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1. A Mercy (Vintage International)
2. Jazz
3. Beloved (Everyman's Library)
4. Love: A Novel
5. Song of Solomon
6. The Bluest Eye (Vintage International)
7. Paradise (Oprah's Book Club)
8. Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon:
9. Sula (Oprah's Book Club)
10. Tar Baby
11. Big Box
12. What Moves at the Margin: Selected
13. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness
14. Sula
15. Toni Morrison's Paradise (MAXnotes)
16. Peeny Butter Fudge
17. Conversations with Toni Morrison
18. Beloved
19. Jazz
20. Beloved

1. A Mercy (Vintage International)
by Toni Morrison
Paperback: 224 Pages (2009-08-11)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307276767
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
National Bestseller

One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year

In the 1680s the slave trade in the Americas is still in its infancy. Jacob Vaark is an Anglo-Dutch trader and adventurer, with a small holding in the harsh North. Despite his distaste for dealing in “flesh,” he takes a small slave girl in part payment for a bad debt from a plantation owner in Catholic Maryland. This is Florens, who can read and write and might be useful on his farm. Rejected by her mother, Florens looks for love, first from Lina, an older servant woman at her new master's house, and later from the handsome blacksmith, an African, never enslaved, who comes riding into their lives.

A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart, like Beloved, it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter-a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (145)

5-0 out of 5 stars Toni Morrison
Everybody should own all of Toni's works. A Mercy treats a subject many are ignorant about, but still run away from learning.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ethereal!
Toni Morrisoon was true to her style for fiction.I love books that engage the brain by causing the reader to think or wonder.I could not put this book down!!

1-0 out of 5 stars Confused
I did not get this book.I could not even finish reading this first chapter.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Morrison's Best
Being a huge fan of Toni Morrison, this, her latest novel, doesn't disappoint. Few writers weave such intricate stories in so few pages. Like Beloved, A Mercy again paints the horrid picture of slavery so realistically that one comes away a changed person. It is difficult to pick between the two novels considering all aspects of the craft, but this reader prefers A Mercy. That may be because it presents a broader historic scope without delving into the supernatural that infuses Beloved. Then again, perhaps an evil such as slavery requires the supernatural to explain it.
The beginning of the story was confusing as to what was taking place and where it was happening. But Morrison soon draws us into the whole panoply of early America, stripping away the myths of history we learned in school to show that not only blacks were treated disgracefully, but the Indians and indentured servants as well.
As Morrison does so well, she shows us all of this through exquisitely drawn characters, both good and bad, characters that put us right there feeling exactly what they are experiencing, with a conclusion that is so real and so poignant that one can hardly bear it.

Michael D. Edwards, Author of the recently released "Royal Ryukian Blues" a memoir of Okinawa.

4-0 out of 5 stars Haunting.. One of Morrison's best. 4.25/5
I'll start by making a comparison: In a strange sort of way, this novel reminds me a lot of The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje: It concerns a number of people that have come from all over the world, from different backgrounds, but all live together-they interact several times a day, but they never fully understand or connect to each other.
As is often the case with Morrison's work, you will read the first chapter, which is only six or seven pages long, and have no idea what's going on.
Through different narrators from different time periods, what is described in the first chapter (which you'll probably want to re-read later) is revealed layer by layer. The non-linear narration of this story really adds to the overall impact for me.
Several of the characters in this novel really haunted me, stuck with me. (Florens and Sorrow come to mind.) Toni Morrison is able to really breathe life into black history, without seeming whiny, or as if she's exploiting it. Even for someone like myself, a white mid-western American, you will live and breathe with her characters, and develop a new appreciation for black history.
Toni Morrison, as others have pointed out, is a classicist, and in my opinion, A Mercy contains her best prose since Beloved. If you have never read Morrison, I suggest start with something like Sula, but don't over look this novel. ... Read more

2. Jazz
by Toni Morrison
Paperback: 256 Pages (2004-06-08)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400076218
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At the funeral, Joe’s wife, Violet, attacks the girl’s corpse. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.Amazon.com Review
Jazz embraces the vibrant music and lifestyle of 1920s Harlem, an urban renaissance of opportunity and glamour. A novel of murder, hard lives, and broken dreams, Jazz sways with a lyric medley of voices and human consciousness.

Narrated by the author, Toni Morrison, this is an intense but gratifying three hours of tape. Background jazz music enhances the feel of '20s Harlem, a city that attracted thousands of black southerners hoping for better lives. Joe Trace and his wife Violet were part of this migration; madly in love with each other and the idea of this urban mecca, they "traindanced into the city." But like so many of the marriages in Morrison's novels, this union crumbles, and the dreams for a better life fade away. Joe finds another, a love "that made him so sad and happy he shot her just to keep the feeling going."

In Jazz, time ebbs and flows like human memory, traversing between recollections of the past and expectations for the future; likewise, jazz music is often wild and chaotic. Here Morrison once again exemplifies herself as both a superb writer and a masterful storyteller. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (70)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, beautifully read
Intertwined stories of loss, jealousy, and rage end in surprising reconciliation and renewal.Morrison's language is, as always, gorgeous and moving.Her voice on the audio version is expressive and musical.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written
Superbly written, Jazz is the tragic yet hopeful story of Joe and Violet. Born down in Virginia in the late 1800s, they move to "the city" (never named, but I'm guessing New York) when they are in their thirties. Life there for them is more different than they ever imagined, and they change for both better and worse.

Also, Jazz is the story of Dorcas, a confused teenage girl trying to wiggle her way out from under her strict aunt's thumb. Dorcas collides in a way with Joe and Violet that is horrible, yet will make you feel sympathy for everyone involved.

1-0 out of 5 stars time consuming
i read this book for school and you have to read it at least twice in order to understand morrison`s style of writing... it is not a light read

4-0 out of 5 stars Satisfied
I was completely happy and satisfied with the product I received. It came in great condition. But the only thing that made me feel uncomfortable with the purchase was the time that it took to receive the product. Which was probably due to the christmas holidays. However other then that customer service was good.

1-0 out of 5 stars Didn't Like It
I have read quite a few Toni Morrison books and I have to honestly say that this one was really disappointing. First off, make sure you do some research on this period before you do any reading. Also, find out what "Jazz" means, not the music type.I found the story uninteresting and didn't have that "everything came together" feeling at the end. Contrary to most of the other reviewers, I did not enjoy this book. ... Read more

3. Beloved (Everyman's Library)
by Toni Morrison
Hardcover: 316 Pages (2006-10-17)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$13.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307264882
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a spellbinding and dazzlingly innovative portrait of a woman haunted by the past.

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Meanwhile Sethe’s house has long been troubled by the angry, destructive ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Sethe works at beating back the past, but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly in her memory and in the lives of those around her. When a mysterious teenage girl arrives, calling herself Beloved, Sethe’s terrible secret explodes into the present.

Combining the visionary power of legend with the unassailable truth of history, Morrison’s unforgettable novel is one of the great and enduring works of American literature.Amazon.com Review
In the troubled years following the Civil War, the spirit of a murderedchild haunts the Ohio home of a former slave. This angry, destructive ghostbreaks mirrors, leaves its fingerprints in cake icing, and generally makeslife difficult for Sethe and her family; nevertheless, the woman finds thehaunting oddly comforting for the spirit is that of her own dead baby,never named, thought of only as Beloved.

A dead child, a runaway slave, a terrible secret--these are the centralconcerns of Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning Beloved.Morrison, a Nobel laureate, has written many fine novels, includingSong of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, andParadise--but Beloved is arguably her best. Tomodern readers, antebellum slavery is a subject so familiar that it isalmost impossible to render its horrors in a way that seems neither clichédnor melodramatic. Rapes, beatings, murders, and mutilations are recountedhere, but they belong to characters so precisely drawn that the tragedyremains individual, terrifying to us because it is terrifying to thesufferer. And Morrison is master of the telling detail: in the bit,for example, a punishing piece of headgear used to discipline recalcitrantslaves, she manages to encapsulate all of slavery's many cruelties into oneapt symbol--a device that deprives its wearer of speech. "Days after it wastaken out, goose fat was rubbed on the corners of the mouth but nothing tosoothe the tongue or take the wildness out of the eye." Most importantly,the language here, while often lyrical, is never overheated. Even as sherecalls the cruelties visited upon her while a slave, Sethe is evocativewithout being overemotional: "Add my husband to it, watching, above me inthe loft--hiding close by--the one place he thought no one would look forhim, looking down on what I couldn't look at at all. And not stoppingthem--looking and letting it happen.... And if he was that broken then, thenhe is also and certainly dead now." Even the supernatural is treated as anordinary fact of life: "Not a house in the country ain't packed to itsrafters with some dead Negro's grief. We lucky this ghost is a baby,"comments Sethe's mother-in-law.

Beloved is a dense, complex novel that yields up its secrets one byone. As Morrison takes us deeper into Sethe's history and her memories, thehorrifying circumstances of her baby's death start to make terrible sense.And as past meets present in the shape of a mysterious young woman aboutthe same age as Sethe's daughter would have been, the narrative buildsinexorably to its powerful, painful conclusion.Beloved may well bethe defining novel of slavery in America, the one that all otherswill be measured by. --Alix Wilber ... Read more

Customer Reviews (676)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Story, Bad Formatting
My biggest complaint with this book was the formatting that was used for the Kindle Edition.Instead of breaking it down into three parts with individual chapters in between, they chose to split the book up into three chapters.This makes it extremely problematic when reading and discussing with a group who is using the book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Had to close it.
Was enjoying it until Beloved "strangled" on a raisin. After a stupid part like that I had to stop reading it. I assumed Miss Morrison meant choked, and how can a full grown woman choke on something as small as a raisin? Who chokes on a raisin? Couldn't she have just said it was an olive or somethin?

