Today, Feb. 18 is her birthday, and there is no better way to celebrate her legacy than by diving into her bibliography. If you don’t know where to start, check out these novels.
“It was a fine cry - loud and long - but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles
Like many of Morrison’s stories, Sula is set in Ohio. It follows Sula, the youngest member of the Peace family, living in a black neighborhood called The Bottom. Sula is the rebellious daughter of a promiscuous woman. She is a mysterious woman, carefree in unsettling ways. She defies gender conventions, and instead of marrying and having kids, she leaves town for 10 years. When she returns, Sula carries with her
“She is a friend of my mind. She
Many of Morrison’s novels take place in the long shadow cast by slavery, but Beloved is the one haunted the most by the American tragedy. After escaping from slavery, mother of four Sethe is found by her master and attempts to kill her children so they won’t be captured. She succeeds only in killing the youngest, who has now returned as a ghost in her mother’s home. Using magic realism, Morrison paints a vivid and haunting picture of the psychological impact of slavery, and the infinite ways it can haunt a family.
“When they fall in love with a city, it is for forever and it is like forever.”
Set in Harlem in the 1920s, the title refers to the music so prevalent at the time, but also to the style in which the book is written. Morrison weaves in and out of characters’ lives, crafting meandering prose that is easy to get lost in. Joe, a beauty product salesman, is having an affair with a much younger teenager. When she leaves him, he kills her, and the act creates a complicate narrative between Joe, his wife Violet, and the ghost that haunts them.