Read Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison Online

song-of-solomon

Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to theMilkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world....

Title : Song of Solomon
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781400033423
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 337 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Song of Solomon Reviews

  • Rowena
    2018-11-30 20:16

    "He walked there now--strutted is the better word, for he had a high behind and an athlete' stride--thinking of names. Surely, he thought, he and his sister had some ancestor, some lithe young man with onyx skin and legs as straight as cane stalks, who had a name that was real. A name given to him at birth with love and seriousness. A name that was not a joke, nor a disguise, nor a brand name." - Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon There’s so much to say about this book. Someone described it as kaleidoscopic and I think that's a very apt description. It’s probably one of the most complex stories that I’ve read from Morrison; such a rich tapestry of stories, including some magical realism, symbolism, myths, and family history. There are many characters, and each character seems to be so essential, not superfluous at all like in some other books. Everything was obviously carefully thought out and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Toni Morrison.The story is a coming of age story of Macon “Milkman” Dead III., the son of a rich black man in a Midwestern city. I love it when Morrison gives us characters that are deeply flawed , yet manages to show some humanity, or helps us understand to an extent why a person is the way they are. In many cases, it’s family history that results in this, and in this book we eventually see Milkman going on a journey to discover his past. It’s also about the hurt from the past and how that can direct our lives. Macon II watched his father getting killed and getting his land stolen and he becomes a man who is focusing on respectability politics, a cold man who is all about material possessions and has no joy in his life. He’s the only black man with a car in the neighbourhood and he takes his family out every week on a ride, a joyless ride, a ride more out of duty than for anything else:“Others watched the family gliding by with a tiny bit of jealousy and a whole lot of amusement, for Macon’s wide green Packard belied what they thought a car was for. He never went over twenty miles an hour, never gunned his engine, never stayed in first gear for a block or two to give pedestrians a thrill.”Being such a central character, I concentrated mostly on Milkman's story the first time I read this. This time, however, I was more drawn to the female characters. Because I’ve been thinking a lot about emotional work and how women often end up doing that, I focused a lot on that during my reading. We see that in this book when Milkman’s mother, sisters, and lover/cousin constantly prop him up and nurture him. In a sense they are supporting casts to his story and their existence seems to circle around Milkman. You'd think they have no story of their own, especially if you look at them through Milkman's eyes, who doesn’t really acknowledge the work they do; in fact he seems to feel he is being used:“Deep down in that pocket where his heart hid, he felt used. Somehow everybody was using him for something or as something. Working out some scheme of their own on him, making him the subject of their dreams of wealth, or love, or martyrdom. Everything they did seemed to be about him, yet nothing he wanted was part of it.”I found Milkman to be quite infuriating and selfish. The women in general are trapped by cultural and societal mores, as well as good old-fashioned patriarchy which results in a 40 year old woman being too afraid to tell her father that she has a boyfriend. Ruth, Milkman's mother, says about herself, "...because the fact is that I am a small woman. I don't mean little; I mean small and I'm small because I was pressed small." She's also described as "husbanding her own misery, shaping it, making of it an art and a Way." There is so much anguish and lost lives among most of the woman characters.There is an exception to the above, and that is Pilate, who is my favourite Morrison character so far. She is very unconventional, starting with the fact that she was born with no navel: "She was a natural healer, and among quarreling drunks and fighting women she could hold her own, and sometimes mediated a peace that lasted a good bit longer than it should have because it was administered by someone not like them."All in all, a wonderful book that will stay with me for a long time!

  • Barry Pierce
    2018-11-19 17:42

    Almost four whole months into 2015 and I've finally read my first four-star book. You can always trust Toni Morrison to deliver even when you think all hope is lost. I think Song of Solomon is my favourite Morrison novel thus far. This novel just flows with greatness. I feel that I enjoyed this book more than let's say, Beloved, because the time period in which this is set (the 1930s through to the 60s) is an era with which I'm relatively familiar. She references the murder of Emmett Till and the rise of Malcolm X for instance. I felt more of a connect because of the historical time setting. In many ways I found that this novel almost mirrors the early chapters of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, I'm not sure if this was intentional though. I really found this novel to be "unputdownable", more so than the other Morrison novels that I've read. If I were to choose a good starting place for Morrison virgins, I'd choose Song of Solomon. I really enjoyed this one.

  • Dolors
    2018-11-12 17:18

    Have you ever considered the historical heritage and the intrinsic meaning of your name and surname? What is a proper noun if not a word that carries concentrated quintessence to depict oneself? Aren’t people named after parents or grandparents paying homage to their own ancestry somehow?There is something miraculous about the past that the future lacks. All nations, maybe even the whole mankind, have managed to transform thousands and millions of particular fictions created by individual beings into a unique and collective memory, into a shared history, into a coherent past. Contrarily, the future can’t be designed collectively. Its individual fictions are elusive, unfinished, bled dry because like all visions of heaven and hell, they are ethereal. Milkman believes people’s names reflect their own yearnings, failures, wishes, weaknesses and even their worst fears. Names bear witness, names are condensed DNA. But what happens if one’s name is the byproduct of mere randomness or the result of some humiliating mishap like a “white drunkard” mistyping what he hears? Milkman’s “official” name is Macom Dead. Named after his father and grandfather, Macom the third knows he can’t have a future because his surname is Dead. His nickname “Milkman” mirrors disturbing connotations about his mother Ruth and the effects sustained sexual deprivation and marital abuse have on her waning psyche, perverting the significance of Macon’s nickname and leaving the young man even more restless about his true origins. "It’s a wonder anybody knows who anybody is.” A whole generation of people with empty names: Empire States, Railroads Hospital, Guitar Bains, Macom Dead. A dark joke played on a hapless community by a wounded past suppurating with centuries of slavery and steadfast barbarity where everybody is on a quest to give meaning to their hollow identities. Some, like Milkman’s father, the regal Macom Dead the second, think they can recover their robbed pride with riches and status. Others, like Guitar Bains, Milkman’s best friend, are moved by a bloodthirsty and insane vengeance to rebalance justice in a universe ruled with radical fanaticism. They are all groping in the dark, lost in the thick mist of fear and shame, in a world where the living and the dead coexist in the mystical tradition of Afro-American songs.Only those who are not afraid of ghosts, only those who intone healing melodies to suture the scarred past, only those who welcome anonymity with arms wide open possess the clairvoyance to reach beyond the mist and are blessed with the redeeming light of truth. Pilate, Milkman’s aunt and his father’s sister, is a natural shaman who searches no more. Equally shunned yet respected by all, she accepts the encumbrance of existence and pays her respects to her ancestors in taking life as the precious treasure it is, forcing Milkman to ponder about his aimless one.Estranged from his own family and impelled by self-pity, Milkman embarks on a journey to the past that leads him to Southern Virginia following the traces of his great-grandfather. Who is Solomon? Why does Milkman have an urge to fly since he was a kid? Why is he rooted in a past that prevents him from thinking of a future? What is he really afraid of? A chain of prodigious events involving supernatural experiences in a cave full of bones and gold, the communion of a man’s lost soul with Mother Earth and disturbing dreams about disembodied female spirits points selfless love as the hidden path to Milkman’s true identity. With the menacing subplot of a declared racial war pulsating in her arrhythmic phrasing, Morrison creates a joined voice for the oppressed minorities of the Afro-American community that sings with the inherent melody of myths and legends incrusted in their popular tradition. Below Morrison’s unmistakable sumptuous prose, vibrant imagery and the allegoric dimension of her magic realism there is a painful exploration of recurrent themes such as the weight of past, the burden of present and the shifting power between genders in the Southern America of the sixties.Sinking his fingers deep into the mossy soil, cradled by the roots of a Sweetgum Tree and inhaling the movement of the whispering leaves, Milkman listens to the soft tune of a faraway song. “Solomon done fly, Solomon done gone, Solomon cut across the sky, Solomon gone home!” Blinded by the absence of fear and tired of dodging death, Milkman submits to the Song of Solomon and opens his wings to soar the skies with a lightness of being and a confident heart beating with faith for a bright future that will redeem a silenced past.

  • Aubrey
    2018-11-27 21:26

    4.5/5There's something to be said for stories. Beyond all the talk of clichés, the bemoaning of stereotypes, the intricate and obsessive breakdown of the latest wave of hyped-up mass media extravaganza that has managed to aggressively worm its way into the mob conscience. Beyond the deep-seated resignation at puzzle-piece popularity.I don't have anything against the forthright advocates of analysis at all levels of fiction. Far from it. I simply believe that there is a time when one is able to put the microscope back in the drawer and the fine-toothed comb on the top shelf, sit back, and say, Yes. Here is a story.It is a story of oppression, of hatred, of justified rage and passionate fury fighting against discrimination both big and small, both intentional and otherwise. If you come away from this review with one thing, know that large scale oppression, this horrible racism in the "land of the free" depicted in this book has existed, does exist, and will most certainly exist for a long, long while. Slavery. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trayvon Martin. Facts and faces that may be forgotten or even denied, but the ideology that connects them all will always be rooted out by the plain evidence of its existence. Every character has some measure of this rage, and every character is given their say in some fashion, fashions that often clash and bite and break the others around them. If the road to hell is paved with Good Intentions, the road to hell on earth is a yellow bricked road bounded on both sides by long sparkling walls of Indifference. Indifference is neither black nor white, neither good nor evil, and each of the characters illustrate this innate resistance to quick and easy pigeon-holing. At first you will love them, or you will hate them, and then the tables will switch, and you will be left with the unsatisfying satisfaction of reading about human beings. Unsatisfied satisfaction. Feeling that one is straddling two worlds due to the color of one's skin, when in reality just stuck in one really fucked up one that makes progress a constant battle. Us versus them. The only guarantee is that a single step out of line will explode into violence.What can you do with this? What is a human being expected to do with this horrible paradox that is real life?This story poses the question to a boy-child who reaches and then passes the age of thirty in a safe, contained bubble, his head filled with safe, contained problems. He has no awareness of the context of his life, the family that surrounds him, the history that follows him, the society that defines him. He has long forgotten his dreams of flying.We've all forgotten our dreams of flying, you say.Perhaps, I say. Would you like to be reminded?

  • brian
    2018-11-28 19:20

    my second toni morrison. and, again... wow. song of solomon. kind of impossible to do an all-encompassing book report, so this: while reading i returned again and again to the recent genocide in the former yugoslavia. to the first time rape had been charged as a war crime; to rape as a means of ethnic cleansing. now think about this: to cast such shame on the women who were raped and the men who were powerless to act so as to prevent continuation of the family. to leave behind a legacy of tragedy and brutality so deep it'd trump the biological and natural imperative. to introduce a new member into the family, a product of rape, a child with the blood of a rapist, of the enemy, running through his/her veins. now imagine a common and relatively benign scene in which a young black girl in 19th century america is lawfully taken from her family and sold off. the girl’s family is destroyed: the heartbreak, the powerlessness and impotence, after much self-hatred, is inevitably directed outwards -- at one’s family, at god, at country, at society, at life itself. but let’s focus on the girl: imagine a girl in our time ripped from her parents and placed in a hostile environment. whatever pop-psych scenario one tosses out, it ain’t too good. but back then? as a familyless commodity to be worked and fucked and discarded and sold at one’s whim? and now imagine her children. and theirs. and theirs. although morrison never explicitly describes the aforementioned lineage, the characters in song of solomon (set in the early 1960s) are the descendants of any one of a number of girls such as the one described above. which doesn’t mean that morrison simply reduces a person to a walking manifestation of his/her people’s history. but a person is undeniably shaped by this, as is the very family that shapes the individual. and this is where morrison’s interest lies, this is what she more ably and tragically depicts than any other novelist. oh. and yeah. i almost laugh to myself that one of my chief complaints is that morrison is almost too much of a good storyteller... at times the accumulation of tales and backstories and myths and explanations that zig-zag about are almost a bit too much. but, shit. ruth and her father’s corpse? the 'seven days' (OMFG! THE SEVEN DAYS!)?, the origins of milkman’s name? jake’s flight over the cotton fields? goddamn, woman. space it out. really. you’re making everyone else look bad.okay. on to #3. jazz.

  • Jen
    2018-12-10 17:25

    One of my absolute favorites, partly for the following:"You can't own a human being. You can't lose what you don't own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don't, do you? And neither does he. You're turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? he can't value you more than you value yourself."

