Beloved (1987) by Toni Morrison


Book of the Month: Beloved (1987) by Toni Morrison Critical Assessment “Thanks to this narrative method and Ms. Morrison's magisterial yet sensuous prose, ''Beloved'' possesses the heightened power and resonance of myth - its characters, like those in opera or Greek drama, seem larger than life and their actions, too, tend to strike us as enactments of ancient rituals and passions. To describe ''Beloved'' only in these terms, however, is to diminish its immediacy, for the novel also remains precisely grounded in an American reality -the reality of black history as experienced in the wake of the Civil War. [...]

Beloved (1987) by Toni Morrison2019-11-05T14:39:11-05:00

Exit West (2017) by Mohsin Hamid


Critical Assessment “To open out his novel, Hamid intercuts the story of Nadia and Saeed with short, strobe-lit glimpses of other people’s stories around the world in a fashion that recalls a technique David Mitchell has employed in novels like “Ghostwritten.” It’s a technique that underscores the simultaneity of time and experience in our globalized world, reminding us of both the amazing similarities and vast differences among countries and individuals across an increasingly interconnected planet. "By mixing the real and the surreal, and using old fairy-tale magic, Hamid has created a fictional universe that captures the global perils percolating beneath today’s [...]

Exit West (2017) by Mohsin Hamid2017-10-01T09:00:48-04:00

We Need New Names (2013) by NoViolet Bulawayo


Critical Assessment "Using her gift for pictorial language, Ms. Bulawayo gives us snapshots of Zimbabwe that have the indelible color and intensity of a folk art painting: ‘men huddled like sheep and playing draughts under the lone jacaranda,’ the blooming purple flowers almost make them ‘look beautiful in the shade without their shirts on,’ sitting there, ‘crouched forward like tigers’; the women doing their best to look pretty, wearing ‘a bangle made from rusty, twisted wire,’ a ‘flower tucked behind an ear,’ ‘earrings made from colorful seeds,’ ‘bright patches of cloth sewn onto a skirt.’ "There is desperation here, however. As [...]

We Need New Names (2013) by NoViolet Bulawayo2017-02-01T09:00:26-05:00

The Underground Railroad (2016) by Colson Whitehead


Critical Assessment "In his dynamic new novel, Colson Whitehead takes the Underground Railroad—the loosely interlocking network of black and white activists who helped slaves escape to freedom in the decades before the Civil War—and turns it from a metaphor into an actual train that ferries fugitives northward. "The result is a potent, almost hallucinatory novel that leaves the reader with a devastating understanding of the terrible human costs of slavery. It possesses the chilling, matter-of-fact power of the slave narratives collected by the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s, with echoes of Toni Morrison’s 'Beloved,' Victor Hugo’s 'Les Misérables' and Ralph Ellison’s [...]

The Underground Railroad (2016) by Colson Whitehead2016-11-01T10:23:49-04:00

Home (2012) by Toni Morrison


Critical Assessment “This haunting, slender novel is a kind of tiny Rosetta Stone to Toni Morrison’s entire oeuvre. “Home encapsulates all the themes that have fueled her fiction . . .: the hold that time past exerts over time present, the hazards of love (and its link to leaving and loss), the possibility of redemption and transcendence. . . . “In these pages Ms. Morrison eschews the fierce Faulknerian prose and García Márquez-like flights of surrealism that animated some of her earlier novels, adopting a new, pared-down style that enables her to map the day-to-day lives of her characters with lyrical [...]

Home (2012) by Toni Morrison2013-09-01T12:00:14-04:00
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