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Book Tips - Toni Morrison

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1993 was awarded to Toni Morrison "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality".

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Beloved

It is so emotionally epic, and the prose is that of smooth rhythm.
/x, Armenia
BELOVED connected African-Americans with their African spiritually, history and culture.
/Gayla Bell, United States
A compelling narrative, which blends history and magic in speaking about human values and the relativity of the scale against which these values are measured. A classic.
/Mircea Sorin Rusu, Romania
‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison really is the best novel I've read. At times difficult to read because the events recounted are so grim, it still drew me in and made me care deeply for the characters – Sethe, Denver, Paul D., Beloved, and the others – and the universal human beings they represent. This novel encapsulates the American experience as no other novel, partly because it's about those who are more often omitted or marginalized – African-Americans and women.
/Katherine Johnson, United States
I find something new in it every time I read it. I've read it at least 5 times and taught it to high school students for 3 years.
/Catherine Stoddert, United States
A shocking piece of work. Morrison combined unbelievable straight-forwardness with a poetic flow of words. It was the first book that I, as a foreigner, sincerely enjoyed reading in English. Some parts of "Beloved" could have been songs in their previous lives. I simply wanted to copy and memorize these Beloved words to, later, sing them to whoever I saw in the street.
/Aleksandra, United States
This book is absolutely full of symbolism and depicts the harsh reality of the human psyche within an African-American. Horrific and yet graceful in its wordplay and imagery - a book that makes you think. A lot of my high school peers during class in 2007 often found it boring - but a grim tale of one former slave's life can be extremely intriguing.
/Annathalia Nalapraya, United States
'Beloved' was my first introduction to North American literature, an exchange student at my university said i should read it. i was deeply moved, she managed to write about the effects of slavery so very well, but he way she writes, her style, is what is great, for me. ‘'Paradise', which I've just read, is another amazing account of post-slavery North America, and I never knew the subject matter of this before reading it, the Black towns, and the matter of different shades of Black. I also love how she makes such stark reference to gender politics.
/Carey Ostrer, United Kingdom
The most well written book I have ever read! This book made me think, feel, cry, hope ... it is simply amazing!
/Marie, France
Today in our world many people are unable to grow because they are unable to escape from their past. Toni Morrison teaches that one should not subject one's past to oblivion, but rather, explore it, take from it whatever one needs to take, and move on in life. Morrison personifies this statement through the character of 'Beloved', the incarnated daughter of a woman who cannot overcome her painful past. Toni Morrison's novel, as a whole, leaves the reader emotionally charged, teaching us, that, we need to take any knowledge that we discover from the novel, but we should not let it hunt us. In the words of her last chapter: "this is not a story to pass on." I have become more keen about the remembrances that are hindering me in the present, and thanks to this novel, I learned that one's painful past should not be suppressed, but rather, be used as a form of knowledge that can aid us in the present and the future.
/Victor, United States
