I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
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 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. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.
I read this book to fill the Magical Realism square of my 2019 Halloween Bingo Card.
Wow. Toni Morrison writes gorgeously about an ugly reality. If her writing was any less majestic, it would be difficult to make it to the end of the book. The situations she describes are searing in their intensity. As it was, I found I had to take my time. Read a chapter, then rest and reflect. Read another chapter. Repeat. This wasn’t a book that I could hurry through.
It is an unflinching look at slavery and freedom. An examination of what exactly freedom means and doesn’t mean. It is horrifying and despairing and hopeful. Beloved haunts this family as slavery haunts our society.
I recommend it to everyone. It is a powerful book and well worth your time. Take your time and really feel it. Another good book on the same subject is Kindred by Octavia Butler. Very different but also worthwhile.