  • Jeffrey
    2018-11-11 19:29

    Toni Morrison is perhaps the most important writer living today and Song of Solomon is perhaps the best novel of the last 50 years of American life. Despite the high standing of both novel and author, there are many that chide both for delving too far into the world of African American mythology. The book, according to a reviewer on this very website, bitterly states that Song of Solomon is more fable than novel. Attempting to paint the novel as fable undercuts its central mission: to highlight the important role of mythology in linking African Americans to their past by creating narratives for those that were lost during slavery, Jim Crow, and black peril. The novel is not fable, but the recreation and reconnection of Milkman, symbolic of his own community, reconnecting with a lost past. The gaffe by the reviewers is understandable, however, as mythology has lost credibility due to the ferocious rise of science.Morrison, quite rightly, attempts to delve into mythology to try to answer pertient questions about Black history. Much of the mythology in Song of Solomon revolves around flight. For hundreds of years, there has been a belief among the Black community that people of color could fly; that is was one their gifts. While for residents of the scientific age people flying seems trite, for Morrison and other people of color the ability to fly seems only natural. The difference in the thought processes is derived from educational differences. European education has tended to focus on empirical science while African education has tended to focus on familial values and cultural learning. African education seeks to reunite the learner with the etymology of self while European education seeks some broad sort of social literacy engulfed in intimately knowing "other." The language of Song of Solomon might not be accessible to all readers who fail to understand its broader context, which is perfectly understandable. indeed, even Milkman, the story's protagonist, doesn't understand the language of his community for the first half of the book. It is only when he begins to seek out, understand, and embrace the mythology of his race and the roots planted by previous generations that he is able to connect, for the first time, with his community and experience that sort of bond that mythology can bring. This connection with the past and the necessity of finding one's own story is as important a theme as one could imagine, especially in an era where sameness, conformity, and the idea of the ethnic "mutt" have won some sort of cultural acceptance. It is that theme--one of a resurrected connection with the past--that makes Morrison's novel of the utmost importance. We must all connect back to our mythology and begin to understand the language of previous generations in order to benefit ourselves.

  • Zanna
    2018-11-23 19:36

    Milkman's father, the man with the weird name and mysterious past, teaches his son to 'own things'. His sister is 'wild', she inhabits the opposite pole. Ownership does not occur to her. When a kind woman brings her cherry jam on white bread, she weeps because the fruit she loves for the taste of sun and earth exploding, the feel of stalk and stone and bark-scraped knees, has lost these elements that forge the relationships between self and world and being that have nothing to do with property, lines of nourishment and communication. Lost those routes to ecstasy, and been, in a way, poisoned by sugar, the white addiction for which women and men were kidnapped and shipped across the Atlantic to cut cane in stolen fields. Own things! But Milkman has always had pleasant things for his use, unlike his friend Guitar, who longs for them. Instead of such things, he yearns for freedom of movement; for cars and trains and boats to carry him away, and for power over people. Both of them know they can seek these ends through money. Their desire burns so brightly they forget to be just, to be kind.In Toni Morrison's books pain is powerful and histories bend hearts. What grows must grow from poisoned soil, reaching for healing in the sun if it can. She peels back skin to show us the potentialities lurking in the root. What will flower out of this? What will fruit? Like slow saplings or sudden briars the shoots of her stories unwind, organic, uncontrollable, smelling of the earth, rank and sweet. I love this as a story of love both destructive and creative and for its mood and structure, cyclic and fluid rather than linear and climactic. I noticed that action initiated by men is often diffused by women, and when this does not happen there is a dangerous escalation of physical or emotional violence, though this is a severe simplification. The atmosphere reminded me very much of Katharine Mansfield's stories.This tale is sometimes like a mystery, signed with foreshadowings, flavoured with interludes of anguished self-reflection, male psyches working their half-conscious preoccupations, changing in the unexpected light of their encounters. That Milkman's materialist quest leads him to its spiritual pretext is a fabular gift; how often is someone lucky enough to find what they need when they pursue what they want? Can I allow myself to believe that this doesn't only happen in tales?Mystery, fable, and also ghost story, for here the dead speak. Morrison tells us in the foreword that it was inspired by her own dead father's unexpectedly active presence in her life. She invites us to hear our dead, and work to fathom their words, however strange.

  • Ken Moten
    2018-11-22 23:43

    Retrospective for a Flying Man: My first reading of Toni Morrison was nothing short of amazing, this book does so much, so well, so easily. We learn about three to four generations of one family and, in-fact, one culture. I won't be beating around the bush in this review. Though Macon "Milkman" Dead III was the default protagonist, he was also my least favorite character. The natural woman/superwoman Pilate was my second favorite character because she knew how to navigate time and space in her own way. The Dead family as a whole seems like an interesting archetype or counterpoint of The Sutpen family of Absalom, Absalom! (down to their sharing the same origins in Virginia--which are also my maternal family origins). This book shows a good example of Faulknerianism played straight and subverted in the hands of a Black writer. To be short: this is a great Black Southern Gothic novel.But that leads to talking about the greatest character of this novel...its author. Morrison took me places that I had not realized I needed to go. Even my animosity to the main character did not hurt this book to me because it did everything so well. The chapters divided the story so well, I can only think of The Brothers Karamazov doing it better. The reason this book has struck me so well is how personal it is to African-American experience. This book alludes to White people and White supremacy, but you will be hard pressed to find a White person in it, much less with even a speaking line (I think a white nurse from the beginning is all we are told in 377 pages). This is the first book I have read in a long time written by Black hands only concerning Black people on their own terms (this is not accidental) and it is refreshing! I can hear the true cadence of how my family talks to one another and the number of cultural references and inside jokes were amazing and I would be amazed if most non-African-Americans can pick it up. This book was written to a specific audience much of the small things in it go unexplained and I was surprised to see it all there. This more than anything will make me have to read Morrison again. I believe the only other Black writer to come close isJames Baldwin in Go Tell It on the Mountain, but even he had to start "explaining" things that he would not have to do for a strictly African-American audience.Names play a pivotal role in this story. Every significant character is given a symbolic name or nickname which is symbolic of how names play a role in African-American life. As is the truth in reality, if you are given a nickname it is rarely for a positive reason. This is taken further in that even the "real" names in this book are acquired in very unusual or strange ways. The one exception I see in this is the character Guitar, whose name is a misnomer from his infancy (though I am increasingly thinking it is a stealth pun/reference to a certain character from The Brothers Karamazov).The locations of this story, particularly in the second half of the novel, are also very special to me as it shows the history of Black people's journey in-country. Though the story's main setting is Michigan, Milkman's "Roots" journey leads him not simply through a different land (the mid-Atlantic and eventually the origin of African- Americans: Virginia), but literally (in the magical realist sense) back in time. He goes back to his father and grandfather's time in Pennsylvania, but more importantly to me is that he went to central Virginia. When he talks about his journey into Virginia it hits me personally because my mother's family is from this land. I can see the landscape and almost the roads and shops of this area and I knew exactly what the climate was. This was another crucial factor in my reading this book—it is about the land of my ancestors as much as it is about the land of Milkman's ancestors.The Southern Gothic nature of the novel is also worth talking about. Morrison is as much a fan of Faulkner as she is critic. This book takes the haunted nature of gothic fiction and manages to put it in an urban, mid-western environment. The city of Mercy, Michigan is as much haunted by slavery and its legacy as Jefferson, Mississippi. The difference is that the stakes are a lot higher and the fallout more severe for the Black inhabitants in Morrison's universe versus the White inhabitants of Faulkner's.To conclude, if you want to read a story about one man's search for his place in the world in the middle of the 20th century, this is your book.P.S. MAGICAL REALISM. Seems I would be fined if I did not mention that somewhere. It was a very well used trope.

