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Discussion » Questions » Books and Literature » Have you read any of Toni Morrison's novels? If so, which one and what were your thoughts?

Have you read any of Toni Morrison's novels? If so, which one and what were your thoughts?

I guess you will all have heard that Toni Morrison died today, aged 81.

I loved her novel, Béloved, a brilliant fusion of magical realism and history.
Morrison makes Christianity and African beliefs work in the novel as though they were as tangible as the laws of physics. The ghost of a murdered baby haunts a family who has escaped the horrific cruelties inflicted on them while they were slaves. The ghost has grown and appears the same age as she would have been had she lived. She lives and acts within the household like a living person, eating, drinking, occupying a bed, and having an affair with a man, but she has the emotions of a jealous and tantrum-prone three-year-old. The tensions build as the unresolved traumas spread to affect some members of the town until finally an act of extraordinary spiritual courage and wisdom brings the story to its climax.

Reading this story gives a powerful sense of how intergenerational trauma works and why it should never be dismissed. Morrison used newspaper clippings from the era to create her plot around the events of a true story - giving it the realism that helped her win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The poetry of her language is beautiful, rich in cadences, sensual imagery and metaphor. As a link into the national psyche, it stands on a par with Mark Twain. 

Posted - August 6, 2019


  • 5929
    No but I know people who have and who thought very highly of them.  I don't know - perhaps I though they would be depressing.  She certainly did well.  I mean she got her name around a lot and seemed to have a good career. 
      August 6, 2019 3:10 PM MDT

  • 13486
    She wrote over 20 novels and won a Pulitzer.  A great career with an extremely loyal following.
      August 6, 2019 5:26 PM MDT

  • 13486
    Yes, I've read a few.  I read Tar Baby, Beloved, and I think I read The Dancing Mind.  I may have read others.  She is and has been my daughter's favorite author since probably junior high school.  I would bet $10 that her library includes everything Morrison wrote.  There was one book that I didn't read but watched the film and did not like it.  Now I cannot recall the title or even the details of the story.
      August 6, 2019 5:29 PM MDT

  • 46201
    I used to read at least a half dozen books a month. AT LEAST. Now I am ashamed to admit that I have not read a book in years.  YEARS.  I don't have time and I spend all my time on here or watching the news.  What kind of NO MIND does this?

    Anyway I have read zero Toni Morrison.  I know all about her.  

    I have read loads of Maya Angelou and also Alice Walker.  Does that sort of give me some cred? 
    Women of color who have won awards for their literature and ideas.  

    And if you want me to wax profound?  AMY TAN.  Not white.  So she is a woman of color to me.

    Amy Tan (born February 19, 1952) is an American writer whose works explore mother-daughter relationships and the Chinese American experience. Her novel The Joy Luck Club was adapted into a film in 1993 by director Wayne Wang.
    Tan has written several other novels, including The Kitchen God's Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter's Daughter, Saving Fish from Drowning, and The Valley of Amazement. Tan's latest book is a memoir entitled Where The Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir (2017). In addition to these, Tan has written two children's books: The Moon Lady (1992) and Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat (1994), which was turned into an animated series that aired on PBS.
    Despite her success, Tan has also received substantial criticism for her depictions of Chinese culture and apparent adherence to stereotypes. This post was edited by WM BARR . =ABSOLUTE TRASH at August 7, 2019 2:22 AM MDT
      August 6, 2019 9:15 PM MDT

  • 4283
    Love your choices.
    Angelou, Walker and Tan are popular over here too - Angelou often featured at poetry recitals.

      August 7, 2019 2:30 AM MDT

  • 604
    Gotta be truthful here.......I tried reading 3 of her novels, and JUST CANNOT GET PAST FIRST FEW PAGES!!!

    there's something about her writing that I just 'don't get'......I guess.

    she's definitely not for everyone..........but I gave it 3 tries,  & that's my limit....sorry Morrison fans...and she's from my home town, Lorain, OH so I thought it'd be interesting to read something written by someone from my home town.

    no such luck.

    you fans, can you tell me WHAT you find so great about her writing!?!!!?  ok??????
      October 30, 2019 8:18 AM MDT