her daughter Beloved – has seemingly come back to life to stay with her in the house 124.

There is a mix of timelines that weave in and out, with various characters appearing, such as the SchoolTeacher (the new, nasty Slave Owner at Sweet Home), Paul D, etc.

I can see why people have loved this book, and appreciate why it has won so many awards, but I’ve struggled with it, and read so many books in the meantime whilst this has sat on my bedside table that I have been unable to pick it back up and finish it. No matter how many times I picked it up, I could never read more than a few pages at a time before looking for another book, and finally stopped trying to pretend I was engaged enough to finish it. I therefore had to declare it a loss and move on.

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