4-0 out of 5 stars The Story of US
* " Toni Morrison's Beloved is one of the great American novels. Beloved looks beneath the surface of the plantation life. Morrison lets everyone see the horrors of life for African-American people as chattel slaves. She also exposes the horrors for African-American people living in reconstruction. Beloved could easily extend out to Jim Crow living or 21st century living of African-American people in the United States. Beyond the social statements that beloved makes, there is the quality of the literature. Morrison is a world class literary figure that takes the reader on an exhilarating ride through the characters and time in the Nobel Prize winning Beloved." - [...]tales from tim

5-0 out of 5 stars Past, Present, and Future.
Dealing with the past: In the most abstract, non-contextual, sense, Toni Morrison explores the issue of dealing with the past. Beloved is a story about former slaves. From here, you see the destroyed identities these characters have due to slavery and their own inability to cope with the past and past actions. It inhibits one to form a coherent self-identity, thus an inability to learn how to deal with traumas and go forward. Lastly, there is something to be said about community. Community is needed. It provides solidarity, the connections that people need for social support, whatever it might be. Sethe's past actions cut that support from the community. However, the community is also at fault for their view of Sethe and Baby Suggs. Both sides eventually reconcile and that is what Morrison explores. Dealing with the past: You must reconcile what has happened with what is happening in order to have a better feature. However, you cannot do that without knowing what has happened. This is what the character Denver represents, someone willing to ignore the past and thus unable to reconcile herself and her current situation. When she is confronted with knowledge of the past and learning what has happened instead of ignoring history, she starts to reconcile her family with the community.
In turn, the community begins to reconcile with the residents of 124 and make up for their past mistakes Make no mistake though, this is about the destruction slavery has caused and while sad and depressing, the end provides an idea of hope: That eventually we can reconcile what has happened with what is happening and build a better future. Lastly, I applaud Morrison for her use of the supernatural. Whether drawn from African Culture or use of Christian Symbolism, it adds to the story because it implies there is something greater than ourselves that will make us confront that which we do not want to confront.

1-0 out of 5 stars Do not buy Audio version if hard of hearing
I tried to listen to the CD version of this book. Morrison reads it herself. She should have hired a professional. I listen to books in my car. There is road noise. Even with my hearing aids and the volume turned to max I could not understand much of what she was saying -- even when the car was stopped. She talks in this breathless, whispering, trailing off at the end of words sort of way. Those of you with hearing issues know what I am talking about. Get the written version if you want to read this book. ... Read more

4. Love: A Novel
by Toni Morrison
Paperback: 224 Pages (2005-01-04)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$3.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400078474
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison’s spellbinding new novel is a Faulknerian symphony of passion and hatred, power and perversity, color and class that spans three generations of black women in a fading beach town.

In life, Bill Cosey enjoyed the affections of many women, who would do almost anything to gain his favor. In death his hold on them may be even stronger. Wife, daughter, granddaughter, employee, mistress: As Morrison’s protagonists stake their furious claim on Cosey’s memory and estate, using everything from intrigue to outright violence, she creates a work that is shrewd, funny, erotic, and heartwrenching.Amazon.com Review
The first page of Toni Morrison's novel Love is a soft introduction to a narrator who pulls you in with her version of a tale of the ocean-side community of Up Beach, a once popular ocean resort. Morrison introduces an enclave of people who react to one man--Bill Cosey--and to each other as they tell of his affect on generations of characters living in the seaside community. One clear truth here, told time and again, is how folks love and hate each other and the myriad ways it's manifested; these versions of humanity are seen in almost every line. Monsters and ghosts creep into young girls' dreams and around corners and then return to staid ladies' lives as they age and remember friendships and cold battles. Men and women--Heed, Romen, Junior, Christine, Celestial, and the rest of Morrison's cast--cry and sing out their weaknesses and strengths in rotating perspectives. Sandler, a Cosey employee, is a brilliant agent of Morrison's descriptions of human behavior, "Then, in a sudden shift of subject that children and heavy drinkers enjoy, 'My son, Billy was about your age. When he died, I mean.'"And Romen is allowed to play hero by saving a young girl from a brutal gang rape, while at the same time, he battles disgust like no superhuman would be caught dead feeling.

Though slim in pages, Morrison constructs Love with a precision and elegance that shows her characters' flaws and fears with brutal accuracy. Love may be less complex than others in the grand Morrison oeuvre, but not because Morrison performs literary hand-holding. Readers will experience in this smooth, sharp-eyed gem another instance of the Toni Morrison craftsmanship: she enters your mind, hangs a tale or two there, and leaves just as quietly as she came. --E. Brooke Gilbert ... Read more

Customer Reviews (99)

5-0 out of 5 stars Trademark Morrison
Absolutely phenomenal. Morrison's insight into the complicated relationships of men & women as well as children & their parents is, as alwasys, nuanced and moving. Love is also another stellar example of Morrison's skill at creating structure. The way the story is laid out slowly - the details trickling like rain - forces the reader to frequently change her assessments of the characters and their motives. Who is the victim? Who is the oppressor? These aren't easy answers in life, nor are they in Morrison's work. No character can be summed up so easily, all are complex and realistic portrayals of people who have experienced a great deal of pain and were warped by either excessive love or the complete absence of it. Even the most seemingly vile character has a tender side that cannot be denied, just as even the most sympathetic character has traits that shock the reader. Ultimately, Morrison leaves the reader with a better understanding of how we hurt each other and how when we really reach for it, we can find the ability to heal each other as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars A breathtaking read
Toni Morrison is an insightful genius! This book simply took me away. It's a total escape -- I think of it as literary deep sea diving. The beginning may be a little tough to penetrate. However, Morrison draws you in before you know it with intriguing, multidimensional characters tossed in an intricate and reflective plot (as she always does so well). Her insight is astounding. When I finished reading Love, I felt like I had accomplished something. I've read Beloved, Paradise and Tar Baby. Love is my favorite TM novel so far, and one of my favorite novels of all.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Voice
For years, I tried to read Ton Morrison's works but couldn't get into the rythmn of the writing.Then I ordered her works on CD with her as the reader!That did it.Now I have all her books on CD that she reads herself, and they are magical!The lyric sway of her speech, the slow, low cadence of the way she speaks make the stories come alive - and that's what I needed.As a white woman from a middle class background, I needed the alluring timbre of Ms. Morrison's voice to captivate my heart into hearing her stories.Once that happened, her own magic became alive and my own life richer for having heard her tales.

3-0 out of 5 stars Love and Lightning: Toni Morrison's "Love"
His soft eyes stare out invitingly from the portrait above the bed, but his lips aren't talking. Bill Cosey has been dead for 25 years. And women in the small town of Silk are still scratching at each other over him.

Toni Morrison paints a disturbing, delicate, and erotic portrait of female friendship in Love, her eighth novel. She shows how this emotion, and the need for it, can lead to the deepest forms of hatred. In the words of the author: "Love is the weather. Betrayal is the lightning that cleaves and reveals it."

Morrison is best known for Beloved, a novel on slavery in the American South. Written from multiple points of view, it alternates between a family's slave past and their post-Civil War present. The masterful portrayal of changing generations within an Africa-American family, particularly its women, is reprised in Love. We learn in Faulkneresque fashion about the women Cosey affected, through voices that oscillate between past and present, the gilded world of Cosey's Resort and the anger and bitterness of a community emptied after the last glamorous guests have left town.

Junior shows up at the Cosey women's doorstep hungry, her long, bare legs encased in dirty black boots. Christine immediately dislikes her. Heed invites the young girl upstairs and hires her because she lets her talk.

Heed was eleven when Mr. Cosey took her as his wife. He led her to the ocean and let the water run over her body. Now in her eighties, her immobile hands cannot record her memories of her marriage, so she tells stories about "Papa" as Junior bathes her, envying the girl's young skin and her ability to feel.

Christine inhabits the world and the floor beneath Heed's, chopping chicken as diamond rings twinkle from each finger. She has been caring for Heed for years, this woman that married her grandfather and ruined her life. There was a time when the two girls shared laughs under beach blankets as best friends. She does not think of that anymore.

Morrison's language alternately turns on and soothes the reader, enrages and mystifies. Her women are dark and powerful; warriors destroyed and re-built by their own making. They take turns telling how Bill Cosey brought a hotel and hope to a black community at mid-century, taking the citizens of Silk out of their bleak jobs at the cannery and offering them a glimpse into the world of well-dressed guests and parties by the sea. From awe at his good works to outrage at his sexual exploits to a final mystery surrounding his death, we are drawn into a world where friendships are sundered by marriage and marriages desecrated by lust.

The joy of reading a work by Morrison lies in her ability to flesh out a character with a few, searing strokes: "Her eyes swept Junior's face, then examined her clothes...she had quickly positioned herself at the window to strike the right pose, give a certain impression. But she needn't have bothered. The girl was not at all what she had expected." She gives us women who are intimidating and afraid all at once, women who have been protecting themselves for so long that they don't know how to relate to one another anymore save for shows of forced strength.

The shadowy, disembodied voice of "L" runs throughout the novel, at times providing insight into secrets buried in the breasts of the women of Love. Morrison's dense plot, spanning two generations and seen through the eyes of multiple characters, is alternately clouded and illuminated by L's stream-of-consciousness commentary, offered up in italicized blocks of prose poetry: "I'm the background--the movie music that comes along when the sweethearts see each other for the first time, or when the husband is walking the beachfront alone wondering if anybody saw him doing the bad thing he couldn't help."

It is unclear whether "L" is dead or alive; she seems to hang in the air, timeless, speaking of the past and what unfolded in the halls of a hotel now rotting with neglect. Morrison said she wanted her characters to be observed by an "`I' not restricted by chronology or space-- or the frontier between life and not-life." In a novel already bursting at the seams, this element is a bit distracting, though the beauty of her prose justifies this overlay to her verbal quilt work.

