Summary and book reviews of Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved

by Toni Morrison

Beloved by Toni Morrison X
Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2006, 360 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2004, 352 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Beloved is Morrison's undisputed masterpiece. It elegantly captures hers trademark touches: elegant prose, fantastical occurrences, striking characters, and racial tension.

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

1

I24 WAS SPITEFUL. Full of a baby's venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children. For years each put up with the spite in his own way, but by 1873 Sethe and her daughter Denver were its only victims. The grandmother, Baby Suggs, was dead, and the sons, Howard and Buglar, had run away by the time they were thirteen years old--as soon as merely looking in a mirror shattered it (that was the signal for Buglar); as soon as two tiny hand prints appeared in the cake (that was it for Howard). Neither boy waited to see more; another kettleful of chickpeas smoking in a heap on the floor; soda crackers crumbled and strewn in a line next to the doorsill. Nor did they wait for one of the relief periods: the weeks, months even, when nothing was disturbed. No. Each one fled at once--the moment the house committed what was for him the one insult not to be borne or witnessed a second time. Within two months, in the dead of winter, leaving their grandmother, Baby Suggs; Sethe, ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
Brilliant. . . . Resonates from past to present.

Los Angeles Times - John Leonard
A masterwork. . . . Wonderful. . . . I can’t imagine American literature without it.

Newsweek
A masterpiece. . . . Magnificent. . . . Astounding. . . . Overpowering.

Chicago Sun-Times
Toni Morrison’s finest work. . . . [It] sets her apart [and] displays her prodigious talent.

People
A brutally powerful, mesmerizing story. . . . Read it and tremble.

New York Review of Books
Toni Morrison is not just an important contemporary novelist but a major figure in our national literature.

The New Yorker
There is something great in Beloved: a play of human voices, consciously exalted, perversely stressed, yet holding true. It gets you.

The Plain Dealer
Beautifully written. . . . Powerful. . . . Toni Morrison has become one of America’s finest novelists.

The Village Voice
Compelling . . . . Morrison shakes that brilliant kaleidoscope of hers again, and the story of pain, endurance, poetry and power she is born to tell comes right out.

Publishers Weekly
Mixed with the lyric beauty of the writing, the fury in Morrison's . . . book is almost palpable...a haunting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath set in rural Ohio in the wake of the Civil War...brilliantly conceived story . . . should not be missed.''

Library Journal
Powerful is too tame a word to describe Toni Morrison's searing new novel of post-Civil War Ohio...A fascinating, grim, relentless story.

Reader Reviews

Theresa Bradley

A Classic in Any Eye
Though slavery was over long before I was even thought of, the book Beloved by Toni Morrison carried me back to some of the darkest years in world history. Sethe, the main character, escapes slavery and has to deal with the personal trauma in which ...   Read More

Mainali R. K.

Heart Touchability
The renown masterpiece 'BELOVED' by Toni Morison is a heart touching piece of art about blacks and the treatment done by whites. This novel clearly and vividly portrays the miserable condition of Negroes. It also makes the reader aware about the ...   Read More

John

A Disturbing Book with no Literary Merit
This is essentially one of the worst books I've ever read in my entire life. The slavery element has been pounded into a pulp in American history. What about native americans- what about heroes/legends like Davey Crocket that killed thousands of ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Toni Morrison

If you liked Beloved, try these:

  • Conjure Women jacket

    Conjure Women

    by Afia Atakora

    Published 2021

    About this book

    A mother and daughter with a shared talent for healing - and for the conjuring of curses - are at the heart of this dazzling first novel.

  • The Prophets jacket

    The Prophets

    by Robert Jones Jr.

    Published 2021

    About this book

    A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Dutch House
    by Ann Patchett

    The Dutch House is my introduction to Ann Patchett, which, after reading it, surprises me. I had ...

  • Book Jacket: Nights When Nothing Happened
    Nights When Nothing Happened
    by Simon Han
    A quiet atmosphere of dread permeates Simon Han's subdued debut novel Nights When Nothing Happened. ...
  • Book Jacket: Take It Back
    Take It Back
    by Kia Abdullah
    In Kia Abdullah's novel Take It Back, sexual violence advisor Zara Kaleel becomes involved in a case...
  • Book Jacket: Dark, Salt, Clear
    Dark, Salt, Clear
    by Lamorna Ash
    Named after Lamorna Cove in her mother's rural home county of Cornwall (located in southwestern ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
    by Marie Benedict

    The real-life disappearance of Agatha Christie is perhaps her greatest mystery of all.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Fortunate Ones
    by Ed Tarkington

    An engrossing story of class, love, and loyalty for fans of Kevin Wilson's Nothing to See Here.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Waiting for the Night Song
by Julie Carrick Dalton
A startling and timely debut about friendships forged in childhood and ruptured by the high price of secrets.
Win This Book!
Win The House on Vesper Sands

The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O'Donnell

Introducing a detective duo for the ages who unlock the secrets of a startling Victorian mystery.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T T T Light F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.