  • Amanda
    2018-11-17 17:15

    This is the first 5 star read of the year that wasn't a reread! I'm really surprised and relieved that my first Toni Morrison was a huge success. I had assumed that her books would be too dark for me (and I think some of them might be), but SOS turned out to be just the right book for me. This novel has a parcel of amazingly odd characters who you want to hear more and more about. I would classify this as magical realism because the idea of magic hovers all throughout this text. The main plot of this novel is a search to understand one's heritage, but the joy I found whilst reading this came from the succinct, yet poetical writing style and those unique characters. This makes me consider reading all of her novels in 2018 and so eager to read the two other Morrisons I have on my shelves this year.

  • Rich
    2018-11-17 20:42

    I would like to have given a lower rating because I simply did not enjoy the read, but there is a value to this book that I cannot deny. Powerfully written, and has great cultural insight and thought. But really, I couldn't relate very well -- perhaps that is the point in many cases. I can't explain it much better without spending more time looking at it again than I'd like to, so I'll leave it at this:I felt enlightened. I felt like shit. All without feeling very invested.

  • Cheryl
    2018-11-10 16:40

    **In these brief moments I have of electricity and internet, through this Irma craze, I present my reading thoughts...**“Fly and mercy,” Toni Morrison writes in the foreword of this book. “Both terms are central to the narrative: flight as escape or confrontation; mercy the unspoken wish of the novel’s population.” Flight as a theme was abundantly clear to me at first read: Pilate, the shunned woman without a navel, who uses flight as a means of survival; Macon Dead, her money-conscious brother who uses flight to get richer; Macon Dead Jr., or Milkman, his son, whose flight is a symbol of all things strange and redeeming; Hagar, Pilate’s daughter who flies by night to hunt the man she loves, the one she thinks belongs to her. Wings take one out of unfortunate circumstances. Wings take one to unseen heights. Careful, wings also take one to unforeseen places. Fly little bird, fly away, like Solomon, the slave who set generations free.In true Morrison style, the language is powerful and packs an emotional punch. There were moments of sheer delight while I read some phrases, moments when I stopped to ponder how Toni Morrision strings together words, how she elevates the language of the streets. Her dialogue dazzles and pulls me into the pockets of stories within stories. And there are also moments when the stories grow strangely dark and mythical, when prose takes poetic shape and dialogue shifts into weird, secret spaces, like the dark cave of bones and gold that both eludes and follows Pilate and Milkman. A Morrison book is like none other, this is for sure.You think dark is just one color, but it ain’t. There’re five or six kinds of black. Some silly, some woolly. Some just empty. Some like fingers. And it don’t stay still. It moves and changes from one kind of black to another. Saying something is pitch black is like saying something is green. What kind of green? Green like my bottles? Green like a grasshopper? Green like a cucumber, lettuce, or green like the sky is just before it breaks loose to storm? Well, night black is the same way. May as well be a rainbow.Later, the trajectory of mercy reveals itself in ungainly terms. Is there any mercy for these characters? There are certainly pleas for mercy, cries of help that are ignored for ages, rage which stems from ignored pleas. There are moments when mercy is badly needed to fix things, and yet, she too, takes flight. Mercy, the perished cry. But Mercy has vanished.

  • Bill Khaemba
    2018-12-08 20:20

    For years I have heard Morrison's name float around, all the praises of how she approaches important social issues through a historical lens and I was so excited when I finally got my hands on this book.Following a black middle-class family through a pivotal moment in America history, we zoom in and explore the complex interactions with each other and the community. Through the last born's perspective, the reader uncovers some dark unsettling secrets that have haunted the family for generations and we witness as he comes to terms with the harsh realities of being a young black man in the early 1900s America.“You can't own a human being. You can't lose what you don't own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don't, do you? And neither does he. You're turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can't value you more than you value yourself.”The book was ever so engaging, I can definitely see why Morrison has such a cult following, her approach to stories is a balance between humorous and depth... Her poetic prose brought the characters to life, giving them a voice and a distinct personality, also capturing the small southern town atmosphere and family dynamics. The narrative also felt fresh as we focus on a black middle-class family owning property in that period of history, leading to a thorough discussion about the class difference within the African American community. The awareness of the main character's privileged life shapes him into a more contemplative person adding a genuine feel to his interactions with his family and other members of the community.“If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”   This story was emotional, certain scenes and taboo topics were weaved into the narrative, yes at first I didn't quite understand what was happening as she tends to switch perspectives without alerting the reader but as the story progressed it felt more concrete and insightful. This wasn't just another book that tackles race (yes it talks about it) but it expands the lenses, showcasing the loss of naivety as some of the children cross that threshold of innocence to facing reality and coming to terms with the brutality of the decaying social system, mental illness, how our current choices can impact the coming generation... As I said a refreshing experience. One aspect that bothered me was the portrayal of some of the female characters, it felt a bit outlandish, they came off as these sex hungry beings it that propel the male character's story arc move forward. Yes, some women were strong but I wish they were well developed or grew at the same rate as the male characters.  I have heard that her other books are even better and I can't wait to visit them in the near future but if you are looking for a lyrical complex southern story I highly recommend this one.“Perhaps that's what all human relationships boil down to: Would you save my life? or would you take it?” Thank you for reading