Love is rich in poetic language, a complex painting of complicated women that critiques the way we define love and attacks racism and sexism along the way. This is Morrison writing about what she does best, though perhaps she has already done it better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love
Thought it was a beautifully woven story of a friendship that develops between two women who once shared a bond with the same man. ... Read more

5. Song of Solomon
by Toni Morrison
Paperback: 352 Pages (2004-06-08)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 140003342X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
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.Amazon.com Review
Morrison's earthy, poetic voice compliments perfectly the fantastical andmythical elements of Song Of Soloman. A world where fathers fly inclouds of rose petals, and women can cast spells. The text is perfectlysuited for an audio rendition - as poetry, songs and the spoken wordfeature so heavily in the book.

Morrison narrates for three hours and lays out before us the complex livesand backgrounds of four generations of black family life in the south.Central is the character Milkman--an unfortunate nickname owed to his lengthy nursing period and delayed coming of age. Although a latestarter, Milkman develops into a fundamentally strong person, whoeventually learns to cherish his family and the importance of his roots.

The narrator breathes life into an intriguing and diverse set of characters--from violent criminals to devout parents. Through them Morrison explorescomplex social and racial issues using luscious lyricallanguage This text refers to the audiobook edition of this title. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (237)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Future is Now and Then
* "Song of Solomon is a great novel for 2010. Toni Morrison uses her novel to connect the past, present, and future with the flow of a large stream. in a time when people treat life like it just appears out of thin air, Song of Solomon reminds us that we all have ancestors as well as traditions that affect who and how we are. Morrison's Song of Solomon gives us clues to the solutions of our current problems like why some communities are so violent. For the answers, which seem to escape our leaders, look at the decades or centuries that precede us in the here and now. Morrison also shows us that we cannot escape our past, no matter how hard we try. - [...]tales from tim

5-0 out of 5 stars Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon, one of Toni Morrison's major works, is all about identity and how to get it. Identity in the form of self-actualization. Identity in the form of social status. Identity in the form of roles in family and friendships. It is something that the main character, Milkman, does not have nor want to have. The novel traces his quest to find himself through the history of his family, all the while facing modern-day issues of discrimination and repression. The book is entertaining and rich in structure and storytelling ability. A seasoned Morrison fan could see that this was written before her powers came into full effect, and as such some parts of the book are awkwardly written and lack the real poetry she is known for. However, the book is strikingly original, peopled with characters richly composed and scenes that are crafted with a little bit of magic. It stays in your head, which I guess is all a good book is supposed to do. The whole thing exists in a world different from our own, but anchored to it. This is ideal reading for Morrison novices or fans of African American literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding, universal in its appeal
Egad! What if I hadn't discovered Toni Morrison in college?! Thanks, Dr. Harding at Mississippi College! Featuring a male protagonist--something rare for Morrison, who nearly always gives powerful female characters center stage--"Song of Solomon" is one of the most riveting examples of "bildungsroman" (coming-of-age story) I've ever read, right up there with "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." This book is heartbreakingly beautiful, spellbinding in its breadth, universal in its appeal. It so moved me that I chose it (along with "The Bluest Eye" and "Jazz") as the subject of my thesis. It's essential to read Morrison, one of America's greatest living writers, and this volume is a good place to start. You'll likely end up wanting to read it more than once.

4-0 out of 5 stars Toni Morrison is like an animal
This book from Toni Morrison is not too bad, it's actually OK. What I like about Toni Morrison is that she is a no-nonsense writer. She perceives the world in an animal like way. She has a total natural acceptance of the bodily processes of being human, white people often have a much more schizophrenic relation to their bodily processes, where they feel ashamed and they are not natural with their body in the same way that Toni Morrisons characters are. Reading Toni Morrisons book one gets a sense that violence is an integrated trait of Afro American culture, virtually all her characters are violent and it seems like violence is an accepted way to solve problems instead of talking about them. In Toni Morrisons universe the shadow of slavery still exists, the characters have relatives which have been killed by white people in racist attacks down south.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very satisfied--customer for life
I was really surprised at how quickly the book shipped!The price was excellent, considering a new copy of this book at a major bookseller is about fifteen bucks.I will definitely use this seller (Owl of Minerva Books) again for purchasing books and am extremely happy with the quality of their service. ... Read more

6. The Bluest Eye (Vintage International)
by Toni Morrison
Paperback: 224 Pages (2007-05-08)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$6.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307278441
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in.Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.Amazon.com Review
Oprah Book Club® Selection, April 2000: Originallypublished in 1970, The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's firstnovel. In an afterword written more than two decades later, the authorexpressed her dissatisfaction with the book's language and structure:"It required a sophistication unavailable to me." Perhaps we can chalkup this verdict to modesty, or to the Nobel laureate's impossibly highstandards of quality control. In any case, her debut is nothing if notsophisticated, in terms of both narrative ingenuity and rhetoricalsweep. It also shows the young author drawing a bead on the subjectsthat would dominate much of her career: racial hatred, historicalmemory, and the dazzling or degrading power of language itself.

Set in Lorain, Ohio, in 1941, The Bluest Eye is something of an ensemble piece. The point of view is passed like a baton from one character to the next, with Morrison's own voice functioning as a kind of gold standard throughout. The focus, though, is on an 11-year-old black girl named Pecola Breedlove, whose entire family has been given a cosmetic cross to bear:

You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction. It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question.... And they took the ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it.
There are far uglier things in the world than, well, ugliness, and poor Pecola is subjected to most of them. She's spat upon, ridiculed, and ultimately raped and impregnated by her own father. No wonder she yearns to be the very opposite of what she is--yearns, in other words, to be a white child, possessed of the blondest hair and the bluest eye.

This vein of self-hatred is exactly what keeps Morrison's novel from devolving into a cut-and-dried scenario of victimization. She may in fact pin too much of the blame on the beauty myth: "Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another--physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion." Yet the destructive power of these ideas is essentially colorblind, which gives The Bluest Eye the sort of universal reach that Morrison's imitators can only dream of. And that, combined with the novel's modulated pathos and musical, fine-grained language, makes for not merely a sophisticated debut but a permanent one. --James Marcus ... Read more

Customer Reviews (523)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Reliable
I was extremely happy with the reliability of this company and I fully recommend purchasing your books from this supplier.

1-0 out of 5 stars Dissapointed
I heard so much about this book, but I was dissapointed after reading it. I think the discriptions were just too much. Some characters that she wrote so much about had no significant role in the story. And I don't like the idea that the book was classified as YA novel. The sexual content was too explicit and the use of dirty language was a little too much for young adult. This is just a one star novel.

2-0 out of 5 stars Propelled by a resentment towards whites
This is another quite boring book from Toni Morrison. I mean I acknowledge that Toni Morrison is a powerfull individual who has a remarkable no-nonsense look at life, but most of her books just don't really appeal to me. It seems like a substantial part of Toni Morrisons authorship is propelled by a deepfelt resentment towards white people, and she directly implies that black peoples social problems are a result of white discrimination and slavery. Hm... I just made a brief search on the internet and I found this source which is backed up by statistic facts: "Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery." (www.colorofcrime.com). If this is true, which it appears to be, is it then any wonder that you are a bit more careful when you walk through a coloured neighborhood, than when you walk through a white neighborhood? I believe that white discrimination towards blacks is responsible for some of the problems, but I also think that the major reason for the problems is the cultural origin. Afro-Americans have part of their origin in Africa, and the cultural origin of whites is Europe. When you look at how the two continents have developed it seems obvious that there is a remarkable difference! Hopefully this difference will get smaller in the progress of time!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Transaction
Novel arrived just as described by seller and prior to expected arrival date. Very happy with transaction.

1-0 out of 5 stars No wonder it took 25 years to get published....
The book is gross, shocking and at times perverse.The book is not really centered around or identifies for the reader what the color of someones skins has to do with anything. I highly doubt that had Ms. Morrison had not been friends with Oprah...this book would have gone nowhere.My daughter had it as required reading in a college course.As highly educated as we both are, this book was down right repulsive.I am against banning books and sometimes read them on that principal alone.But please, if you want me to learn about being a black woman...hand me a book by Maya Angelou who celebrates, not degrades her culture.She is indeed what it means to be a national treasure. ... Read more

7. Paradise (Oprah's Book Club)
by Toni Morrison
Paperback: 352 Pages (1999-04-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$4.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452280397
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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"They shoot the white girl first. With the others they can take their time." Toni Morrison's first novel since she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature opens with a horrifying scene of mob violence then chronicles its genesis in a small all-black town in rural Oklahoma. Founded by descendants of free slaves as intent on isolating themselves from the outside world as it once was on rejecting them, the patriarchal community of Ruby is built on righteousness, rigidly enforced moral law, and fear. But seventeen miles away, another group of exiles has gathered in a promised land of their own. And it is upon these women in flight from death and despair that nine male citizens of Ruby will lay their pain, their terror, and their murderous rage...

Paradise is a tour de force of storytelling power, richly imagined and elegantly composed. Morrison challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she weaves folklore and history, memory and myth, into an unforgettable meditation on race, religion, gender, and the way a society can turn on itself until it is forced to explode.Amazon.com Review
Oprah Book Club® Selection, January 1998: Toni Morrison's Paradise takes place in the tiny farmingcommunity of Ruby, Oklahoma, which its residents proudly proclaim "theone all-black town worth the pain." Settled by nine African Americanclans during the 1940s, the town represents a small miracle ofself-reliance and community spirit. Readers might be forgiven, infact, for assuming that Morrison's title refers to Ruby itself, whicheven during the 1970s retains an atmosphere of neighborliness andsmall-town virtue. Yet Paradises are not so easily gained. As we soondiscover, Ruby is fissured by ancestral feuds and financial squabbles,not to mention the political ferment of the era, which has managed topierce the town's pious isolation. In the view of its leadingcitizens, these troubles call for a scapegoat. And one readily exists:the Convent, an abandoned mansion not far from town--or, moreprecisely, the four women who occupy it, and whose unattached andunconventional status makes them the perfect targets for patriarchalire.("Before those heifers came to town," the men complain, "thiswas a peaceable kingdom.") One July morning, then, an armed posse setsout from Ruby for a round of ethical cleansing.

