Song of Solomon

By Toni Morrison

This classic by Toni Morrison is “stunningly beautiful” — “a novel that will endure” — “exuberantly constructed” — “full of lyrical variety and allusiveness”.

It seems to have a pretty straightforward structure, a “normal novel” on the face of it, but clearly something special even if I can’t easily summarize or encapsulate it.

One review gives a particularly vivid and poetic glimpse at the nuance of Morrison’s writing and what makes this book so powerful:

“She creates a black community strangely unto itself yet never out of touch with the white world…with an ear as sharp as glass she has listened to the music of black talk and uses it as a palette knife to create black lives and to provide some of the best fictional dialogue around today.”

It’s largely a “male narrative”, in contrast to most of her other work; it was written after the death of her father. From the interesting foreword, we learn “flight” is a major theme.

Morrison “audaciously transfigures the coming-of-age story” — this is both one man’s life life journey, and “a fully realized black world.”

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