  • Наталия Янева
    2018-12-08 20:22

    Магическото число в литературата (и другаде, но най-вече там) е три. Три вещици, три призрака – на миналата, настоящата и бъдната Коледа, в приказките предупрежденията се пренебрегват първите два пъти, така че третият път е сполучливият (според Проп и неговата „Морфология на приказката“). „Песента на Соломон“ не изменя на тази традиция и в романа структурата на самото общество е разделена на три. От едната страна са чудачките, които разумно стоят далеч от нормалните; от другата са разумните, които налудничаво не искат да разберат пъстрия и богат душевен свят на първите; някъде залутан по средата е Биберона (то с такъв прякор към кого ли можеш да се числиш), който е раздвоен между ялово бъдеще и семейна история с корени на трепетликова гора.Тони Морисън дръзко залага на основен персонаж, на когото (почти) липсват положителни качества. Арогантен, самомнителен, емоционален запъртък, Биберона не е протагонист, с когото читателите биха се идентифицирали. Като дете мечтателен, но съкрушен, когато разбира, че никога няма да може да полети (кой ли няма да се отчае и всичко да му стане все едно като му разбият подобен блян), отхвърлен от почти всички свои връстници и при липса на стабилна опора в семейството, той свиква да разчита единствено на егоизма си. Пътят, който извървява в течение на романа, е наистина дълъг и трънлив, изпълнен с доста въображаеми полети и реални падения. Най-интересен персонаж за мен беше Пилат, лелята на Биберона, даваща измерение на мистичността и библейското в романа. Здраво стъпила на земята негърка, която черпи силата си от простичките неща и семейството си. Напоена с онази особена мъдрост, която притежават някои хора и която не идва от някаква наука, а от живота и увереността, че трябва да го живееш така, както ти искаш, и всичко друго да върви по дяволите. Вярна на името си, Пилат разпва предразсъдъците и убежденията на хората около себе си, кара ги да носят кръста си до собствената си Голгота и да разчитат миналото си, издълбано в задната част на черепа им (Gagulta – „мястото на черепа“, арамейски). „Песента на Соломон“ е приказката за вечното търсене. И за проблемите на негрите, но основно за търсенето. За това кой си, защо си такъв, защо жадуваш нещата, които жадуваш, и защо ти е трудно да намериш мястото си в света. За възможността да полетиш. Тя може би винаги е била някъде там, вътре в теб, но условието е, че трябва ти самият да я откриеш. И да избереш дали да я последваш.

  • Dan
    2018-11-24 16:36

    Toni Morrison is an absolute master of prose rhythms and this book is beautifully written. It reads like great literature and one can see why she's deserving of her nobel prize. But I had a serious problem with this book (which I read over ten years ago so forgive me if my memory of it is vague). The first three quarters of the book are terrific. Written in a realistic style and capturing the modern lives of its characters. The final section of the book suddenly turns into a fable, and the main character, formerly a realistically drawn urban black youth, is now suddenly an African folk hero with almost supernatural abilities, largely having to do with moving through the woods better than white people. I realize that this occurs because he's finally come to respect and value his past (and traced his ancestry back to the first member of his family to be brought to America as a slave) but the transformation is so sudden and abrupt as to feel totally unearned. And, I think Morrison's call to recognize the importance and value of your past, and the empowerment it can provide (particularly for a now-oppressed people who have been taught by the power structure that they are worth less than other cultural groups) is vital and true--so why not demonstrate the real worth of coming to value your past? Why not show how the main character's awakening helps him grow in a realistic way, and makes him better able to navigate his actual, urban life? Instead, he suddenly gets super-powers to help him in the woods, and overnight transforms the way he treats women (why not show a real transformation, where he has to grapple with his own awakening to his misogyny and learn to move past it?). And, why is his journey to understanding his heritage fulfilled with the first slave in his family? Morrison hints that his family has a long and important history in Africa, but apparently that's not worth his exploring.

  • Josh
    2018-11-25 19:29

    I love Toni Morrison, I really do, but this book reads like a standard lemon of a workshop story: every character has both an eccentric name and some striking characteristic. This one has no navel, and this one is supernaturally lucky, and this one jumps off of buildings. And there is none of the assured economy of either Beloved or my personal favorite, Jazz. Here, we have to get every detail about every damned thing until I feel like I'm choking on the stuff of the book.

  • Donna Ho Shing
    2018-12-10 00:28

    Toni Morrison can do no wrong. I love her writing. Reading her work is such an ethereal experience. The words sing to me, they lift me up, transport me to another plane. Her writing is music to my ears. Oh how I loved Solomon's Song. Intoxicating. She tells stories like none other.

  • Momina Masood
    2018-11-24 17:36

    The fathers may soar...And the children may know their names...What a book! What an incredible journey! I cannot possibly review this book; it has me completely speechless! What a pleasure to partake in Milkman's journey, to be introduced to characters like Pilate, and to be reminded that one can fly if only one tries enough! This is my first African American and Morrison novel, and I'm so glad we'll be doing her next semester! Ecstatic and eager to fish out gems from this novel! Only hope the instructor doesn't take the fun away. :\ O Sugarman done fly away...Sugarman done gone...Sugarman cut across the sky...Sugarman gone home...