Paradise actually begins with the arrival of these vigilantes, only tolaunch into an intricate series of flashbacks and interlacedstories. The cast is large--indeed, it seems as though we must havemet all 360 members of Ruby's populace--and Morrison knows how toimprint even the minor players on our brains. Even more amazing,though, are the full-length portraits she draws of the four Conventdwellers and their executioners: rich, rounded, and almost painful intheir intimacy. This richness--of language and, ultimately, of humanunderstanding--combats the aura of saintliness that can occasionallymar Morrison's fiction. It also makes for a spectacular piece ofstorytelling, in which such biblical concepts as redemption and divinelove are no postmodern playthings but matters of life and (in the veryfirst sentence, alas) death. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (330)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding by an underappreciated author

I wish I had "discovered" Toni Morrison earlier.As good as this is, Song of Solomon (by Morrison) tops it.

Buy them both.You will not be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Bookschlepper Recommends
This novel, one of Morrison's darkest, of self-righteous men and independent women could easily be transplanted from its all-Black community in Oklahoma to a Muslim village in Pakistan, to a Jewish shetl in the Pale, indeed, to a small or not-so-small town anywhere in the world inhabited by any race, color or creed. It is a universal story of the smugness that can come from power and safety and the perceived threat of women who have thrown off the accepted roles of battered wife, pregnant girlfriend or understanding Missus with a wandering husband. A warning, a shot across the bow, a tale of caution for uppity women, and ... I was about to say a cautionary tale for self-satisfied males but they, of course, will not read it

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent service
Book was sent when it was supposed to be sent, got here when it was supposed to get here, and it was the actual book in the actual condition described.If only life were this wonderful.

5-0 out of 5 stars The wonderfulness of 'awesome'
When Oprah had her book club meetings on television, this was a book that at least 50% of the members claimed having to re-read it once or twice. I started this book 3 times -I would get stuck at the same place. I thought I lost the ability to read -where were these new characters or incidents coming from? On the third go 'round, I vowed I'd keep moving on; about 20 pages after where I thought I hit my own roadblock, EVERYTHING BEGAN TO MAKE SENSE! Best of all, I became consumed with this treasure. Working, eating, bathing, and sleeping took a backseat; I would think about getting back into the book at every possible moment. One night (after some considerable tossing and turning, going over previously read pages in my mind), I gave up and finished the book -never leaving the bed. I was blown away by the ending; enough so that while working in a bookstore, I could sell this book just by saying, "I couldn't believe that happened to the nuns!"

"Paradise" is just one the many reasons to love language.

4-0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written and thought-provoking read
Paradise isn't a conventional read, so it's understandable that a good number of people find it difficult, confusing or unproductive. I shared those same feelings when I first read another of her novels, Jazz. Since then, for various reasons (including the persistence of some good friends) I've gone back and read all of Morrison's books. In the process, I re-learned how to read. Beloved, Song of Solomon, Sula; these are works that have simple requirements of the reader -- to trust the story and its teller; to enjoy the language, scenes, and people; but to above all re-read. Similarly, Paradise emerges from a tradition of modern writing that rewards, even demands, careful re-reading. One has to learn to enjoy discovering the story and its insights, rather than having both handed to you. One also has to understand that the unconventional form of the story can possibly tell you more than its content could (Exhibits A: Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, Faulkner's Absalom, and Beloved).

In Paradise, Morrison fully assumes a posture toward storytelling that she's played with since Tar Baby: that a novel's insights ought to be fragmentary in nature and almost missed, scattered throughout the pages and paragraphs, not foreshadowed and located at the end of a chapter. That you will come across a moment just as you would in life. And so you may not realize its importance the first time, or you may realize something significant is unfolding, but its meaning will require study and contemplation.

Learning to deal with this particular demand on reading has helped me enjoy novels by Morrison and other great writers, who (whether or not they provide That Satisfying Ending) have always hidden their best in various passages, waiting for the patient and perceptive to discover them, quite often in the 2nd, 3rd or 5th read. Of all her books, I think Paradise would be the most inappropriate for someone looking for a traditionally satisfying reader's experience. And since I'd really hate for more people to close the book disappointed (those things are expensive) I'd recommend The Bluest Eye first, then Song of Solomon, Sula, Beloved, then Paradise, a deeply thought-provoking read, and among her best. ... Read more

8. Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon: A Casebook (Casebooks in Criticism)
Paperback: 288 Pages (2003-03-27)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$5.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195146352
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The essays in this volume represent the major currents in critical thinking about Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison's widely acclaimed examination of the individual quest for self-knowledge in the context of the African-American experience. This collection offers a broad overview of the scholarship that has emerged in the decades since the 1977 publication of Morrison's third novel. These essays provide a map of the primary themes of Song of Solomon, covering subjects such as self-identity, the rituals of manhood and reading, and the importance of naming, and also explore the novel's incorporation of African myth and African-American folklore. The casebook opens with ""The People Could Fly,"" the African folktale from which Song of Solomon draws important aspects of its plot and major theme, and closes with an interview with Toni Morrison about her life and work as a novelist. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon Casebook of Critics
received my order in 3 days and the book is new in excelent condition.I believe I paidabout 75%less of what Borders sells this book for. Very Satisfied Customer.
... Read more

9. Sula (Oprah's Book Club)
by Toni Morrison
Hardcover: 192 Pages (2002-04-05)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$4.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375415351
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Toni Morrison's first novel, The Bluest Eye (1970), was acclaimed as the work of an important talent, written--as John Leonard said in The New York Times--in a prose "so precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry."

Sula has the same power, the same beauty.

At its center--a friendship between two women, a friendship whose intensity first sustains, then injures. Sula and Nel--both black, both smart, both poor, raised in a small Ohio town--meet when they are twelve, wishbone thin and dreaming of princes.

Through their girlhood years they share everything--perceptions, judgments, yearnings, secrets, even crime--until Sula gets out, out of the Bottom, the hilltop neighborhood where beneath the sporting life of the men hanging around the place in headrags and soft felt hats there hides a fierce resentment at failed crops, lost jobs, thieving insurance men, bug-ridden flour...at the invisible line that cannot be overstepped.

Sula leaps it and roams the cities of America for ten years. Then she returns to the town, to her friend. But Nel is a wife now, settled with her man and her three children. She belongs. She accommodates to the Bottom, where you avoid the hand of God by getting in it, by staying upright, helping out at church suppers, asking after folks--where you deal with evil by surviving it.

Not Sula. As willing to feel pain as to give pain, she can never accommodate. Nel can't understand her any more, and the others never did. Sula scares them. Mention her now, and they recall that she put her grandma in an old folks' home (the old lady who let a train take her leg for the insurance)...that a child drowned in the river years ago...that there was a plague of robins when she first returned...

In clear, dark, resonant language, Toni Morrison brilliantly evokes not only a bond between two lives, but the harsh, loveless, ultimately mad world in which that bond is destroyed, the world of the Bottom and its people, through forty years, up to the time of their bewildered realization that even more than they feared Sula, their pariah, they needed her.Amazon.com Review
In Sula, Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prizefor literature, tells the story of two women--friends since childhood,separated in young adulthood, and reunited as grown women. Nel Wrightgrows up to become a wife and mother, happy to remain in her hometownof Medallion, Ohio. Sula Peace leaves Medallion to experience college,men, and life in the big city, an exceptional choice for a black womanto make in the late 1920s.

As girls, Nel and Sula are the best of friends, only children who findin each other a kindred spirit to share in each girl's loneliness andimagination. When they meet again as adults, it's clear that Nel haschosen a life of acceptance and accommodation, while Sula must fightto defend her seemingly unconventional choices and beliefs. Butregardless of the physical and emotional distance that threatens thisextraordinary friendship, the bond between the women remainsunbreakable: "Her old friend had come home.... Sula, whose past shehad lived through and with whom the present was a constant sharing ofperceptions. Talking to Sula had always been a conversation withherself."

Lyrical and gripping, Sula is an honest look at the power offriendship amid a backdrop of family, love, race, and the humancondition. --Gisele Toueg ... Read more

Customer Reviews (134)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
My reading of Morrison has been sadly limited, nothing sustained since Beloved in high school. Picking this work up, I didn't find it nearly as intense or impressive as Beloved, but it's an impressive novel that reemphasizes Morrison as an Author to Be Known, and made me resolve to read her other books. The work covers the kind of inter-generational type change that can exist in a single lifetime, of moving on and growing up, then coming back to the people you knew before. There's a lot of effective stuff around Sula herself and the way she's received, and Morrison does some very deft work with showing how deep ostracism can work, while still keeping the outer line of civility. Often this type of story--woman comes back to town, is judged inappropriate and shunned--seems to go to one extreme or another. Either the prejudice against her is ultimately that of misunderstanding, not hatred, despite all the barbs, or it's so extreme people are literally spitting at her at every moment. Think of the Scarlet Latter for the latter trope. Here, Morrison paints a very convincing picture of how a community can be quite outerly polite, seemingly accepting, and even view the woman as a necessary part of the institution--while also quite fully hating her and making her miserable, because her behavior is too heterodox for them to tolerate. It's that kind of ambiguity that is so awkward to deal with, and at the same time makes the town understandably human even in their worst.

