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Beloved

Beloved

Audiobook CD - 1998
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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 eighteen 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. After the Civil War ends, Sethe longingly recalls the two-year-old daughter whom she killed when threatened with recapture after escaping from slavery 18 years before.
Publisher: New York : Random House Audio, [1998]
Edition: Unabridged.
Copyright Date: ℗1998
ISBN: 9780739342275
0739342274
Call Number: CD FIC MOR
Characteristics: 10 sound discs (12 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
plastic,metal,4 3/4 in.,1.4 m/s,mass-produced.
digital,1.4 m/s,stereo
Bib Control Number: 783621

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From Library Staff

Sethe - Enduring unspeakable hardships while enslaved, Sethe's fierce protectiveness as a mother is viewed by some as a mortal sin and by others as the ultimate act of selfless love.


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dgiard
Oct 06, 2020

"Beloved" by Toni Morrison is a ghost story. But the haunting is far from the most disturbing part of this book.

Eighteen years ago, Sethe and her children escaped the Kentucky plantation "Sweet Home" to find refuge in Cincinnati at the home of her mother-in-law Baby Suggs. Now, the Civil War is over, Baby Sugs has died, Sethe's two sons have run away, and the house is occupied by Sethe, her daughter Denver, and the ghost of her dead 2-year-old daughter known only as "Beloved".

The townsfolk shun the house - known only by the partial address of "124". Presumably, they avoid 124 because of their fear of the ghost within; but, as the story unfolds, we learn of the tragic secret that drove a wedge between Sethe and the local community.

The novel is filled with symbolism, such as the four horsemen arriving to re-capture escaped slaves; and the incomplete street address - a nod to the incomplete lives of former slaves; and the tree-shaped scars on Sethe's back, which mirror the emotional scars on her soul.

But Morrison deals explicitly with many issues - particularly the dehumanizing aspects of slavery. Families were separated permanently; people were stripped of their names (most of the male slaves at Sweet Home were named "Paul"); beatings were common; negroes were compared to animals; and sexual assault went unpunished. For some, death was preferable to a life of slavery.

This was my second reading of "Beloved" and I am glad I returned to it, even after 20 years. The story is sometimes difficult to follow as it includes numerous shifts in time and perspective. Much of the book reads more like poetry than prose, forcing the reader to approach each chapter deliberately and more slowly than most novels.

But the extra effort pays off in this beautiful and tragic story.

j
JStuart23
Sep 21, 2019

Probably the most profound book I have read of Ms. Morrison yet. This book truly touches on the human condition of slaves and how slavery is internalized. This book was difficult for me to follow. After each chapter I had to read a summary of the chapter at Sparknotes.com. Once I could understand what was going on and who was who, I started to feel the emotions of each of these characters.

This book is filled with symbolism. The first 8 chapters are a testament to that. From chapter 9 to the end of the book, it stops with metaphors and basically puts trauma right into your face. This is the other side of slavery that people don't really understand. Physically abuse is nothing compared to what it does to a person mentally.

This book made me feel like I was back in the classroom discussing and dissecting the book to try and interpret its inner message, but also what Toni is trying to convey.

This book should be read by all. It is food for the soul and teaches humanity through tragedy.

s
steven_hahn
Aug 07, 2019

Very moving story that delves deep into its characters’ psyches and how they are shaped based on the tumultuous events surrounding our nation’s transformation from a slave-owning society to a free one.

The story is constructed in a way as to jump around in time, a method which makes it confusing at times. The nature of the characters also adds to the complexity of the storyline.

The prose is very beautiful and, as this is read by the Toni Morrison herself, imbued with the same passion one imagines she felt when writing it.

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jenniferzilm Nov 19, 2019

“She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”

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