Saturday, August 18, 2012

HomeHome by Toni Morrison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmmmmmm. This was a "support Sherman's, local book store" purchase in July. It's pretty short but moves quickly and has some of Morrison's great terse but perfect language in it (she refers to "the unbelievable malignance of strangers" (98), and "country women who loved mean. . . The women handled sickness as though it were an affront, an illegal, invading braggart who needed whipping." (121) . Best of all, Morrison refers to "the period that rich people called the Depression and they called life." (122). ) Overall, however, the voice doesn't quite ring true: every other chapter is an italicized reflection from Frank "Smart" Money, the man character. I am NOT a fan of extended italicized sections in books (skipped most of those sections in Empire Falls, for example!), and these don't seem to add much except an extra layer of terrible things Frank has seen or experienced, and could have been told as straight narrative instead.

There are wonderful parts in Home, and it certainly highlights a story of suffering and endurance and love, but it's an uneven work. Longer? Shorter? More on Cee's story? Who knows. Worth reading, but not Morrison's best.

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