  • Hend
    2018-11-27 16:43

    الرواية هى من نوعية الروايات التى يطلق عليها اسمMasterpieceملحمة بديعةتدخل عالم من الاغانى والفولكلور والسحر والغموضعالم اسطورى من ميثولوجيا تصنعها تونى موريسونهى وسيلة للحفاظ على وصلة لتاريخ العائلة المنسية. في مجتمع حيث معظم الأجيال السابقة كانوا أميين، والأغاني بدلا من كتب التاريخ تحكي قصة الماضيةتسجل تفاصيل حياة اجداد سابقينوما هو مصير الاسلافتبقيه على الطريق لاكتشاف ذاته الضائعةتبدا الرواية برجل يقفز من فوق السطحالسيد سميثلقد طار رجلى رجلى اجتاز الغيومرجلى عاد الى حيث يقيمفى اليوم التالى ابصر طفل ملون النور بين جدران مستشفى الرحمةاسم غريب لمستشفى لا تسمح للملونين بالدخولكان الطفل مدموغا بجناحى السيد سميث الحريرين الزرقاوين ذلك انه عندما تيقن ان السيد سميث سبقه الى التثبت من ان الطيور والطائرات ةحدهها قادرة على الطيرانعند ذلك فقد الوجود كل معنى بالنسبه لهرمزية الطيرانالقدرة على الطيران هو الاساس الذى اعتمدت عليه الكاتبة فى كتابة هذه الرواية الرائعةهى اساس واقعيتها السحرية الفريدة والمميزةطوال احداث الرواية انت امام رجال يتركون نسائهم ويهربواتحكى قصة الآباء الذين يتخلون عن أطفالهممشاعر مختلطة من الحزن و الخسارة لرحلة الطيران تلكالرجال يحلقونتاركين النساء وراءهموهم الفائزين دائما فى النهايةبينما تتحطم النساء وتشقى بمفردهافى معاناة مزدوجة ليس فقط عبء العبودية والتمييز العتصرىولكن عليها ان تدفع ايضا ضريبة حرية الرجالفى الوقت الذى يتذكر الناس رينا كامراة ضعيفة جنت لانها لم تستطع ان تتماسكواطلقوا اسمها على مكان مظلم كئيب مخيفاعطى سليمان المجد كله واطلقوا اسمه على ذروة جبلية خلابةفالمجتمع يكافىءه على تخليه عن اولاده ويعاقب رينا لعجزها عن رعاية واحد وعشرين طفلاتبقى بيلاطس رمز للصمود والوفاءكانت تستطع ان تطير وتهرب تاركةالكل ورائهاتاريخ عائلة ماكون الموت الذى يتكررالوراثة ليست فى البشرة السوداءولكن فى الطباع و الصفاتوالقدرة على الطيرانما فعله الجد يفعله الحفيدطار الجد تاركا ورائهاحد وعشرون طفلا و زوجةفقدت صوابه"انها سخافات لكن هذا ما يروى لم يرحل عدوا انه طار لقد طار كما العصفور ذات يوم استوى واقفا فى الحقول ركض نحو هضبة عالية حوم مرتين ثم ارتفع فى الهواء استدار ليعود مباشرة من حيث اتى هناك صخرةضخمة ذات راسين فةق الةادى دعيت باسمه كادت المراة ان تموت زوجته يقال انها ناحت طوال ايام وايام وهناك وادى قريب من هنا يسمى وادى ربنا تصدر عنه فى بعض الايام اصواتا غريبة تقلها الرياح يقول الناس انها المراة امراة سليمان تبكى انها تدعى رينا يقولون انها بكت واستمرت فى البكاء حتى فقدت عقلها"وهو ما حدث لحفيدتهاامراة تحب بجنون بكل مافى الكلمة من معنىفى محاولة اخيرة لاستعادة حبيبهاواقتناعا منها، بعد النظر في وجهها في مرآة انه لا يريدها او يحبها لأنها ليست جميلة بما فيه الكفاية بالنسبة له أو مرغوبا فيه ما يكفي بالنسبة له، تذهب إلى متجر منتجات التجميل من أجل إعادة جمالها الزائلتقدم لها الصور والملصقات الدعائية للجمال والأنوثة الكاملة وهو مثال اخر للمادية فهى لم تستكع شراء الجمال بكل المال الذى انفقتهوقد اكملت الامطار اتلاف المستحضرات وتلويث الاثواب الجديدة وتمزيق الجوارب"وقضت عليها الحمىوانعدام الامل الضعيف الباقى"من ذا الذى عذب عزيزتى الصغيرة الرقيقةاحدهم عذب صغيرتى ساجد من عذب عزيزتى الصغيرة الرقيقةاطلبوا الرحمة"لماذا لا يحب شعرى؟انه لا يحب الشعر الذى يشبه شعرىوالبشرة بلون الحامضوالعيون الرمادية الضاربة الى الزرقةلم يحب شعرى ابدا""اتظنين انك مجردة من اى قيمة لا لشىء الا لانه لا يحبك او تظنين لانه غير راغب بك انه على حق طريقته فى الحكم عليك الفكرة التى لديه عنك او تظنين ذلك صوابا اذا تخلى عنك فانت شىء تافه اتظنين انه لك لمجرد رغبتك فى ان تكونى له كلا با اغار الامتلاك كلمة بشعة خاصة اذا استعملت فى مجال الحب لا ينبغى ان يكون الحب على هذه الصورة هل سبق لك ان رايت كيف تعشق الغيوم الجبال تزنرها على شكل دائرة وفى بعض الاحيان تتعذر رؤية الجبال بسبب الغيوم ولكن هل تعرفين اذا ما تسلقت حتى القمة ماذا تشاهدين الراس لا تغطى الغيوم الراس ابدا يخترق الراس الغيوم لانها تدعه يفعل ذلك انها لا تخنقه انها تدع الجبل يحتفظ براسه شامخا طليقا دون ان تحاول ستره او اسره لا تستطيعين امتلاك كائن بشرىهل باستطاعتك فعلا محبة انسان هو لاشىء دونك؟هل هذا هو الشخص الذى تريدينه فعلا انسان يتلاشى ويضمحل ما ان تغادرى الباب؟تضعين حياتك كلها بين يديه حياتك كلها يا صغيرتى واذا كانت رخيصة الى هذا الحد بحيث تقدمينها هدية له اذن فلماذا تريدين ان يجدها اغى ثمنا؟لن يقدرك اكثر ما تقدرين نفسك"الطاووسيظهر الطاووس وهم فى طريقهم للعثور على الذهب تلميح للفشل الذى ينتظرهم وان وجود الذهب هو مجرد وهموهو ابيض فى تلميح الى ان كل ما هو ابيض هو فاسدو مغرورولا يسعى الى شىء سوى الى المالمثل الاب الذى تحول بعد صدمة مقتل ابيه الى نسخة متةحسة من الرجل الابيضالكهفمزيد من الرمزية والغموض وقد يعزى اليه قدرات بيلاطس الخارقة للطبيعة بعد ان اعتكفت فى كهف مع رجل ميتفى اشارة لقصة لعازرالانجيليةوليست قصة الكهف فقط ولكن الاسماء ايضابيلاطس قاتل المسيحسليمان هاجر اواغاركتاب الجغرافيارافق بيلاطس منذ ان كانت طفلةيبقى مذكرا اياها بالاماكن التى زارتها والتقطت احجارا احتفظت بها كتذكارانها تعرف الجغرافيا الامريكية كما تعرف ظهر يديهاأيضا تعرف جغرافيا الطبيعة البشرية، وكيف، ولماذا البشر يتصرفون بالطريقة التي يتصرفون بهاوهو رمز لهجرة العبيد عقب الحرب الاهليةالى الشمال والتى خاضها بطل القصة عكسيا باحثا عن الذهب ومستكشفا تاريخ اسلافهواللغز وراء اسماء عائلتهوالذى هو الكنز الحقيقىالورد الاصطناعيكورنثوس الأولى و لينا يمضيان حياتهما فى صنع الورود الاصطناعية التي لا تجلب الكثير من المال في، والغرض الحقيقي من هذا النشاط هو لتوفير الهاءللفتاتينتمثل الحياة الخانقة للطبقة العليا واضطهاد المرأة فى صورة دمية جميلة لا تقوم باى عمل حقيقى فى الواقعتنقل اكتئاب وملل صاحبتيها بعكس الاشجار الحية التى زرعتها لينا.والتى كانت عزائها الوحيدفى حياة تفتقد الحب والدفء الاسرى فى ظل ابويين يكرهان احجهما الاخر"تريد حياتى لم يقل هذا صارحا انت بحاجة اليها خذها دون ان يمسح دموعه دون ان يتنفس بعمق وحتى دون ان يثنى ركبته قفز رشيقا متوهجا كنجمة هاربة طار نحو غيتار ليس مهما اننن يكون هذا او ذاك هو الذى اسلم الروح فى ذراعى اخيه القاتلتين فقد عرف الان ما يعرف شاليمار او سليمان اذا اسلمنا للريح امكننا ركوبها""النساء السوداوات يرغبن فى مصادرتك بالكامللماذا لا تفهمنى انهن يقصدن لا تحب احدا سواى فى العالمكن رصينا يقصدن لا تذهب الى مكان لست انا فيهتحاول تسلق جبل ايفرست يعقدن لك الحبالتقول انك ترغب فى الغطس الى قعر البحر يخفن لك قارورة الاوكسجينحتى لو حالفك الحظ وكنت عبقريا وعنيد ا وبلغة قمة افرست فان هذا لن يكفى يطلبن كافة انتباهك واهتمامكاذا غامرت مرة يقلن انك فقدت رشدكوانك لا تحبهنلا يدعنك تجازف بحياتك الى من اجلهنما قيمة فرحة رجل عاجز عن اختيار ما يريد الموت من اجله" سيرسيهالخادمة الوفية والام البديلة" هل سمعتنى لقد ماتت مفضلة ذلك على العيش مثلى اذا كانت طريقتى فى العمل وطبيعته تبدوان من القبح تلك الدرجة بحيث اثرت الانتحارعلى القيام بعمل مشابهوتحسب بعدها انى احبهالن اقوم بشوؤن المنزل بعد الان ابدالن ازيح ذرة غبار او الى نفاية مهما صغرتكل ما كان فى العالم اهم ما فلى حياتهم صار غبارا ةنتانة وقعت الثريا تناثرت ارضا على قاعة الرقصالف قطعةارغب فى رؤية كل سىء يندثران اطمئن الى اندثارهقبل ان ياتى احد لاصلاحهيجب ان ترى ما فعلته الكلاب بغرفة نومهاجدرانها لم تكن مغطاه بالورق وانما بالبروكار الحريرى عملن نساء بلجيكيات عللى عمله لمدة ست سنواتلقد احتاج ثلاثون كلبا ا لى يوما كاملا لانتزاعه"بيلاطسلا تخاف الموت غالبا ما تتحدث مع الامواتلم يحدث ان قدم ضيف الا قدمت ايه ما يؤكل قبل ان ينطق باى كلمة"اردت معرفة المزيد من البشر لكنت احببتهم كلهم لو عرفت المزيد لاحببت المزيد"" عندما تتوقع مولودا علينا اطعامه ما يحتاجه والا فانه ياتى الى هذا العالم متعطشا لما حرم منه"

