This is probably one of the best novels I've read, and the best one on audio as well. I was blown away when reading it ten years ago, and I am back there again in listening to Toni Morrison read her words. Her choices of words, cadence, and voice bring the listener face-to-face with the character's point of view, as effectively as any novel by James Joyce or Dostoyevsky, Nabokov. This is a must listen, in my opinion. One of the great remarkable achievements in literature, made even more remarkable by this reading. I am under it's spell.
A Precious Child of God
No one does a better job than Morrison of getting you inside the characters heads and hearts. You feel and sense their horrors, fear, heartbreak, pain, bitterness, joy and hope. Read by the author, this audible version is a invaluable way to experience Beloved.
Beloved is a great story. I used this audiobook to supplement the required reading I had for a literature course. I would recommend that you use it separately from the book, as the author speaks too slowly for me, a fast reader. Overall, however, Toni Morisson does a wonderful job at narrating Beloved. A must-listen.
This performance makes most of the LibriVox readers I've listened to sound like pros. Morrison reads in a dreamy, breathy monotone and constantly pauses in...the middle...of her sentences for no discernible reason. I really did try to follow the story, but found myself constantly correcting her reading in my head. I'm annoyed that I wasted a credit on this.
Say something about yourself!
The novel itself is incredible and powerful. The style is Faulknerian, the feeling it provides is somehow mystical and extremely "real" at the same time.
This should be considered part of the American Canon, assuming there is one (and, I think it is!).
While in theory it sounds good to have the author read her own work, Toni Morrison's narration has two major flaws:
1. She whispers. Not a major problem in-and-of-itself, but the volume of the recording is so low that it made it difficult to listen to while walking in the city (my usual activity while listening).
2. She doesn't have the breath to read some of the passages in the book. She had to pause in the middle of sentences to the point that the art of her prose, and sometimes even the meaning of her words was lost.
I was very much looking forward to reading this book. Sadly the audio quality is so poor that it almost sounds as if this was recorded on audio cassette in 1985 with a cheap microphone. I turn the volume way up and I strained my ear to understand but it is hopeless. Returning for a refund.
This story is heartbreaking and beautiful. I was captivated from start to finish with virtually no sections where my mind wandered. Also, what a treat to have Toni Morrison read her own words!
One thing that struck me when choosing to listen to this book was the number of reviews that complained about Ms.Morrison's reading. She was described as winded, breathy, and slow, as is she couldn't catch her breath.
I have to say that is a bunch of nonsense! I chose to listen to her because I expected that as the author, she would put inflection and tone where she meant it to be in the words.
The truth is that Morrison reads like a poet. She pauses to add weight to her words, not to breath. I found that her reading added substantially to the quality of my experience.
I did give the story 4 stars only because the plot is not always linear, and without being able to see breaks in the page, it could be confusing to keep up with the place and time in the story. The book itself may be best read traditionally, but Morrison's soothing voice would have been hard to give up!
I listen to this book every fall and it always touches my heart. Toni Morrison is one of the most amazing American writers to ever grace our pages with her words. Listen to this and all her unabridged works.