The characterization is very deep, very effective. Morrison is also quite effective at the socio-economics of race in a section of the United States (here Ohio), presenting a sort of lived portrayal of how pervasive exploitation and discrimination operates. Even post-Emancipation and even--by inference--post Civil Rights, the novel is set earlier but the underlying forces that hedge in the town of Bottom aren't simply going to go away, and in many cases haven't. That Morrison renders this effectively is one of her accomplishments, the greater one is that she's able to bring such humanity and complex empathy to the situation, showing people as deserving even when they're rendered in unglamorous situations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable Characters
Sula, like any book, can be discussed in in terms of allegory.No doubt this book is rich in symbolisms.However, the most striking feature for me is the rich characters.The book is full of people who are unforgetable and real to the point that it is simply a pleasure reading about them going about their daily lives, talking, cooking, fighting, and making love.This is one of the books that makes you feel alive.

1-0 out of 5 stars Terrible
I had to force myself to continue reading this book. It was depressing and jumpy. I did not enjoy it at all and would not recommend this book to anyway.

2-0 out of 5 stars Peace and (W)right--Two things you won't find in Sula
*Major spoilers ahead. You have been warned.*

If you are a Morrison syncophant, you will probably love this novel. Normally I am a fairly open-minded person, but I couldn't stomach the narrator's palliative, dismissive stance towards the cruelties that Eva and Sula visited on their "loved" ones. There is no way to justify Eva's murder of her son for drug addiction (if we all practiced this method, the US population would be much smaller). The narrative also seemed to glorify Sula when she deserved nothing of the sort. Just because she is intelligent, spunky, and sexually appealing, does that mean she should be excused for sleeping with her best friend's husband? I understand Sula's point that Jude ultimately chose to go with her and not return to Nel, but Sula seems to believe that she is entirely innocent. The narrator failed to convince me that Sula deserved much sympathy when she died. My give a d@mn was busted by then, after watching Sula alienate her friends.Is it it any shock that she died alone?

One other problem I had with this book is the vulgarity in Morrison's writing. The sex and cursing didn't bother me because they helped flesh out the characters, but her description of people's excretory issues were gratuituous and did nothing to add to the story. They had no purpose other than to shock and disgust the reader.

Don't get me wrong, I generally like Morrison's writing style, but just because her named is printed on the front cover, that isn't sufficient proof of the book's aesthetic value. I found this book to be utterly repulsive and with no redeeming message of hope. But then again, maybe that was the point.

4-0 out of 5 stars "As willing to feel pain as to give pain, to feel pleasure as to give pleasure, hers was an experimental life."
Written in 1973, Toni Morrison's second novel explores themes of life, love, sex, and death, contrasting Sula Peace and Nel Wright, best friends from childhood who grow up to lead totally different adult lives. Living in the Bottom, an ironically named, poverty-stricken black community in the hills of Medallion, Ohio, Sula and Nel, opposites in personality, share their thoughts, feelings, and secrets, some of them of life-and-death importance. Part of a family with a long history of violence, Sula believes she owes nothing to anyone except herself, while Nel's strict mother imposes limits and insists on her adherence to social values.

Though Sula eventually escapes the Bottom in the 1920s to attend college and travel from Georgia to California, Michigan to Louisiana, she always does what is expedient, having no real values or ambitions, other than her own pleasure. When Sula returns to the Bottom in 1937, the stable Nel is a wife and mother trying to keep her family fed and clothed, a woman who no longer has anything in common with Sula, though she becomes Sula's innocent victim. Morrison develops Sula's character through her dysfunctional relationships and selfish actions, showing her connections to her family's past but never blaming it for her later abhorrent behavior.

The novel is a series of cycles and follows a circular structure, opening in 1965, as whites decide they want the Bottom land for golf courses and hilltop views and the blacks who have always lived there move to the valley with its more fertile land. The cyclical nature of life is also borne out in the lives of the characters, especially that of Sula, who escapes Bottom but returns inevitably to the community of her mother and grandmother. Racial segregation, accepted as a given, underlies all facets of the novel, but Morrison focuses on character here, avoiding polemics and creating a novel which manages to be tough but often darkly humorous, emotionally sensitive but often brutal, compassionate but realistic about human nature.

Rich with imagery and symbolism, the novel is also accessible and involving. Morrison creates characters with whom the reader identifies, even in Sula, who is a less than sympathetic protagonist; Shadrack, the shell-shocked war veteran who opens and closes the novel, wrings the heart even as he lives a life of absurdity. Filled with irony, intricate in structure, and well-developed in its themes, Sula is less complex than some of Morrison's later novels, but satisfying in its vividly drawn view of a struggling black community unified in its poverty.Mary Whipple

Song of Solomon (Oprah's Book Club)
Toni Morrison's Fiction: Contemporary Criticism (Critical Studies on Black Life and Culture, V. 30.)
Jazz in Black and White: Race, Culture, and Identity in the Jazz Community With Toni Morrison (Literary Conversations Series)

... Read more

10. Tar Baby
by Toni Morrison
Paperback: 320 Pages (2004-06-08)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400033446
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Ravishingly beautiful and emotionally incendiary, Tar Baby is Toni Morrison’s reinvention of the love story. Jadine Childs is a black fashion model with a white patron, a white boyfriend, and a coat made out of ninety perfect sealskins. Son is a black fugitive who embodies everything she loathes and desires. As Morrison follows their affair, which plays out from the Caribbean to Manhattan and the deep South, she charts all the nuances of obligation and betrayal between blacks and whites, masters and servants, and men and women. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (57)

5-0 out of 5 stars An island microcosm of our continental society
It's been nearly thirty years since I first read Toni Morrison's 1981 novel, and while I had remembered the basic story, I had forgotten how wickedly and bitterly funny much of it is. The author has conjured up a chessboard hosting one of the more dysfunctional extended families in the history of fiction. On the white squares are Valerian Street, a wealthy, retired businessman; his former beauty-queen wife, Margaret, and their never-present son; on the black squares are two domestic servants and their light-skinned niece Jadine, whose schooling had been financed by the white couple. It almost goes without saying that everything ends up in a stalemate.

Actually, it's probably more accurate to say that the book begins with the characters in stalemate. Their equilibrium is shattered, however, when an escaped convict, a seemingly gentle-mannered, uneducated black man with a murky past, jumps ship at the opening of the novel and hides away on the family's island estate. His entry into their lives unveils the raw ugliness all the characters, both black and white, had managed to suppress--and Morrison proceeds to expose and then skewer the stereotypes and sentiments all of them had believed themselves immune to.

On the one hand, there are both Margaret's reaction upon discovering the fugitive (in a closet, no less, like some primitive ghoul in a child's nightmare) and her husband's attitude toward the locals who work his grounds and who, to him, are interchangeable. (Here Morrison is surely evoking similar Caribbean scenes depicted in Jean Rhys's "Wide Sargasso Sea.") On the other hand, there is Jadine's partly spiteful, partly erotized reaction to this alarming, uninvited presence; he challenges her own cynical views of the fashionista crowd in which she had always been comfortable: "She needed only to be stunning, and to convince them she was not as smart as they were. Say the obvious, ask stupid questions, laugh with abandon, look interested, and light up at any display of humanity if they showed it."

In short, Morrison has created an island microcosm of our own continental society, with its fragile race and sexual relations and its class conflicts, with the petty materialism and mindless subservience required by those (mostly white) at the top of the social strata from those (of all races and colors) at the bottom. "Tar Baby" is a brutally perceptive satire with characters governed and repelled by their own fears and desires and with consequences both comic and tragic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Craft Mastery
Toni Morrison is my favorite writer, so any comments I make are highly biased. Toni is a master of her craft, period. I suggest readers pay close attention to the first 75 pages of this work and see how seamlessly she puts each character to bed.

1-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate trial of patience
I dare you to make it through the first 100 pages of this book without wanting to put it down. Such was the trial for me when I read this....arggg...jussttt.. a little more...its going to get better just give it time...too late I quit. The prose are needlessly dense and are in need of heavy editing. Friends that have finished it tell me it gets better near the end....but is the torment really worth it? NO!!!. Ive warned you...this one is a snoozer!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars "No man should live without absorbing the sins of his kind, the foul air of his innocence."
Toni Morrison's fourth novel, published in 1981, between Song of Solomon (1997) and her Pulitzer Prize-winning Beloved (1987), experiments with some of the techniques and themes which make the latter novel such a powerful achievement.Set, unusually, on Isle des Chevaliers, a Caribbean island owned by a white man who made his money manufacturing candy, the novel uses the small population who live and work at his house as a microcosm which illustrates themes of racial identity and culture. Valerian Street, now retired, lives at his island estate with his wife Margaret, a former beauty queen from Maine who hates the isolated island and can hardly wait to return to her "real" home in Philadelphia.

Two house servants, Sydney and Ondine, who have traveled from Philadelphia with the Streets, are also anxious to return to their more comfortable surroundings in Philadelphia.Their niece Jadine, a Sorbonne-educated fashion model who is visiting the island from Paris, straddles black and white culture.Valerian Street has paid for her education, and she stays in a guest room at the house, not in the quarters occupied by Sydney and Ondine.Jadine's decision about whether to marry her white boyfriend in Paris becomes significantly more difficult when Son, a black renegade from Florida, is discovered hiding in their house after jumping ship.

The passionate affair between Jadine and Son complicates the island's domestic life and leads to the intense development of the racial themes.Valerian insists that Son sit for Christmas dinner with the family, since his own son does not arrive for the holiday.Margaret is frightened by Son's flagrant sexuality.Sydney and Ondine find him uneducated and "uncultured," at least by their standards.Other blacks with whom Sydney and Ondine must deal in their day to day life take the blame for some of Son's actions, and Valerian is often cruel in his "discipline."The conflicts between black and white, between blacks living in a white world and blacks living in a black world, and the economic dominance of whites who live among blacks take center stage.Jadine traverses both worlds, but she finds that she is bored when she is in an all-black community of people uneducated in the white world, whereas Son finds that he, from rural Florida, cannot relate to blacks who live in New York City.

