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Beloved Audiobook

Beloved

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Publisher's Summary

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 18 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.

Toni Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1993 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She lives in Rockland County, New York, and Princeton, New Jersey.

©1987 Toni Morrison; (P)1998 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Toni Morrison is not just an important contemporary novelist but a major figure in our national literature." (New York Review of Books)
"A masterwork....Wonderful....I can't imagine American literature without it." (Los Angeles Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (879 )
5 star
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4.2 (606 )
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4.2 (612 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Patricia San Diego, CA, United States 02-08-13
    Patricia San Diego, CA, United States 02-08-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Magnificient - Toni Morrison's voice will haunt me"

    What a powerful book! I had a basic idea of the plot and had actually read or heard clips over the years but nothing prepared me for this powerful reading. Having the author herself read it just added to the beauty of the experience.

    I don't like to give away too much about plot lines but this is the story of a particular family of slaves, the horrors they encountered and some of the dreadful decisions they make under extreme pressure. I grew up in the old South during segregation but even that did not prepare me for this book. It was mesmerizing. And the language is simply gorgeous. And Toni Morrison's voice is haunting. This is going to have to go to the top of my list of favorite books of all times. Don't miss it.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Danville, CA, USA 07-06-09
    Sarah Danville, CA, USA 07-06-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Mislead"

    I purchased this audiobook despite the reviews here and the fact that some of my least favorite audiobooks have been read by their authors. Two words describe the author's voice in this reading: authentic and beautiful. Thank goodness I trusted my sneaking hunch and gave it a try.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 02-09-16
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 02-09-16 Member Since 2016

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

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    "Great Book Better in Print"

    Beloved has beautiful language and subtle and interesting characters and a complex elusive story with mythic aspects, but it does not translate well to audible format and the author’s narration is somewhat subtle, quiet, and breathy. Even though I had read this in print (quite a while ago) following the story in Audible format was challenging and required many jumps backwards. I would recommend the printed book more than once before attempting the Audible version. Actually, just skip the Audible version.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kleete Rozelle, Australia 03-01-15
    Kleete Rozelle, Australia 03-01-15
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    "Beautiful , powerful book"

    Loved it - mesmerising, so sad, lovely descriptions , harrowing back stories. The reading by the author is also beautiful - something that should be fine more often !





    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jackie 05-05-14
    jackie 05-05-14 Member Since 2015
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    "horrible narriation"
    Would you try another book from Toni Morrison and/or Toni Morrison?

    not if she's the narrator


    Has Beloved turned you off from other books in this genre?

    no, however it was hard to even understand the book.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Toni Morrison?

    Nicole Small


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    no

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Vancouver, BC, Canada 03-31-14
    Julie Vancouver, BC, Canada 03-31-14 Member Since 2016

    I'm a writer and a yoga teacher with a Masters in English Literature.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Some of it breezes past you"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Beloved to be better than the print version?

    No, this is one of the few books I would say would be better in the text version. It's very subtle and layered, there is a disconnectedness to the narrative that is important to the theme of the consequences of slavery, but it's difficult to follow if you lose a word or phrase that turns out to be key, or if you can't pause and reread a paragraph a few times to get it.


    What other book might you compare Beloved to and why?

    My experience with the Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet was that I was at first a bit confused, but the story unfolded for me effortlessly by simply continuing to listen. That didn't happen for me with Beloved. I got to the end, thought "...what?" and restarted it from the beginning right away. I had to google it to understand what the heck just happened.


    Have you listened to any of Toni Morrison’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't, but I love her voice, it's so gorgeous. Even though I feel like I missed a lot of the narrative, I really enjoyed listening, and certain images, moments, and phrases stick with me even now.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There are many moving moments in the book, it's very detailed and beautifully written.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd like to try the book again in print, but I appreciate having listened to Toni Morrison's voice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Indianapolis, IN, United States 02-16-14
    Susan Indianapolis, IN, United States 02-16-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it!"
    If you could sum up Beloved in three words, what would they be?

    Happy, sad, angry


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Beloved?

    When Setha was telling about the delivery of Denver.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Denver telling of them ice skating.


    If you could take any character from Beloved out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Baby Suggs


    Any additional comments?

