Toni Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford in Lorain, Ohio, on February 18, 1931. Her best-known novels include The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, Jazz, Love, and A Mercy, and she has received numerous literary awards and honorary degrees.
Life as a Mother and Random House Editor
Morrison returned to Howard University to teach English in 1957, where she met her husband, Harold Morrison, an architect from Jamaica, and joined a writers’ group on campus after the birth of her first child. In 1964, she moved to Syracuse, New York, with her sons to work in publishing.
‘The Bluest Eye’
The Bluest Eye, Van Morrison’s first novel, was published in 1970 and was a controversial book that did not sell well. Her main character, Pecola Breedlove, was “dismissed, trivialized, misread,” she said in 1994.
‘Song of Solomon’
Morrissey’s Song of Solomon, a lyrical story about Milkman Dead, a Midwestern urban denizen, won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977 and was the first work by an African American to be featured in the Book of the Month club.
Pulitzer for ‘Beloved’
Van Morrison’s novel Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988, and it was adapted into a film starring Oprah Winfrey, Thandie Newton, and Danny Glover.
Van Morrison was the first African American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 for her contributions to literature. In 1994, she founded the Princeton Atelier, a special workshop for writers and performers. Her next novel, Paradise (1998), received mixed reviews.
The Bluest Eye (2000), The Big Box (1999), The Book of Mean People (2002), and Little Cloud and Lady Wind (2010) are among Van Morrison’s novels; she has also dabbled in other genres, writing the play Dreaming Emmett in the mid-1980s.
Love (2003), her next novel, is set in the past and present, and was described as “a gorgeous, stately novel whose mysteries are gradually unearthed” by one reviewer.
Writing a Libretto
Beloved was named the best novel of the past 25 years by The New York Times Book Review in 2006, and she continued to explore new art forms by writing the libretto for an opera. A Mercy is a book that some have construed as a page-turner in its unfolding.
It delves into issues such as race, fear, mass migration, and borders.
She wrote it in the aftermath of the Korean War, and her main character, Frank, is a veteran suffering from PTSD. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2012.
‘God Help the Child’
Morrison published God Help the Child, a layered novella focusing on the experiences of the character Bride, in 2015. She received the Pen/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction in autumn 2016, and the BBC aired the documentary Toni Morrison Remembers in autumn 2016.
What was Toni Morrison’s first book?
Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye (1970), is a rite of passage novel about a victimized adolescent Black girl obsessed with white standards of beauty and yearning for blue eyes.
Was Toni Morrison married?
Morrison spoke with Als about her most recent novel, “God Help the Child,” writing in a modern setting, and her complicated relationship with her father, whom she describes as “racist.” As she grew older, she learned that he had witnessed the lynching of two of his neighbors.
Where should I start reading Toni Morrison?
What is the best place to begin reading Toni Morrison’s books?
- The Bluest Eye (1970)
- Beloved (1987)
- Song of Solomon (1977)
- Tar Baby (1981)
- Jazz (1992)
- God Help the Child (2015)
How old is pecola?
Pecola is the story’s central character, an eleven-year-old black girl who is abused by almost everyone in the novel and eventually suffers two traumatic rapes.
What is the best Toni Morrison book to start with?
Where to Begin with Toni Morrison’s Best Books
- Beloved (1987) Buy on Amazon.
- Song of Solomon (1977) Buy on Amazon.
- Tar Baby (1981) Buy on Amazon.
- Jazz (1992) Buy on Amazon.
- Sula (1973) Buy on Amazon.
- Paradise (1997) Buy on Amazon.
- God Help the Child (2015) Buy on Amazon.
Why does Toni Morrison hate Hamilton?
Toni Morrison is said to have despised Hamilton so much that she helped fund The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda. “I draw attention to what was left out of Hamilton by giving speaking parts to those who were left out of the narrative,” he said.
What is the book The Bluest Eyes about?
Toni Morrison’s debut novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970 and tells the tragic story of Pecola Breedlove, an African American girl from an abusive home, set in Morrison’s hometown of Lorain, Ohio, in 1940u201341.
Where is Toni Morrison now?
Morrison, who was 88 years old, died on August 5, 2019, at Montefiore Medical Center in The Bronx, New York City, from pneumonia complications.
Is beloved hard to read?
It’s a challenging read, not just because of the fragmented narrative and ghostly characters, but also because of the subject matter.
Where did beloved come from?
Sethe, a former slave, has been living with her eighteen-year-old daughter Denver in Cincinnati, Ohio, since 1873, and her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, lived with them until her death eight years earlier.
What is Toni Morrison’s masterpiece?
Sethe, an enslaved Black woman who escapes to Ohio where she and her family are visited by the spirit of her deceased baby, known only as Beloved, is hailed as a literary masterpiece that highlighted the evils of slavery through magical realism in Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
Do you need to read beloved before Jazz?
(A fun tidbit: Jazz is technically a conceptual trilogy with Beloved (#1) and Paradise (#3); you don’t have to read them in orderu2014I read them in 3, 1, 2 orderu2014but who knows, it might give you a sense of closure if you do.)
What should I read after beloved?
Toni Morrison’s BELOVED is one of ten books that are similar to it.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Water Dancer. Edwidge Danticat’s Everything Inside. Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo. Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black. Yangsze Choo’s The Ghost Bride.