Morrison's style takes on tones of magic realism, as ghosts of the chevaliers, for whom the island is named, and spirits known as "swamp women" all participate in the action.Her shifting points of view, the overlapping narrative, and swirling, sometimes impressionistic, action all presage the style of Beloved.Symbols, especially of the tar baby, emphasize the themes, with much of the story being told through (occasionally tedious) dialogue.The conclusion is enigmatic, as Morrison leave the reader to decide whether important decisions made by various characters are the "right" ones and whether they indicate triumph or failure in this powerful story of racial identity.nMary Whipple

The Bluest Eye (Oprah's Book Club)
A Mercy

4-0 out of 5 stars Five things about Tar Baby
1. Toni Morrison is brilliant at describing ghosts and the haunting of the past, intricate race relations, and the passions and pathologies that develop among people.

2. In Tarbaby, a white Philadelphia couple moves to a tiny Caribbean island with their black servants. The servants' niece, to whom the Philadelphia couple act as patrons, is a beautiful young woman who works as a model in Paris but comes to the Caribbean during Christmas to regroup and decide where to go next. A mysterious stow-away, a black man from the American South, crashes their Christmas party and incites the spilling of secrets, forever altering relationships between people, including his own with the Parisan model.

3. Their love affair occupies the second part of the novel, one which takes us to New York and to rural Florida. There, they are haunted by ghosts or by the lack thereof.

4. Morrison traffics in metaphors, universes of them, so that you as a reader must decipher the personal metaphors and cosmogonies of each character as the novel unfolds. In Tar Baby, the most beautiful one is of smell - the stowaway wishes to press his smell, and his dreams, of baking pie and small town America, into the subconscious of the model, who luxuriates in furs and jewels, before her heady perfume of "white" success presses into him. This metaphor works beautifully on the level of a cultural and capitalist imperialism, the subtle persuasion of material dreams that encourage people around the world to slowly abandon "old" ways for the new. But I find that she aligns this too easily with race, and works much better as a metaphor about the misguided expectations within a relationship.

5. The hypnotic switching of voices and unidentifiable pronouns somehow reflects the lull of equitorial heat, and the speed of the city also reflects in her episodic narrative of New York. Morrison's writing style is always lush and gorgeous, even if her central metaphors don't always click the whole way through. ... Read more

11. Big Box
by Toni Morrison
Hardcover: 48 Pages (1999-09-10)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$38.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001HYMEW
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Because they do not abide by the rules written by the adults around them, three children are judged unable to handle their freedom and forced to live in a box with three locks on the door.Amazon.com Review
If Pulitzer Prize-winning Nobel laureate Toni Morrison and her sonSlade hope to reach children with their rhyming message of personal freedomand individuality, they may have missed the mark. But if even a few excessivelycontrolling grownups learn to "let children be children," this big,colorful picture book might serve its purpose after all. Patty, Mickey, andLiza Sue live in a big brown box (locked from the inside) with all theamenities a modern child dreams of: TV, Barbie, pizza, Spice GirlsT-shirts, beanbag chairs, and Pepsi. All this, but no liberty. They've beenplaced in this box because the adults in their lives believe "those kidscan't handle their freedom." They have too much fun in school, sing whenthey should be studying, feed honey to the bees, and play handball wherethey shouldn't. Parents, neighbors, and teachers are uncomfortable withthese irrepressible children, and hope to control them with strictboundaries. Meanwhile, the younger-yet-wiser children just want the freedomto become themselves: "Even sparrows scream/ And rabbits hop/ And beaverschew trees when they need 'em./ I don't mean to be rude: I want to benice,/ But I'd like to hang on to my freedom."

Giselle Potter's lovely, childlikepaintings create an atmosphere of naïve bewilderment, as the plaintivechildren wail, over and over, "If freedom is handledjust your way/ Then it's not my freedom or free." Morrison's firstforay into children's literature is a puzzling, thickly ironic book thatasks more questions than it answers. Even as a celebration of theunfettered exuberance of children in the face of societal oppression, alighter touch would have done wonders. (Click to see a sample spread.Text copyright 1999 by Toni Morrison. Illustrations copyright 1999 byGiselle Potter. With permission of Jump at the Sun, Hyperion Books forChildren.) --Emilie Coulter ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Big Box
While I liked this book, I wonder why I first discovered this book the "African-American" section of my public library.This book is not about African-Americans, it's about children and adults of any and all cultures.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lesson well learned
My twins girls (age 5) have me read this book to them every night. We've been reading it for two years now!! At first when I read it I thought to myself how sad it was but each time I read it, it reinforces the importance of allowing our children to be comfortable to feel free.I think of all the boundries that kept me from feeling free as a child and am using this book as a tool for myself (and others) to see the importance of what happens when children are not allowed to express their freedom.Thanks for writing such passionate books.

5-0 out of 5 stars For Kids.. And Adults
Adults will delight in this children's book about individual freedoms and not being afraid to be yourself.Kids will love hearing it over and over.

5-0 out of 5 stars Relative
I read this book out loud at Children's Hospital to my granddaughter who was barely a month old and showed her the illustrations as well and I think I loved it more than she did!I think it is a great learning tool without hitting anyone over the head about individual freedoms. Great childrens' book but a must read for adults, simple, easy to understand.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book for children
My five year old daughter loves the message of individuality and freedom Morrison and her son convey in this beautiful story. Despite magazine reviews that insist this is a book for adults, children will love being told that it is ok to be themselves. I have also read this story to my classroom and the children always ask to hear it again. ... Read more

12. What Moves at the Margin: Selected Nonfiction
by Toni Morrison
Hardcover: 218 Pages (2008-04-01)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 160473017X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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What Moves at the Margin collects three decades of Toni Morrison's writings about her work, her life, literature, and American society. The works included in this volume range from 1971, when Morrison (b. 1931) was a new editor at Random House and a beginning novelist, to 2002 when she was a professor at Princeton University and Nobel Laureate. Even in the early days of her career, in between editing other writers, writing her own novels, and raising two children, she found time to speak out on subjects that mattered to her. From the reviews and essays written for major publications to her moving tributes to other writers to the commanding acceptance speeches for major literary awards, Morrison has consistently engaged as a writer outside the margins of her fiction. These works provide a unique glimpse into Morrison's viewpoint as an observer of the world, the arts, and the changing landscape of American culture.

The first section of the book, "Family and History," includes Morrison's writings about her family, Black women, Black history, and her own works. The second section, "Writers and Writing," offers her assessments of writers she admires and books she reviewed, edited at Random House, or gave a special affirmation to with a foreword or an introduction. The final section, "Politics and Society," includes essays and speeches where Morrison addresses issues in American society and the role of language and literature in the national culture.

Among other pieces, this collection includes a reflection on 9/11, reviews of such seminal books by Black writers as Albert Murray's South to a Very Old Place and Gayl Jones's Corregidora, an essay on teaching moral values in the university, a eulogy for James Baldwin, and Morrison's Nobel lecture. Taken together, What Moves at the Margin documents the response to our time by one of American literature's most thoughtful and eloquent writers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Author Toni Morrison Writing outside the Fiction Box
One of the most frequently uttered phrases in the United States during the month of February, Black History Month, is the United Negro Scholarship Fund's slogan: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." While reading Toni Morrison's powerful nonfiction collection, What Moves at the Margin, I found myself considering the opposite of that slogan: an exceptional mind is a beautiful thing to develop.

That Morrison commands one of the most remarkable creative talents of our era is a celebrated fact. Her journey to iconic literary status began in 1969 with the publication of The Bluest Eye. Each of her novels since then--currently totaling nine, the latest being A Mercy--have consistently won critical acclaim, ultimately culminating in such extraordinary honors as the National Book Circle Critics Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Nobel Prize in Literature.

With an illuminating introduction by Carolyn C. Denard, founder of the Toni Morrison Society, What Moves at the Margin stands as a self-defining commentary on Morrison's overall cultural vision and as a singular extension of her literary output. What Moves at the Margin presents almost thirty works of short nonfiction--written from 1971 to 2002-- to bring us the Toni Morrison who lives, breathes, thinks, and acts outside the fictional boundaries established by her novels. The book is divided into three categories that include: Family and History; Writers and Writing; and Politics and Society. They may be described alternately as personal essays; tributes to fellow warrior authors in the form of eulogies, forewords, and reviews; and cultural criticism that leaves neither a political nor a literary stone unturned.

The African-American tradition of honoring ancestors is well represented in section one. It is particularly interesting, in light of Barack Obama's election to the U.S. presidency, to note the dialogue on race relations between her grandparents in the opening essay: "A Slow Walk of Trees (as Grandmother Would Say), Hopeless (as Grandfather Would Say)." Equally compelling are Morrison's writings about her classic work on African-American history: "Behind the Making of The Black Book" and "Rediscovering Black History." The value of recognizing and claiming one's historical roots is not just academic, she offers, but imperative because "When you kill the ancestor you kill yourself."

The writers to whom Morrison pays tribute in section two stand among the handful of late-Twentieth Century authors whose works expanded the presence and acceptance of African-American literature in the U.S. publishing industry. (It should be noted as well that Morrison herself assisted that process early in her career in her role as an editor for Random House.) They include the great Toni Cade Bambara, whom she describes as "a writer's writer, an editor's writer, a reader's writer." Also present is her moving tribute to Henry Dumas, whose work she describes as "some of the most beautiful, moving, and profound poetry and fiction that I have ever in my life read." It is largely due to Morrison, the poet Eugene Redmond, and Dumas' widow that the world knows anything at all of this brilliant author whose life ended at the age of thirty-three when he was killed by a transit policeman in a New York City subway station.

