Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Reader's Diary #166- Toni Morrison: Beloved (FINISHED)


Despite my initial tirade on this book, it grew on me. I'm not sure I "get it" to its fullest extent, but like a poem, it probably has a few acceptable interpretations and warrants a few additional readings.

It's heavy, yes. Also potentially confusing. And so, it's not a book I'd recommend to just anyone. However, I did enjoy it.

Often, it read like a poem. Or at the very least Morrison had taken risks- and risks like these I usually associate with poets rather than novelists.

In one chapter, Morrison almost completely avoided using any periods. In another chapter she begins seven paragraphs with the sentence/word "But." And there are plenty more literary experiments that could be debated (as to why she used them, if they were effective, and so forth). It's this reason (and that it's enjoyable) that I'm okay with all of the aforementioned accolades and awards.

While far from my favourite book, I'd appreciate covering this book in a high school or university setting. There's a ton of fodder in here to last at least a couple of months discussion if not even an entire semester. It, as I've said above, takes a lot of risks, has amazingly rich characters, sociological overtones, a complex plot, and oozes symbolism.

Speaking of which, I wonder if it was Morrison's intention to do a feminine take on the Holy Trinity. It occurred to me at one point that instead of the "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" she had written about the "Mother, Daughter and Holy(?) Ghost". It's yet another one of those theories that would require a reread. I'm not prepared to do that right away, but I will reshelve it...

2 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You have enough intriguing theories about this book that I am actually considering reading this. Of course that pile of unread books beside my bed would have something to say about that...

John Mutford said...

They're called "Ballycumbers" I believe. And just for the heck of it, I'll name November "Read-a-Ballycumber Month". Pass it on. (btw, I think it's also Novel Writing month or something, but hey, they're all taken.)