I had read all of Ms. Morrison's books before she published 'Beloved'. Each of the earlier books gave me another perspective on life and pain and love and survival and being a woman. 'Beloved' is an emotionally charged novel and the story is haunting. I believe most people responded to Sethe's act, at first, with total shock. But as the story unfolded Morrison never lost the main thread of the book: LOVE. And what we do for love. The different kinds of love. I read the book when it came out and still can recall scenes, passages, events and characters who feel as though they are part of my personal past. I also believe that Toni Morrison's work opened a world of pain and joy, loss and growth, and the ironies that show all cultures have so much in common. She breaks the color barrier every time she speaks in her soft voice and with every book she produces.
/Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum, United States
First, I have to say I have loved many books by some of the others, Doris Lessing, G. García Márquez, Camus, T. Mann for example ... I have read all of Ms Morrison's books, some more than once, but ‘Beloved’ reached me in a way no other book ever has. I enjoy rereading books I love. I have not and most likely never will reread ‘Beloved’. It is so beautifully written and so powerfully painful ... It is a rare complete woman's book. But I don't think I could live through the pain of rereading it. One item that touched me deeply was the crime of keeping the slaves ignorant to the point they didn't know which way was North or South. The poignant beauty of finding the way North by the seasons of the fruit trees - the Indian guide - was awesome. The moss-toothed men who took her baby's milk left me hurt and enraged for days. The names of the men A, B, C, D reminded me of a woman in LA who named her two sons James and Jimmy because she didn't know they were the same name. I would never condemn a woman for trying to save her children from what she had come from, a desperate response to an impossible existence. I was also pleased with the "happy" ending, that those two survivors would be able to find something worth the effort. The book still haunts after many years ... It's the kind of book that must make readers want to be kinder to everyone. A well-deserved Nobel winner. I would give a lot to shake Ms Morrison's hand to thank her for taking the time to sit and write ‘Beloved’. Writing is lonely work.
/Diane Haun, United States
I like the book because it is a fact of life that every one has to live with in any period of their life time and the book tells you should never give up on yourself or your family, and people make mistakes that you would have to learn by yourself.
/Fatashia, United States
I was swinging with its emotions as I read the book.
/Jhansi, India
Because it is both beautiful and painful, and represents an author working at the height of her creative powers. 'Beloved' is an important work for showing how individuals, communities, and nations use art to work through traumatic histories.
/Julie Armstrong, United States
The prose was just wonderful - I've never read anything like it before or since. Too, the story was compelling, the characters were well-drawn and easy to relate to, and the whole book itself serves as a metaphor for the ultimate, valuable lesson it teaches - you must make peace with the past before you can move on.
/Lisa, United States
This book symbolizes weird events that can not be explained and you have to figure out why these events occurred.
/Elizabeth Shine, United States
Morrison stresses the importance of forgiveness. This is very important to promoting peace within communities and in the world.
/Barbara Jacobson, United States
It's a very good novel, it presents kind of a magical atmosphere as well as a very harsh reality that was slavery. It's a supernatural story of love and regret and vengeance. It's very powerful and Mrs. Morrison is excellent at presenting complicated characters and their full psychology (as well as some interesting ambiguities). It's a heartbreaking journey that leaves you appreciating life and love just a little more.
/German Munoz, Mexico
A powerful story of a mother's love for her child to be free from the misery of slavery, which stirs up the social awakening of the plight of slaves. Toni Morrison has made a great contribution in this area.
/Derroy, Singapore
A gripping and horrific look into the life of the slaves and the memories that continually haunt them even after they are freed.
/Kim, Canada

