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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

4.1 (1196 )
5 star
 (658)
4 star
 (251)
3 star
 (152)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.3 (893 )
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Story
4.2 (900 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (54)
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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Donna grants pass, OR, USA 03-07-09
    Donna grants pass, OR, USA 03-07-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    BmoreBard 07-26-16
    BmoreBard 07-26-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Weird, annoying performance"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sgonk New York, NY USA 06-09-16
    sgonk New York, NY USA 06-09-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredible novel; not so incredible narration"

    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!).

    However.

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kleete Rozelle, Australia 03-01-15
    Kleete Rozelle, Australia 03-01-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    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 02-16-14
    Susan 02-16-14
    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
  •  
    Amazon Customer United States 06-10-13
    Amazon Customer United States 06-10-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Toni Morrison....stick to writing..please!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Of course, Beloved is Brilliant! Just wish that the author wasn't the one reading this. Really hard to listen to. Very distracting.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Mr. N. A. Burton
    Oxon, England
    6/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unbearably moving"

    Sometimes fiction can be the best way of treating reality, and this groundbreaking novel is surely a prime example of that. It explains the reality of slavery in a way which none of the first hand accounts such as Douglass, Jacobs, Equiano, Prince can do. It speaks of the depths of the human experience of those directly affected and the scars that are left both on the outside and the inside. The narrative voice is unfamiliar and takes some getting used to. Toni Morrison's expressive but understated delivery is perfect for her novel of characters who "remember as little as they dare" but gradually let their stories out despite themselves.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Helen
    Norwich, United Kingdom
    12/10/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hard going"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    It's just so in-depth found myself totally lost, I know people rave about this book but I'm finding it hard going


    What will your next listen be?

    Less heaving going book


    What didn’t you like about Toni Morrison’s performance?

    Toni Morrison voice sent me off to sleep, not in a bad way but I'd wake up and have no clue what she was then talking about.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Claudia
    Sheffield, United Kingdom
    7/31/11
    Overall
    "Authors, stick to writing"

    A wonderful book, anything but wonderfully read. Toni Morrison is a great writer, and I couldn't wait to start listening to this reading. Sadly, I had to stop after about three hours. Once again, it became painfully obvious that good writers don't necessarily make good readers. Morrison's habit of taking a breath in the middle of a phrase is worse than irritating, it regularly obscures the meaning of sections of the book. I hoped I would get used to her truncated phrasing (a grass, blade), but could not manage it. What a shame. A convincing reading of the characters' Black English speech would have added greatly to an intriguing book that lingers in the mind.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 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
    Story
    "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
  • Anonymous
    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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