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A. J. Morriss

Orange, CA United States
  • 2
  • reviews
  • 1
  • helpful vote
  • 74
  • ratings
  • Song of Solomon

  • By: Toni Morrison
  • Narrated by: Toni Morrison
  • Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 235
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 208
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207

Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life, he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family's origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Death United Them

  • By Carol Binta Nadeem on 09-28-17

Not a Morrison fan. Love this one.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-02-17

This is the fourth book of Morrison's I've read or listened to. I've been working my way through a list of books for a number of years and have absolutely dreaded this one because I did not enjoy the previous three.

First, let me say that Morrison's performance in this unabridged version, while not up to the standards of professional voice actors, is head and shoulders above her whispered reading of Beloved. I love the voice she adopted for the main character.

The story is not unlike her other books. Oddball characters who don't fit into black society, weird paranormal plotlines, and interest in generational narratives. While I didn't enjoy those other stories (Beloved, Sula, and the Bluest Eye), this one really struck a cord.

The story is thoroughly engaging and challenging. If you've struggled with her other books and are a little leary, I recommend giving this one a chance.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Bless Me, Ultima

  • By: Rudolfo Anaya
  • Narrated by: Robert Ramirez
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 761
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 631
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 636

As Tony follows his own path toward adulthood, he relies on the wisdom of Ultima, a magical healer, to forge his unique identity. With hundreds of thousands of copies in print, Bless Me, Ultima has been called the most widely read Mexican-American novel in the English language. Richly evocative, it has earned its place among the classics of modern literature, even drawing favorable comparisons to Herman Melville's legendary Moby Dick.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Modern classic - but prepare to think

  • By Mark W. Bohrer on 02-28-15

Failed to Connect with the Characters

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-02-15

Any additional comments?

There are some great themes here. A boy struggles to come to terms with tradition, religion and cultural differences. However, there's no resolution to any of the important questions raised by the author. Does Antonio follow in the footsteps of the Marez or the Luna? Will he embrace Catholicism, naturalism of the magic fish, or the mysticism of Ultima? Was she a witch or not?

No, not every issue needs to be resolved. However the unending discussions of some heady issues (which frankly were somewhat shallow) with no progress towards resolution left me frustrated.

My biggest criticism concerns the writing. There's a scene where we're led to believe that Ultima is grave danger. A violent conflict is eminent but right before the crescendo the same character that heralded the imminent danger conveniently informs the reader that there is a nonviolent solution known to all, and just like that, everyone packs up and goes home. The author created a false conflict and resolved it with an all too convenient device, revealing there was no conflict to begin with.

The characters lack dimension. Bad guys are bad to their core, good guys, good. Although there's some genuine earnestness in Antonio, I just never grew attached. Ultima remains shrouded in mystery.

In it's best parts, the book reveals some of the struggles of first generation immigrants trying to come to term with tradition and new ways of life. ULTIMAtely, however, the reader is left with as many questions as they started. Resolution, just like the promised flood, never comes.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful