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One Crazy Family

April 29, 2009
Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon
Toni Morrison

This is a very strange book. Strange but seductive. Frankly, I really enjoyed the first half of the book and lost interest as soon as Milkman started his quest for his family’s bizarre history. The characters are all amazing, wholly unlike any characters you’ll ever meet. But they are also (with the exception of Pilate Dead) generally unlikable. Even Milkman, who holds the position of the protagonist, rarely acts like one and does not seem to possess any admirable virtues. He is not easily known. After 400 pages of his life story, I didn’t feel like I knew him any better than when I began. 

But Morrison’s writing is rich and beautiful, as it always is. I admire her for rejecting the strictures of writing only Race Novels, or Issue Novels. She just simply writes Real Novels. “Beloved” was far better in my estimation, and I even liked “Sula” better, but this is still worth reading.

READ IF: You want to take a very confusing and peculiar trip through a strange family’s past, and broaden your horizons with Morrison.

Up next: Henry James’s novella, “The Turn of the Screw.” Finally getting around to reading that now.

One Comment leave one →
  1. bmestdagh permalink
    May 23, 2009 9:11 pm

    I completely agree with you about Milkman. I may have known him a little more at the end of the novel, but not much. Strange considering he is the primary narrator, but one of the things I love about Morrison is that she never gives everything away. Pieces scattered here and there for you to pick up and piece together. I always find it a challenge to read her because I know, however hard I try, I will never completely understand any of her characters. But that is half the fun of her writing. I never have to.

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