Rating: -

Toni Morrison

If I had to come up with a book by Morrison that I didn't like, it would be Sula. It has the same vivid imagery as her other books, but it's too much. The scenes that she shows of life in a black community after the Civil War are just too awful and gruesome. That is probably part of the point, but in her later books, Morrison seems to be more able to walk the line of shocking the reader while not causing them to switch off their emotional reactions. I think that she does an amazing job of acheiving this balance in Beloved. The events she describes are horrible, but they are presented gradually, as the characters allow themselves to remember them, and rather than having knowledge of the entire situation thrust on you at once, it's unfolded peice by piece. I don't think that this detracts from the strength of the emotional reaction to what happened to these people. But I never got to the point of just wanting to put the book down because I didn't think that I could handle reading it any more. That did happen with Sula. While I can see an argument that the choice to put the book down and ignore the events in it is a luxury that black people didn't and still might not have, the reality is that people can just walk away from books, so an author dealing with issues like those Morrison tackles needs to walk a thin line to try to protect herself from that happening.


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