  • Vani
    2018-12-06 21:25

    Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon is an interesting read in magical realism. Through its protagonist, Macon Dead III aka Milkman, and three generations of the Dead family (I know that's a strange name to have), the reader is introduced to the life of African-Americans and how centuries of racism, oppression and subjugation has affected the psyche of these people. Milkman is on a quest to find hidden gold when he accidentally stumbles upon his family's past. It not only helps him understand his people, but his own self and where he came from which is fairly redemptive. It is through him and the people he meets on this journey that the reader is introduced to the key motivations, aspirations, yearnings and disappointments of these people. Whether it be Milkman’s friend, Guitar, who is bent on avenging the horrors committed on the black community, or Circe the slave midwife who hates her white employers so much as to let their house crumble after their death. Whether it is Ruth, who after being continually ignored by her husband finds solace on the grave of her dead father, or Pilate whose restful spirit stands in stark contrast to every other person in the novel. Whether it is Hagar who would much rather die than live a life without her man, or Milkman's father Macon Dead II who values property and gold above all else. Morrison writes with panache and her writing has many many many layers. For me, being an Indian and all that, it is difficult to understand everything, but I did the best I could. For instance there is something about the names in this novel. Morrison does mention how whites in the US used to give strange names to blacks. So, there is Guitar, Corinthians, Magdalene called Lena, Circe, Hagar, Pilate, Railroad Tommy, Hospital Tommy and many others. The society that Morrison describes is strikingly patriarchal and nothing of what it is today, or that's what I imagine. An interesting read overall. This is the first of her novels that I read and I can't say I understood everything, but then I do wish to come back to it again. Till then, I give it a four star and recommend it to all my friends who like reading in this particular genre.

  • Katie
    2018-11-14 19:39

    I have read a couple of Toni Morrison's other novels, but this is the by far the best I have read. This is a stunning tale of self-discovery that follows the lives of a black family living in Michigan. The majority of the narrative revolves around Milkman, the first black child born at Mercy Hospital, and the son of a prominant and wealthy businessman. To escape the town and threat of death by the hand of his scorned lover and cousin, Hagar, he goes on a quest for treasure. He may not find what he is looking for, but he discovers something much more valuable. Morrison's approach is magical and passionate, and her prose is detailed, riveting, and powerful. This is a thought provoking masterpiece and a must read for all audiences.

  • Gorfo
    2018-12-02 19:41

    The fathers may soarAnd the children may know their namesWhen I learned that school would be forcing me to read Song of Solomon I whined and groaned and cursed the name of Toni Morrison to the high heavens. I had already entered the strange and mysteriously poetic world of Toni Morrison to no avail, and I didn't believe that this book would be any better. However, I was WRONG, and now that I have finished the novel I find myself forced to bite my tongue and retract all previous negative statements. InSong of Solomon , Morrison weaves a tale of magical realism in which all characters are connected. It is a book in which every move is premeditated and everything happens for a reason. It is a book so jammed with symbolism that the birds on the wire have meaning, and the song that children sing on playgrounds have meaning, and the day a person dies on has meaning. As I read my mind was continually blown out of the water. The revelations, and slow build-ups and heart stopping moments of action where all too much for me. Love and hate were all so closely connected that often the lines blurred and a characters motives could change on the turn of a heel. I can't exactly do a plot summary of this book because such a book cannot be summarized. Spark Notes has tried and failed. Friends have tried and failed. I doubt even Morrison herself could summarize such a twisted plot line. You simply have to read it for yourself and let the story of Milkman, Pilot, Macon Dead, and Macon Dead the Grandfather, and Circe and Reba, and Hagar and Guitar and so many others unfold. "O Sugarman don't leave me hereCotton balls to choke meO Sugarman don't leave me hereBuckra's arms to yoke me. . . .Sugarman done fly awaySugarman done goneSugarman cut across the skySugarman gone home."

