Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, 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.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, 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.
Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in.Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison's virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl in an America whose love for blonde, blue-eyed children can devastate all others, prays for her eyes to turn blue, so that she will be beautiful, people will notice her, and her world will be different. The story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, the tragic heroine of Toni Morrison's haunting first novel, grew out of her memory of a girlhood friend who wanted blue eyes. Shunned by the town's prosperous black families, as well as its white families, Pecola lives with her alcoholic father and embittered, overworked mother in a shabby two-room storefront that reeks of the hopeless destitution that overwhelms their lives. In awe of her clean well-groomed schoolmates, and certain of her own intense ugliness, Pecola tries to make herself disappear as she wishes fervently, desperately for the blue eyes of a white girl. [This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 11-12 at http://www.corestandards.org.]
Published in conjunction with the PEN American Center, Burn This Book is a powerful collection of essays that explore the meaning of censorship and the power of literature to inform the way we see the world, and ourselves.
Winner of the 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry"The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 may be the most important book of poetry to appear in years."--Publishers Weekly"All poetry readers will want to own this book; almost everything is in it."--Publishers Weekly"If you only read one poetry book in 2012, The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton ought to be it."-NPR"The 'Collected Clifton' is a gift, not just for her fans...but for all of us."--The Washington Post"The love readers feel for Lucille Clifton-both the woman and her poetry-is constant and deeply felt. The lines that surface most frequently in praise of her work and her person are moving declarations of racial pride, courage, steadfastness."-Toni Morrison, from the ForewordThe Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 combines all eleven of Lucille Clifton's published collections with more than fifty previously unpublished poems. The unpublished poems feature early poems from 1965-1969, a collection-in-progress titled the book of days (2008), and a poignant selection of final poems. An insightful foreword by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and comprehensive afterword by noted poet Kevin Young frames Clifton's lifetime body of work, providing the definitive statement about this major America poet's career.On February 13, 2010, the poetry world lost one of its most distinguished members with the passing of Lucille Clifton. In the last year of her life, she was named the first African American woman to receive the $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize honoring a US poet whose "lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition," and was posthumously awarded the Robert Frost Medal for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Society of America."mother-tongue: to man-kind" (from the unpublished the book of days):all that I am asking isthat you see me as somethingmore than a common occurrence,more than a woman in her ordinary skin.
On the occasion of her acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters on the sixth of November, 1996, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison speaks with brevity and passion to the pleasures, the difficulties, the necessities, of the reading/writing life in our time.
Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child--the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment--weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult. <P><P> At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally, Bride's mother herself, Sweetness, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that "what you do to children matters. And they might never forget."<P> A fierce and provocative novel that adds a new dimension to the matchless oeuvre of Toni Morrison.
The new novel from Nobel laureate Toni Morrison.Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the centre: a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish.... Booker, the man Bride loves and loses, whose core of anger was born in the wake of the childhood murder of his beloved brother ... Rain, the mysterious white child, who finds in Bride the only person she can talk to about the abuse she's suffered at the hands of her prostitute mother ... and Sweetness, Bride's mother, who takes a lifetime to understand that "what you do to children matters. And they might never forget."
Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child--the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment--weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult. At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally, Bride's mother herself, Sweetness, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that "what you do to children matters. And they might never forget."A fierce and provocative novel that adds a new dimension to the matchless oeuvre of Toni Morrison.
The latest novel from Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison.An angry and self-loathing veteran of the Korean War, Frank Money finds himself back in racist America after enduring trauma on the front lines that left him with more than just physical scars. His home--and himself in it--may no longer be as he remembers it, but Frank is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from, which he's hated all his life. As Frank revisits the memories from childhood and the war that leave him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he thought he could never possess again. A deeply moving novel about an apparently defeated man finding his manhood--and his home.This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
A Vintage Shorts "Short Story Month" Selection The story of the storm went like this: it was so cold that the neighborhood families burned anything they could to stay warm. The mayor arranged an emergency school bus to get the kids to school. But only the children worried about how the dogs were holding up. "Ice" exhibits the commitment to storytelling and the intersection between fiction and politics that made Toni Cade Bambara one of the most important voices of her generation, and an advocate of recognition for African American women writers. A selection from Deep Sightings and Rescue Missions, a posthumous collection of Bambara's uncollected writings, included here with a loving preface by Toni Morrison--a discussion of her relationship with Bambara and the unprecedented "heart cling" of her fiction. An eBook short.
In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At the funeral, Joe's wife, Violet, attacks the girl's corpse. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.