    I have read the book a couple times, have watched the movie a few times and now I have listened to the audio book. Toni Morrison is a great writer and I love the way she "read" the book. To me she wasn't reading to me she was telling me a story. I loved listening to her voice. I also appreciated her not changing her voice for each of the characters. I will definitely be listening to this one again. Thank you MS. Morrison.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda Shoreline, WA, United States 02-24-10
    Melinda Shoreline, WA, United States 02-24-10 Member Since 2016

    I love literary fiction and I occasionally delve into non-fiction. I love books that are suspenseful and am really into well-told stories.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Stunning Book by a Master Writer"

    Beloved is one of my favorite books of all time. I have read it in print 4 times. When my book club elected to read this and selected me to lead it, I decided to buy it in audible format to get another dimension to my 5th time through it. Toni Morrison reads, and while she is an amazing wordsmith, she isn't really an audio book actress. So, I really understand some people's comments here about it being hard to listen to. I sort of agree with you.
    If you want to read this book (or need to for school) please start with a print copy. While I found the inflections Morrison brings to the characters SHE created, I don't think that the first time through this book should be in audible form. (also, please don't go see the movie...it should never have been made)
    While these characters are forever etched into my memory and in some ways, my entire being, if this would have been my first time through Beloved, I may not have liked it. To listen to Morrison's voice after hearing my own interpretations of the voices in my head for so many year, it is a great treat for me.
    If it has been several years since you last read Beloved and you want to rediscover it a new way, I recommend this version completely.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna grants pass, OR, USA 03-07-09
    Donna grants pass, OR, USA 03-07-09 Member Since 2004
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    "Listen to sample before purchase"

    I have read several of Toni Morrison's books and loved her writing. I purchased Sula and Beloved and put Tar Baby on my wish list. I will never purchase a book again without listening to a sample. Toni Morrison is a terrible reader; slow with frequent pauses, and at times difficult to hear what was being read. I suffered through Sula and after 20 minutes gave up on Beloved. I have never made any comments on books purchased, but this was so bad I felt compelled to warn others.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renata los gatos, CA, USA 08-30-07
    Renata los gatos, CA, USA 08-30-07 Member Since 2003
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    "A deeply moving tale"

    I found Beloved to be a rich and compelling tale. It brought out for me the vulnerability and helplessness of people bound in slavery like no other book has done. At the same time there was humanity and hopefulness and love. I think this book should be required reading for all people. It is written in a style that may at first be confusing. Ms. Morrison does not spell things out in chronological order for us. But if you stay with it, you will find that she does
    wrap up each inner tale. I think it also helps to listen to it twice. As is often the case, the first time through you are caught up with the story, the second time you catch more of the nuances. I also loved listening to her voice, although it too takes a little patience until you learn her cadence. She hesitates as she reads, and often you think that she has finished a sentence only to find that it continues. But once your ear has figured that out, she is a pleasure and I believe her voice perfectly complements her story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Gill
    5/18/11
    Overall
    "Loved Beloved"

    I loved this book and in particular hearing the author read the wonderfully poetic and sometimes searing prose.
    Like others have said you do have to take time to get used to this particular style. It works like a partnership, you the listener have to concentrate and picture the words as the author paints her horribly violent but wonderful story. It is a partnership that gives lots of rewards.
    This book stayed with me for a long time after reading it and has inspired me to find more by this author.
    Wonderful and I am only sorry I came to this so late.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • s j bioletti
    9/23/09
    Overall
    "Riveting"

    Anyone who wants to feel what slavery was really like should listen to this. A gripping story, beautifully read, I was completely absorbed. Fantastic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • yona
    7/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Sitting with a great friend."
    If you could sum up Beloved in three words, what would they be?

    Excuisite and wrenching.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The narative pulls you along to meet these complex characters.


    What about Toni Morrison’s performance did you like?

    Her voice is beautiful and authentic, i felt like i was sitting listening to a great friend.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    We are forever changed.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A User
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Beloved"

    A wonderfully evocative narrative exploring a mother's reaction to the possibility of returning with her children to a life of slavery. An empathetic yet harshly realistic view of the lives of American slaves, one that takes into account the human relationships and feelings of a group of people believed to be less than human.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Debra
    Coulsdon, United Kingdom
    1/30/11
    Overall
    "Powerful writing - matched by powerful reading!"

    Authors don't necessarily make the best readers of their own work - but this is a notable exception. Toni Morrison has a sinuous and persuasive way of presenting her story and the voices are full and compelling. As for the story itself; strong, poetic, challenging. Sethe is a freed slave in 19th century America who is living with the consequences of her own actions and the oppression of the past on her present. It is told with clarity and passion - but there is also tenderness and hope, and mystery in its depiction of the child 'Beloved.'

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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