The significance of Toni Morrison is immense in the world of literature as she is one of the American novelists who have won the Nobel Prize. There are many other honors for her novels that include the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Thus, it will be a great loss if the readers out there missed out on her powerful writing that shows the dark side of the racist society.
This list contains the names of the top three books that is a must-read if you have never read Morrison, or are looking to explore more of her work.
This novel carries her gifted writing that made her win the Pulitzer Prize in 1987. This powerful novel, set after the Civil War, is about a ghost named Beloved who haunts her mother, Sethe, as she killed her child rather than let her be taken into captivity as a slave. Much should not be said or written about this book as it is something you should dive into without knowing anything. Her fierce messages are said through a beautiful poetic prose technique that makes this novel a harrowing one.
- The Bluest Eye
The Bluest Eye is the first novel written by author Toni Morrison in the year 1970. So, if you are someone who is just starting out to read her works, this earliest novel is a must read to see her style development. This book is a heartbreaking tale of eleven years old Pecola who wished to have blue eyes like Shirley Temple. She was mistreated by the society because of her skin color. On top, she was sexually abused by her own father as Morrison writes in this book, “(…) there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941. We thought, at the time, that it was because Pecola was having her father’s baby that the marigolds did not grow.”
This book was revolutionary when it hit bookstores in 1970, and it still remains influential as it is taught in many schools and universities. Thus, reading this novel is a must to understand the depth of Morrison’s works.
- Song of Solomon
Right after Beloved, Song of Solomon is probably Morrison’s most celebrated book as it won the National Book Critics Circle award. The protagonist of this novel is Macon “Milkman” Dead III. The whole book is a coming-of-age story where Milkman grows up facing the complications of being born as a black man in America. This includes the complications in his family and the love of an obsessive woman towards him.
Reading the works of Toni Morrison is a privilege because through her fiction we get to know about the dark past of slavery as well as become aware about equality. With her recent demise in August 2019, her books should be read even more so that the essence of her writing is not diminished. Thus, this list will help anyone who is interested to give her fiction a try.