Sula

Narrated by: Toni Morrison
Length: 5 hrs and 46 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,067 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Two girls who grow up to become women...two friends who become something worse than enemies. In this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison tells the story of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who meet as children in the small town of Medallion, Ohio. Their devotion is fierce enough to withstand bullies and the burden of a dreadful secret. It endures even after Nel has grown up to be a pillar of the black community and Sula has become a pariah. But their friendship ends in an unforgivable betrayal ¿ or does it end? Terrifying, comic, ribald and tragic, Sula is a work that overflows with life.
©1973 Toni Morrison (P)2002 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Enchanting....Powerful." ( Chicago Daily News)
"In characters like Sula, Toni Morrison's originality and power emerge." ( The Nation)
"Exemplary....The essential mysteries of death and sex, friendship, and poverty are expressed with rare economy." ( Newsweek)
"Extravagantly beautiful....Enormously, achingly alive....A howl of love and rage, playful and funny as well as hard and bitter." ( The New York Times)
"...Morrison provides an audio gem that can be cherished within the whole body of audiobook recordings. Her smooth, mellifluous voice has so much command over each word. She honors each sound and expresses each image vividly. While most listening can accompany other tasks like driving or exercising, Morrison smoothly draws the listener to complete attention. This is compelling listening: a dazzling presentation of Sula and Nel's lives, loves and losses, and of Morrison's brilliance." ( AudioFile)

Featured Article: The Essential Works of Toni Morrison


Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison left behind a legacy of powerful books. These are her most essential listens. In August 2019, we lost a giant of the literary world. Toni Morrison died at the age of 88, leaving behind a decades-long legacy of remarkable writing and achievements. She was one of a few American authors whose work has had an indelible impact on readers and writers everywhere. Toni Morrison’s books are essential listening for anyone who wants to study American literature or experience books filled with powerful storytelling and brilliant prose.

What listeners say about Sula

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good against evil and a riotous story to boot

This was a well thought out, well put together novel. Everything draws together at the end. In addition, the author knows how to tell a story.

The characters are real, unpredictable, flesh-and-blood people. People you have known in your life, or wished to know. The reader is immersed into the culture of a backwater black neighborhood of the early 20th century.

The story has twists and turns, some back stories, but I followed it easily while alone cleaning my kitchen. I can usually predict a plot twist, but not this time. Something was happening every 5 minutes, or so it seemed.

Similar to the books of Thomas Hardy, there are all of these characters, all of these lives and interactions within a community, an interesting plot, and a thread of morality winding through it all. I didn't really notice the thread, but many things made me feel uncomfortable with both Nell and Sula. All is explained at the end and justice prevails. I felt better only to discover that I had been "had" by the moral questions now raised within myself.

Some people complained about the narration. I had no problem with it, but I listen on my computer instead of a device, if that makes any difference. The author speaks deliberately, but without a lot of expression. This way you can interpret her words as you wish, just as if you were reading it.

In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It has everything one could wish for. I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in fine literature.


21 people found this helpful

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A moving and dangerous book.

One of the most intense and beautifully-written books I've ever read. Experiencing the emotions and ideas within this story could change you. In my estimation, this short book is on a par with Homer's Odyssey. No, actually, it's definitely better. (I *know* this sounds like hyperbole, but I really mean it.)

Morrison's reading is terrific.

16 people found this helpful

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Very descriptive

I really like how she strings her metaphors and similes together. At times I felt like I was hanging out with the girl, or at the water's edge.

5 people found this helpful

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Fabulous story, beautiful voice, terrible holes in narration

Very good story, and Toni has a beautiful voice. I just wish she’d used it more! The breathiness is very effective for some parts, but there are whole important parts of the plot that you miss because she’s almost at a whisper! If you listen to this (which I recommend, because it’s so wonderful and sad and beautiful), I’d recommend listening only with earphones, on high, so you can get every word. Otherwise you miss a lot. I had to keep up with online chapter summaries.

5 people found this helpful

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my experience

I love the story I love Toni Morrison's voice, but this time I thought she whispered too much or she spoke too softly and sometimes words could not be understood

4 people found this helpful

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Super Natural

Toni Morrison's magical storytelling once again reveals deep emotions of US (especially Mid-South) history. A brilliant, impressionistic piece of literature.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A bit too complicated for easy listening

I must actually read this one - as it does sound interesting but a bit too foreign for easy listening - i'v started it over and again but do recommend for someone who can do nothing while listening - hope this helps.

12 people found this helpful

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performance 10

this was the most unbearably beautiful reading. I want to start all over. she is simply extraordinary.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Terrible

I love Toni Morrion's books and have read several. I purchased Sula and Beloved. What a mistake. She is a terrible reader, slow, wispy, frequent pauses. I suffered through Sula but after the first chapter gave up on Beloved. Listen to a sample of the book, prior to purchase, to evaluate the reading style. It may work for some but it definitely did not work for me.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Beautiful

Morrison's tone is soothing and beautifully, poetically just. I strongly recommend this reading of it.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-29-20

Good story, poor narration

I've made the same mistake once before, assuming that the author as narrator would make it especially good. In fact, though this is a great story, Morrison's narration makes it, at times, hard to follow. She has unusual intonation, almost as if she has forgotten what she is going to say, so you have to concentrate hard to get the meaning of a sentence. At times she talks very softly, at other times loud, so I had to keep changing the volume on the recording, and I missed some parts and had to rewind. All in all an amazing author, but it is clear from this that narration is a performance, and not everyone can be good at it, not even the author themselves.

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  • Queenrsq
  • 02-26-20

Raw & Emotionally Gripping

The story grabed my attention with its raw descriptions. Horrific at times but evocative and moving. An honest and believable read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-10-19

Heartbreaking, Raw, but softly spoken

I starting listening to this once I heard about Toni's death. it hit so many raw nerves but in such a masterful way that you can't hit stop.
Sulas character will stick with me. she is a burning totem of power, so unmovable. hot and chilling. the only negative comment is The quiet narration by the author. still it made it all the more special to hear it in her own voice