It is winter, barely three days into 1926, seven years after Armistice; we are in the scintillating City, around Lenox Avenue, "when all the wars are over and there will never be another one . . . At last, at last, everything's ahead. . . Here comes the new. Look out. There goes the sad stuff. The bad stuff. The things nobody-could-help stuff. " But amid the euphoric decisiveness, a tragedy ensues among people who had train-danced into the City, from points south and west, in search of a promise. Joe Trace, door -to-door salesman, erstwhile devoted husband, shoots to death his lover of three months, the impetuous, eighteen year old Dorcas. At the funeral his determined, hard-working wife Violet tries to disfigure the corpse with a knife. In a dazzling act of jazz-like improvisation, moving seamlessly in and out of past, present and future, a mysterious voice weaves this brilliant fiction, at the same time showing how its blues are informed by the brutal exigencies of slavery. Richly combining history, legend and reminiscence, this voice captures as never before the ineffable mood, the complex humanity of black urban life at a moment in our century we assumed we understood. . Jazz is an unprecedented and astonishing invention, a landmark on the American literary landscape - a novel unforgettable and for all time.
Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison's spellbinding new novel is a Faulknerian symphony of passion and hatred, power and perversity, color and class that spans three generations of black women in a fading beach town. In life, Bill Cosey enjoyed the affections of many women, who would do almost anything to gain his favor. In death his hold on them may be even stronger. Wife, daughter, granddaughter, employee, mistress: As Morrison's protagonists stake their furious claim on Cosey's memory and estate, using everything from intrigue to outright violence, she creates a work that is shrewd, funny, erotic, and heartwrenching.
An intense family drama of love and betrayal. Bill Cosey's choice of a second wife sets off a tidal wave of repercussions which still resound fifty years later.
In the late 1600s America, a woman sells her daughter Florens to a Dutch trader, hoping he will be a kinder master than her own. Acts of mercy may have unforeseen consequences. This is Florens's story.
Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature, reads the speech she delivered in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony.
Toni Morrison's Paradise takes place in the tiny farming community of Ruby, Oklahoma, which its residents proudly proclaim "the one all-black town worth the pain." Settled by nine African American clans during the 1940s, the town represents a small miracle of self-reliance and community spirit. Readers might be forgiven, in fact, for assuming that Morrison's title refers to Ruby itself, which even during the 1970s retains an atmosphere of neighborliness and small-town virtue. Yet Paradises are not so easily gained. As we soon discover, Ruby is fissured by ancestral feuds and financial squabbles, not to mention the political ferment of the era, which has managed to pierce the town's pious isolation. In the view of its leading citizens, these troubles call for a scapegoat. And one readily exists: the Convent, an abandoned mansion not far from town--or, more precisely, the four women who occupy it, and whose unattached and unconventional status makes them the perfect targets for patriarchal ire. ("Before those heifers came to town," the men complain, "this was a peaceable kingdom.") One July morning, then, an armed posse sets out from Ruby for a round of ethical cleansing. (Amazon.com review)
Toni Morrison has collected a treasure chest of archival photographs that depict the historical events surrounding school desegregation. These unforgettable images serve as the inspiration for Ms. Morrison's text, a fictional account of the dialogue and emotions of the children who lived during the era of separate but equal schooling. Remember is a unique pictorial and narrative journey that introduces children to a watershed period in American history and its relevance to us today. Remember will be published on the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision ending legal school segregation, handed down on May 17, 1954.
Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family's origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.
Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, a novel of large beauty and power, creates a magical world out of four generations of black life in America, a world we enter on the day of the birth of Macon Dead, Jr. known as Milkman), son of the richest black family in a mid-western town; the day on which the lonely insurance man, Robert Smith, poised in blue silk wings, attempts to fly from a steeple of the hospital, a black Icarus looking homeward. We see Milkman growing up in his father's money-haunted, death-haunted house with his silent sisters and strangely passive mother, beginning to move outward--through his profound love and combat with his friend Guitar... through Guitar's mad and loving commitment to the secret avengers called the Seven Days... through Milkman's exotic, imprisoning affair with his love-blind cousin, Hagar... and through his unconscious apprenticeship to his mystical Aunt Pilate, who saved his life before he was born. And we follow him as he strikes out alone; moving first toward adventure and then--as the unspoken truth about his family and his own buried heritage announces itself--toward an adventurous and crucial embrace of life. This is a novel that expresses, with passion, tenderness, and a magnificence of language, the mysterious primal essence of family bond and conflict, the feelings and experience of all people wanting, and striving, to be alive.
Two girls who grow up to become women. Two friends who become something worse than enemies. In this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison tells the story of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who meet as children in the small town of Medallion, Ohio. Their devotion is fierce enough to withstand bullies and the burden of a dreadful secret. It endures even after Nel has grown up to be a pillar of the black community and Sula has become a pariah. But their friendship ends in an unforgivable betrayal--or does it end? Terrifying, comic, ribald and tragic, Sula is a work that overflows with life.
In clear, dark, resonant language, Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison brilliantly evokes not only a bond between two lives, but the harsh, loveless, ultimately mad world in which that bond is destroyed, the world of the Bottom and its people.
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