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.
"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 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.
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.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
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.
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 !
not if she's the narrator
no, however it was hard to even understand the book.
I'm a writer and a yoga teacher with a Masters in English Literature.
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.
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.
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.
There are many moving moments in the book, it's very detailed and beautifully written.
I'd like to try the book again in print, but I appreciate having listened to Toni Morrison's voice.
Happy, sad, angry
When Setha was telling about the delivery of Denver.
Denver telling of them ice skating.
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.
I love literary fiction and I occasionally delve into non-fiction. I love books that are suspenseful and am really into well-told stories.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anyone who wants to feel what slavery was really like should listen to this. A gripping story, beautifully read, I was completely absorbed. Fantastic.
"Sitting with a great friend."
Excuisite and wrenching.
The narative pulls you along to meet these complex characters.
Her voice is beautiful and authentic, i felt like i was sitting listening to a great friend.
We are forever changed.
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.
"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.'
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