Her eulogy for James Baldwin, whose collected essays and fiction Morrison edited for The Library of America, is a deeply personal and profound one in which she observes: "Yours was the courage to live life in and from its belly as well as beyond its edges to see and say what it was, to recognize and identify evil but never fear or stand in awe of it."

In the final section, "Politics and Society," Morrison engages contemporary issues with clarity, compassion, and unyielding conviction. "The Dead of September 11" reveal her to have been as stunned as any by the savage events of that history-altering day. Boldly lobbying on behalf of fellow writers in "For a Heroic Writers Movement," the author asserts "competitiveness and grief are the inevitable lot of a writer only when there is no organization or network to which he can turn."

The book concludes with two speeches that demonstrate Morrison's commitment to political and cultural responsibility. The first, "How Can Values Be Taught in the University," was delivered in April 2000 at Princeton University and in it the author delivers some of her most potent social criticism: "If the university does not take seriously and rigorously its role as guardian of wider civic freedoms, as interrogator of more and more complex ethical problems, as servant and preserver of deeper democratic practices, then some other regime or ménage of regimes will do it for us, in spite of us, and without us."Appropriately enough, the very last text is her famous Nobel Lecture in Literature. In the lecture, she uses a parable about a blind old woman challenged by a group of young people to state her concerns for the state of language in the modern world: "Sexist language, racist language, theistic language--all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas."

Morrison long ago identified as one of her primary goals the production of "word-work" grounded in the African-American experience and worthy of inclusion in the greater American literary canon (as represented by books regularly studied on the high school and college levels). To entertain such a noble vision is one thing; to actually achieve it is quite another. In What Moves at the Margin, readers get a good strong sense of the family influences, literary culture, and passionate political dynamics that made Morrison's achievements possible. It also illustrates that by striving so mightily to accomplish specific goals on behalf of one segment of humanity, she went beyond them to create literary wonders capable of enriching the lives of not just her own people, but of all people.

by Aberjhani
author of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File Library of American History)
and The American Poet Who Went Home Again ... Read more

13. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
by Toni Morrison
Paperback: 91 Pages (1993-07-27)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$4.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679745424
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Beloved and Jazz now gives us a learned, stylish, and immensely persuasive work of literary criticism that promises to change the way we read American literature even as it opens a new chapter in the American dialogue on race.

Toni Morrison's brilliant discussions of the "Africanist" presence in the fiction of Poe, Melville, Cather, and Hemingway leads to a dramatic reappraisal of the essential characteristics of our literary tradition. She shows how much the themes of freedom and individualism, manhood and innocence, depended on the existence of a black population that was manifestly unfree--and that came to serve white authors as embodiments of their own fears and desires.

Written with the artistic vision that has earned Toni Morrison a pre-eminent place in modern letters, Playing in the Dark will be avidly read by Morrison admirers as well as by students, critics, and scholars of American literature.

"By going for the American literary jugular...she places her arguments...at the very heart of contemporary public conversation about what it is to be authentically and originally American. [She] boldly...reimagines and remaps the possibility of America."
--Chicago Tribune

"Toni Morrison is the closest thing the country has to a national writer."
The New York Times Book Review ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

2-0 out of 5 stars Propagation of Racism
I was really disappointed with the class I had to get this book for and even more so of this work. While I admire Ms Morrisons' intellectual prowess and to an extent her philosophical colloquialism I am turned off by the pressing nature of the plight of women of color! Give us more credit than that>>>>>> If we do not end the focus and obsession of the past, we are given one life and as Ms Morrison has proved can make it into a beautiful artistic expression of ourselves regardless of race, creed, gender, or anything else.... The book was a disappointment, especially from such an amazing artist!

5-0 out of 5 stars eye opening
Playing in the Dark: whiteness and the Literay Imagination is an eye opneing experience. it allows the reader to understand that those who call themselves Literary scholars, do not understand or see the importance of black,African or African American Literature. It is a dismissal, either intentionally or unintentionally, ofwriting that is, to those who do reviews, foreign.
Playing in the Dark also examines the use of blacks in literay works. it explores how black characters are somewhat a non entity.They are used somewhat as a prop, a filler, though, the story and/or the story line, in many cases could not exist without these characters.
the book explores how the authors do not know how to develop these characters because the authors themselves have a preconceived opinion of blacks, therefore it would be almost impossible for them to understand how to utilize these characters in a way that enriches their story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Morrison is Brilliant
Playing in the Dark raises important questions about white hegemony in our literary traditions.It is extremely well written and will make you look at everything you read in a different light.
Great book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Black characters in American Literature
Short book by Tony Morrison based on her university lectures are three part mediatations on matters of race in americal literature.Morrison explores what is takes to be black.She looks at the literature from two points of view: reader - someone who absorbs what someone else has to say and writer - creator of stories that writes about their observations about the world and has influence over the reader in a manner of perception of truth.In addition to addressing race, she talks about gender too.It is subtly brought to our attention that in today's world it is much harder to be black woman than a black man.Black woman is more vulnerable to the cruelties of the world.Shades of her skin can either include her or exclude her from the black society, while the white society is tenfold more cruel as there is no acceptance of the "colored" folks but onlyhostility.In the literary world that Morrison critiques, black woman is considered an object with no emotion, attachment, dignity, susceptible to sexual trade or exploitation, as there are no consequences to such treatment.In another words, black woman is considered dispensable by the society.Black ordinary man on the other hand, while treated as a second class citizen -- can manage fine in a society for as long as he can draw a distance between himself and the white society.The detachment is assurance to the white society of freedom of "pollution" of any kind: spiritual, sexual and social.Black man who does not realize a need for such detachment can get beat up, whipped or vebrally abused.Unlike women, they end up short of rape.Finally, the political consequences of race is the last part of the book that inevitably blends into meditation on women and their role in the society as nurses, mothers and comforters of sorts.Although the preface to the book is written in 1992, this book gives very interesting insight to the state of the racial tension that is so obvious in the election year where race, gender, class and social standing are fearlessly fighting for power. This book, considered literary criticism is very relevant to our world of today.Morrison wisely teaches us to recognise what black is vs. what others want you to think, thru literary fiction, what black is.

1-0 out of 5 stars Is Toni Morrison for Real?
The reviewer below who said "More Heat Than Light" got it partly right.This book is SO badly written you have to wonder if the author's other works were written by the same person. Not only is it sophomoric, it is gibberish.Had its author been unknown, she would surely have had to pay for the book's publication. Incredibly bad, it may at least serve as a source of hope for struggling writers who believe that only the best works are accepted by publishers. ... Read more

14. Sula
by Toni Morrison
Paperback: 192 Pages (2004-06-08)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$4.02
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Asin: 1400033438
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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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.Amazon.com Review
Toni Morrison's highly acclaimed novel Sula is as gripping on audiotape as it is on paper. The Nobel Prize-winning writer narrates the unabridged version of the book in a rich, soothing voice that mesmerizes listeners with its relaxed and methodical cadence. Sula revolves around the relationship between two little girls growing up in a poor, black neighborhood nestled high in the hilltops. "The Bottom," as the barrio came to be known, is brimming with eccentric residents but sadly deprived of human warmth. (The town actually takes pride in celebrating National Suicide Day.) However, out of this bitter, abrasive environment grows a beautiful friendship between Sula and Nel. Their shared secrets and dreams blossom through childhood, but their special bond suffers after the two separate. Sula leaves the Bottom to conquer the unknown cities of America, while Nel becomes a homebody, settling down as a wife and mother. When Sula returns to her hometown, she feels like a stranger; she repels everyone, even the only true friend she ever knew. Morrison's vocal range evokes an extraordinary atmosphere of survival in a harsh and unforgiving world. (Four cassettes; running time: aprox. four hours) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (103)

3-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful prose, but the message was lost on me
_Sula_ was difficult to read.Not because of any uncomfortable issues or themes that were brought up, nor because the writing was poor or the plot was contrived (or too convoluted.)Rather, I found it difficult because I am at a loss to understand what Morrison wanted to communicate to readers.Set in a small town in Ohio between 1919 and 1965, Morrison relates the story of two African-American women and their experiences growing up and the consequences of the decisions they made: either remaining in "The Bottoms" or leaving town.At the risk of spoiling the story, the "prodigal daughter" returns a pariah, her contributions to the tiny community lost on the residents.

This said, there are remakable insights into this tiny African-American community.In commenting on the inhabitants of the Bottoms, Morrison writes, "What was taken by outsiders to be slackness, slovenliness or even generosity was in fact a full recognition of the legitimacy of forces other than good ones.They did not believe doctors could heal - for them, none ever had done so.They did not believe death was accidental - life might be, but death was deliberate.They did not believe Nature was ever askew - only inconvenient.Plague and drought were "natural" as springtime.If milk could curdle, God knows robins could fall.The purpose of evil was to survive it and they determined (without ever knowing they had made up their minds to do it) to survive floods, white people, tubercliosis, famine and ignorance."The title character, remarking on the small-mindedness of Bottom residents says, "... I don't know what the fuss is all about.I mean, everything in the world loves you.White men love you.They spend so much time worrying about your penis they forget their own. ... And if that ain't love and respect, I don't know what is.And white women?They chase you all to every corner of the earth, feel for you under every bed....Now ain't that love? ... Colored women worry themselves into bad health just tryng to hang on to your cuffs.Even little children - white and black, boys and girls - spend all their childhood eating their hearts out 'cause they think you don't love them.And if that ain't enough, you love yourselves.Nothing in this world loves a black man more than another black man.You hear of solitary white men, but (black men)?Can't stay away from one another a whole day.So.It looks to me like you the envy of the world."

