Friday, December 25, 2015

Review: Beloved

BelovedBeloved by Toni Morrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beloved is the kind of book that demands re-reading, but it's so maddening to get through once that you won't want to pick it up again. The scenes of slavery are probably the harshest I've ever read, and the unconventional approach to story-telling, which melds reality with magical realism, creates a story that is weaving and glorious at times, and obfuscating and frustrating at others. It's certainly masterfully written.

But here's my problem with it. Its structure could be a little smoother. Yes, everything unwinds itself eventually, and yes, it does all make sense in the end, but there are some telly moments that kind of feel like an info dump. I think I would have enjoyed it a little more if some of the plot remained a bit more hidden and the reader had to make their own interpretation, but oh well. Either way, this is a masterpiece. Showing slavery in a fierce and metaphysical way was a gamble, but it paid off. It's no wonder Morrison won the Pulitzer, and later the Nobel prize for this book.

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