Wednesday, September 30, 1987

Toni Morrison's Beloved is published

First posted 6/11/2020; updated 7/5/2020.


Toni Morrison

First Publication: September 1987

Category: novel/magic realism

Sales: ?

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

In 1974, Toni Morrison edited The Black Book, “a miscellaneous compilation of black history and culture.” WK Included in the book was a a reproduction of an 1856 newspaper article entitled ‘A Visit to the Slave Mother who Killed Her Child,’ originally published in the American Baptist. WK The story was about Margaret Garner, an African-American who escaped slavery in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a free state, in January 1856. WK

As a result, Morrison crafted a “spellbinding novel” AZ which “transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.” AZ It is a “tour de force of guilt, abandonment and revenge plays out against the background of pre-emancipation American life.” TG

The story’s protagonist, Sethe, “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.” AZ

The book landed Morrison a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988. In 1993, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The book was adapted into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey in 1998 In 2006, The New York Times named it “the best work of American fiction of the past twenty-five years.” LC

Resources and Related Links:

In July 2018, I became the organizer of the Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the Book Club tab here or Meetup for more information. This is our December 2019 book.