I love Morrison's prose.Her command of language and metaphor is among the foremost of American authors.In fact, its just this delicious language that for me, salvaged the book.A similar story told less lyrically would have earned my scorn and derision.As it stands, then, _Sulla_ is merely average.Certainly not as emotionally powerful as Beloved (Paperback), but every bit as beautifully written.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sula by Toni Morrison
Despite its similarities to Morrison's other novels, Sula is a powerful novel that deals with the themes of good versus evil, family, friendship and racism in a poor community. In Sula, Morrison is able to portray good and evil in a not so "black and white" way. Her complicated friendships and relationships leave the readers questioning who was right and who was wrong. Morrison's ability to develop such vivid and lively characters allows her to develop clear and powerful themes throughout the novel

4-0 out of 5 stars Toni Morrison Fans will Love
This is really touching - but sometimes depressing. If you love Toni Morrison, you will love this book!

4-0 out of 5 stars Keep Reading
It is a bit difficult to get into at the beginning. However, if you keep reading it gets very good, and you will be amazed at the ending. Toni Morrison is a very talented author.

4-0 out of 5 stars a great read
The Bluest Eye is one of my favorite books of all time. Sula is also a great read. The insights about relationships are some of Morrison's best, the prose is clear and beautiful, and some of the events will stick in your brain for a long time. ... Read more

15. Toni Morrison's Paradise (MAXnotes)
by David M. Gracer
Paperback: 118 Pages (1999-07)
list price: US$3.95 -- used & new: US$2.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0878911987
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MAXnotes offer a fresh look at masterpieces ofliterature, presented in a lively and interesting fashion. Written byliterary experts who currently teach the subject, MAXnotes willenhance your understanding and enjoyment of the work. MAXnotes aredesigned to stimulate independent thought about the literary work byraising various issues and thought-provoking ideas andquestions. MAXnotes cover the essentials of what one should know abouteach work, including an overall summary, character lists, anexplanation and discussion of the plot, the work's historical context,illustrations to convey the mood of the work, and a biography of theauthor. Each chapter is individually summarized and analyzed, and hasstudy questions and answers. ... Read more

16. Peeny Butter Fudge
by Toni Morrison, Slade Morrison
Hardcover: 32 Pages (2009-09-15)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$6.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416983325
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Snuggle, snuggle.
Time to rest.
Nana joins us in her nest.

There is no one like Nana in the whole wide world. She is the best. Nana knows how to take an ordinary afternoon and make it extra special! Nap time, story time, and playtime are transformed by fairies, dragons, dancing, and pretending -- and then mixing and fixing yummy, yummy fudge just like Nana and Mommy did not so many years ago....

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and her son Slade tell a story of what really goes on when Nana is left in charge! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
I bought this book because my son loves this illustrator, but I am equally impressed with the sweet story (not surprising given the author!). What a great idea to include a recipe for peanut butter fudge in the back. I haven't made the recipe yet, but I am looking forward to it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Anyone who has ever experienced the love and caring a Nana can give their young grandchildren will fall in love with this story
Mommy was going out for the day and would be back by bedtime.She was waving at her two little girls and a boy, but they were hardly noticing because Nana was there and she was holding their hands.Nana was reading Mom's instructions that were taped to the refrigerator.Lunch, nap time, playground, to snack and then off to bed.Hmmmm, but with Nana there it might just be a little different.Everyone was in the bed snuggling up to Nana when it was time to nap.She sang a "sleepy song" as the cat watched and a breeze blew the bedroom curtain inward.Later they sat on the stairs while Nana read to them.The smiles were on everyone's faces as they imagined the story.

"Looky look, looky look,
we get to get a storybook.
Fairies, dragons everywhere.
Creepy things under the stairs.
Pots of god, a laughing mouse,
a peppermint chimney on a house."

Outside, outside!It was time for a potato sack race and Nana was in front.A pitcher and some cups were set out for when they grew tired and thirsty.Hop, hop, hop!Lunch of course was supposed to be "peas, carrot sticks, fish fingers." Maybe Nana couldn't read, thank goodness, because out came the ham and biscuits.Not a carrot to be seen.After lunch Nana was "sick" and needed lots of tending to.It was so much fun when Nana was there.On and on went the day.They were all dancing, building a puzzle, and making a BIG mess in the kitchen.Oh, oh. . .Mommy was going to be some mad when she showed up because making peeny butter fudge is MESSY!

Anyone who has ever experienced the love and caring a Nana can give their young grandchildren will fall in love with this story.It wasn't long into this story when I broke into a smile.Yes, the story was amusing, yes it was quaint, but it was also one that brought back some very fond memories.Anyone who was fortunate enough to have a special Nana who spent time with them will adore this story and its vibrant, appealing artwork. Of course grandmothers do have that special way of making their grandchildren happy and breaking a few of Mommy's rules when she isn't looking.If you are a grandparent or have some special grandchildren in your life this book is going to make you break into the BIGGEST grin.I think grandchildren just might like it too! ... Read more

17. Conversations with Toni Morrison (Literary Conversations Series)
Paperback: 312 Pages (1994-04-01)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$5.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0878056920
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is a collection of interviews, beginning in 1974, with Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Morrison describes herself as an African-American writer, and these essays show her to be an artist whose creativity is intimately linked with her African-American experience. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars No one knows Morrison's work like herself
Toni Morrison was clearly ahead of her time -- look at her novels.Her interest in myth, history, a decentered narrator, racialized images of self, and aural language were well ahead of most critics and theorists, whoare only now recognizing the full worth of her work.These collectedinterviews allow us to hear from the horse's mouth what her narrativeproject is.For Morrison fans, it is particularly interesting to see howthe various white interviewers grapple with Morrison's insistence onwriting about the culture she knows best -- black culture -- and notputting whites front and center.It is also interesting to see howMorrison herself switches positions throughout her career, from aninsistence that she writes only for herself (early in her career) towriting for "the [black] tribe" (middle of her career)to writingfor seemingly everybody (later career).A particular treat, for me, werereferences scattered throughout to how "prickly" Morrison can beand how catty she was about not being nominated for a National Book Awardfor SONG OF SOLOMON.

5-0 out of 5 stars Important companion to Playing in the Dark
The interviews in this book illuminate the forces behind Morrison's scholarly theories about the role of race in American literature. Anyone who has read "Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the LiteraryImagination" will immediately recognize key themes in many of theseinterviews, although the strongest distinctions can be found in the lasttwo interviews, each given after publication of "Playing in theDark." Taken chronilogically, the interviews are a thrilllingopportunity to observe how Morrison has evolved as a writer and a scholar.To me, it is clear her novels are a carefully crafted attempt to mirror theracialized signifying she identifies in her scholarly critiques of whitewriter's work. ... Read more

18. Beloved
by Toni Morrison
Paperback: 275 Pages (1987)
-- used & new: US$19.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000IU6B82
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From Publishers WeeklyMixed with the lyric beauty of the writing, the fury in Morrison's (Song of Solomon) latest book is almost palpable. Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this haunting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath traces the life of a young woman, Sethe, who has kept a terrible memory at bay only by shutting down part of her mind. Juxtaposed with searing descriptions of brutality, gradually revealed in flashbacks, are equally harrowing scenes in which fantasy takes flesh, a device Morrison handles with consummate skill. The narrative concerns Sethe's former life as a slave on Sweet Home Farm, her escape with her children to what seems a safe haven and the tragic events that ensue. The death of Sethe's infant daughter Beloved is the incident on which the plot hinges, and it is obvious to the reader that the sensuous young woman who mysteriously appears one day is Beloved's spirit, come back to claim Sethe's love. Sethe's surviving daughter, Denver, immediately grasps the significance of Beloved's return and so does Paul D.no period, another escapee from Sweet Home; but Sethe herself resists comprehension, and, as a result, a certain loss of tension affects the latter part of the narrative. But this is a small flaw in a novel full of insights, both piercing and tender, with distinctive, memorable characters, flowing prose that conveys speech patterns with musical intensity and a brilliantly conceived story. As a record of white brutality mitigated by rare acts of decency and compassion, and as a testament to the courageous lives of a tormented people, this novel is a milestone in the chronicling of the black experience in America. It is Morrison writing at the height of her considerable powers, and it should not be missed. BOMC main selection.Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. ... Read more

19. Jazz
by Toni Morrison
Hardcover: 229 Pages (1992-04-30)
-- used & new: US$15.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0701134496
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Set in Harlem in the 1920s, "Jazz" is the story of Joe and Violet and Joe's love for Dorcus, a girl young enough to be his daughter. This is Toni Morrison's first novel since her Pulitzer Prize-winning "Beloved". She has also written "Song of Solomon", "The Bluest Eye" and "Tar Baby". ... Read more

20. Beloved
by Toni Morrison
Audio CD: Pages (2007-03-20)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$14.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0739342274
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding audio 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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Amazing work of fiction made real by the author
Beloved is one of my favorite books of all time. I have read it in print 4 times. When my book club elected to read this and selected me to lead it, I decided to buy it in audible format to get another dimension to my 5th time through it. Toni Morrison reads, and while she is an amazing wordsmith, she isn't really an audio book actress. So, I really understand some people's comments about it being hard to listen to. I sort of agree with you. If you want to read this book (or need to for school) please start with a print copy. While I found the inflections Morrison brings to the characters SHE created, I don't think that the first time through this book should be in audible form. (also, please don't go see the movie...it should never have been made) While these characters are forever etched into my memory and in some ways, my entire being, if this would have been my first time through Beloved, I may not have liked it. To listen to Morrison's voice after hearing my own interpretations of the voices in my head for so many year, it is a great treat for me. If it has been several years since you last read Beloved and you want to rediscover it a new way, I recommend this version completely.

5-0 out of 5 stars Triggering active imagination
See it, smell it, taste it. When you listen to Toni Morrison read this novel you live it, feel it in all it's imagery. Excellent! ... Read more

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