Home

Every word is crafted. The story is painful but you believe her. The plot is tight: a Korean Vet with PTSD returns home to a racist society, an experience as terrible as war.
/Anne Arsenault, United States

Jazz

It was a fitting title as complex and moving as the music that inspired it.
/Casaundra, United States
Because I think it is just such an inspirational book and it is one of my favourites.
/Alison, Australia

Paradise

Paradise is a beautifully written story about the intersection of race and gender in small town America.
/Corey, United States
My favorite Morrison text, it explores the racial problem inherent in twentieth century America without the presence of white people by looking at varying shades of black. Whilst treating this major issue Morrison also unravels the complexities of gender relationships and boundaries. Every time I read this book I discover something new, learn a little bit more and increase my love of not only this book but of literature in general.
/Sarah Pinault, United States

Playing in the Dark

It helps to explain what it means to be black growing up in a white literary society.
/Mary, United States

Song of Solomon

It's an unforgiving look at the ways that family relationships can go wrong; it's direct, ironic, and more masculine than feminine. Comparable to Garcia Marquez's '100 Years of Solitude'
/Jovan D. Abrego, United States
I was spellbound by the rytmn in the language, story plot, and characters.
/Mia Aylward, Sweden
The characters are real. I am amazed at the ability of Toni Morrison to create characters that "feel" familiar and alive. I enjoyed this book so much that I read it twice, several years apart. I am going to read it again since the last time I read it was in 1994. I didn't want the story to end.
/Lynne Morris, United States
Morrison's depiction of a family of African-Americans is the most poignant and affecting novel I have ever read. I have read almost all of Morrison's oeuvres, with only her three latest left. I eagerly anticipate her as yet unreleased novel, 'A Mercy'.
/Timmy Semenza, United States
It is a very gripping tale of a family's journey and discovery of secrets and uniqueness of each other. It is very thought provoking, not what one would call a "beach read."
/J. J., United States
To read such eloquent, incantatory prose is a meaningful, worthwhile, and truly memorable experience.
/Eric Martinez, United States
The characters, unbeknownst to them, are legends in their own time. The narrative is spellbinding. The language lyrical, poignant and razor sharp. The novel is unforgettable.
/Susan Mayers-McKie, United States
he not only gives the story of a boy searching for his true past, but also of an era with insight into the times of then and now.
/Meltem Tugal, United States

Sula

I like her because it is the first black woman had winged Nobel prize for literature in 1993.
/Madi Hairati, France
I recommend this book because it captures the essence of the 1930-40s of Black America through the eyes of a socially affiant female.
/Reynolds, United States

Tar Baby

This novel is the quintessential allegory that single-handedly illuminates the complexity of class, race and gender in the modern day United States. Despite the fact that the novel takes place on a remote island in the Caribbean - Isle de Chevalier - Ms. Morrison some technical things brilliantly around the trickster rabbit/tar-baby folktale. The ending is classical Morrison - unpredictable and open-ended so that the reader is able to solve or come to their own conclusion. "Tar Baby" written in 1981 is Morrison's most contemporary novel about the condition of the "tar-less" modern black female.
/Carrza DuBose, United States

The Bluest Eye

Very moving and said in a poetical way.
/Narmadhakuppuswamy, India
It is both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.
/Ray McCrindle, United Kingdom
The breadth and beauty of the language of Morrison's first novel is enough to make one cry with empathy for all of the people who populate this world. But it's the honesty that she uses to tell this story that made me want to become a writer.
/Zach Preiksa, United States
You made me understand American life and as an emigrant I was able to empathise with many of your characters. From an admirer whose spiritual blue exists within and has been very much inspired by your kindness and special talent.
/Arta D. Lucescu-Boutcher, United States
I could relate to it.
/Sarah Lalit, United States
It was the book that made me love reading.
/Jessy, United States
This novel really looks into the savagery of America against African Americans; especially the youth.
/Zachary Hardy, United States
Because of the truth in her novels.
/Siva, India
This novel is truly a timeless classic. Through powerful diction, symbolism, and numerous themes, Morrison has managed to illuminate the realities of American inequality.
/Svetlana Bagdasarov, United States
Because she presents an essential aspect of American reality - RACISM - with a penetrating analysis.
/Arnab Chatterjee, India
It has good and detailed characters and really is very deep. I think Morrison is an amazing author and has a voice in her writing!
/Jamie, United States
It talks about discrimination. It discusses the problem of discrimination which needs to be addressed. I also love the wish of Pecola for her to escape from her situation.
/Daryll U. Villanueva, Philippines
Rich, painful, beautiful.
/Erika, United States
The novel reveals very subtly the twice marginalised situations of black women with fine narrative techniques.
/Jitendra Deo Dhaka, India
It is written in an innovative style, and the themes in it are able to evoke humane feeling in me and others.
/Dulal Al Monsur, Bangladesh
Because it taught me about what's coming up in my life.
/Petre Singh, Canada
The book strongly portrays the life of the African-American in the United States during the 1940's. Although fiction, Toni combines both elements; the fiction and lamentations to create a deep feeling in the readers' heart. A MUST READ!
/Gerardo Munoz, Cuba
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MLA style: "Book Tips - Visitors Recommend". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 2 Sep 2014. <http://www.nobelprize.org/educational/literature/books/comments.php?id=670&nextid=844&name=Morrison+Toni>

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