  • Simbarashe
    2018-12-09 23:38

    A great book. One of a kind. A time it seems strange, how it's jumping to different time and in and out of people's thought. But asI read on I began to see and appreciate the style of writing.

  • Kirstine
    2018-12-09 00:39

    I'd just finished reading this and was sitting in my bed, pondering the story, when I picked up my phone and opened twitter. First thing I saw was the name Till, which seemed so familiar until I realized I'd read it in the book I'd just finished.First I thought it was a bizarre coincidence that twitter would be talking about another murdered black boy with the name Till, but it's the same one from 1955. Turns out the woman, who told the court that Emmett Till had verbally and physically threatened her, had lied. Till died, was brutally beaten, shot, tortured and murdered, for this lie. That I should've just read a book that included the murder, on the day that it was revealed he'd been innocent (what we already knew, but now it's confirmed), seems to me extraordinary. And pure coincidence. ... And yet. It's not for nothing Morrison included this. And it's not for nothing she includes it in a narrative of history, violence and race. Even though it's written twenty years later and she could've just made something up. She didn't. Because this was a murder that changed something in America, and it changes something in the narrative too. Because fiction doesn't exist in a vacuum. Morrison is very, very well aware of this. Song of Solomon is the story of Macon Dead or Milkman, who, quite without knowing it, suffocates under the history of his parents and his family. His personality, his life and his future suffocates, because it never has a chance to bloom outside the shadow of the past. It's Milkman's journey towards realization; knowing that what he's been told won't be enough, he's gotta go out there and discover for himself. Real, true knowledge has to be earned, it has to be fought for and won. Milkman knows a lot, and has realized very little. This is true for many of us. We act cruelly, or pathetically, we act in sympathy, apathy or empathy, because we don't know better. To know better we have to go out there and do things, see things and think about them, and act on them consciously. Knowing too little of history breeds hate and prejudice, while the full history gives clarity and insight. But you also have to decide which narrative to believe, which world to place yourself in; one of fighting and giving or one of taking and staying passive? It's also the story of lineage, and of coming to know who you are from where and who you come from. It isn't until Milkman unwittingly finds himself in the footsteps of Solomon, that he realizes who he is - or at least who he has been, and who he might yet still become.It's too full a narrative to put into words. Morrison draws intricate circles around you, with her words, her characters, her story, her setting and subtle designs. The story she tells, as I first clumsily wanted to point out, reaches into the past and the present and binds the two together. Doesn't matter if it's forty years since it was published. It's still relevant. Still poignant, still very much alive.

  • Bruce
    2018-12-05 00:45

    Morrison’s novel gripped me. Not only is it written creatively and eloquently in terms of language, it is also compelling in terms of plot and, underlying that, sociology. The picture provided into particular black history and culture is riveting. Morrison’s technique of using current family and family dynamics to unearth and explore background issues both historical and psychological is effective, and the narrative unrolls in ways unexpected yet persuasive. Having just read Faulkner’s Light in August, I find it impossible not to compare and contrast the two novels in regard to perspective and the Southern racial experience. Faulkner, as might be expected, is less likely to examine the black experience from “inside” than is Morrison, but both are sensitive to racial experiences and dynamics and their consequences.In this novel, the story primarily of the youngest Macon Dead (“Milkman”), the narrative covers thirty years of time in the mid-20th century, beginning in a small town near Detroit and moving south into Virginia. It is Milkman’s search for family roots and, ultimately, for his own identity. His has been a dysfunctional family – a cliché, and what family isn’t? – with parents estranged from each other, each of whom overly confides in him; with estrangement from close relatives; with the hint of hidden wealth that he cannot seem to find; with racial murders that insist on being avenged; and with his complicity in all this mostly out of drifting passivity and comfortable dependency. Only in the book’s second half does he show the initiative to act alone, relying on himself, making a journey south in geography and back in time to find explanations and, in fact, finding himself, growing into a maturity long delayed. That maturity is achieved by a radical stripping away of assumptions, possessions, and accumulated identities on which he had come to rely, a process in large part of self-acceptance. Into this profound narrative, Morrison weaves the central themes of cultural mythology, flight, kinship, naming, and the quest for personal identity all into a fabric rich and unforgettable.There are many ways to evaluate the excellence of a piece of literature, and many have merit. Modern criticism, especially within the academy, has validity, even when it fails to touch the common reader. Over a lifetime of reading I have developed three criteria that may seem crude or simplistic but are meaningful for me in assessing a book and in determining whether it is good, worth its having been read. Criterion #1: Does the book haunt me for days after putting it down? Criterion #2: One year later, can I remember lots about it, its characters, its plot, its having touched on enduring themes? And Criterion #3: Has the book somehow changed me? Has it influenced me to view experience differently, to live my life with more awareness and appreciation? I can’t yet speak for this novel’s impact on me one year from now, but I think that it fulfills the first and third criteria, and that’s a good start.

  • Rebecca
    2018-12-09 00:28

    This book takes me back to my college English classes, when I read so many books that were rich in beautiful language but poor in plot and action. There's no doubt that Morrison is a gifted writer, especially when it comes to down-to-earth, authentic dialogue. Her writing is poetic and lyrical without being abstract or fussy -- she describes real things, disgusting things, sadness and passion with an intense energy and verbal power. But the plot of this book didn't grab me. I remember enjoying The Bluest Eye more and feel like that book had more direction and focus. Song of Solomon, on the other hand, didn't move very much, or very fast. I didn't connect with any of the characters in the book, so all of their actions seemed hollow and arbitrary; I didn't feel that familiar emotional tug when good or bad things happened to them. It read to me more like a vignette of black life in 1940s America rather than a full-fledged novel, with all the moving parts and psychological complexity that a novel entails.I always feel a bit guilty and apprehensive when I don't like a major classic as much as other readers do, or as much as I've been led to believe I should, because it makes me wonder if I missed something or wasn't being fair to the book. But I can only honestly report what I felt while reading, which in this case is: lovely language; boring story.

  • Afro Madonna
    2018-11-16 18:16

    HOLY FUCK ! THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE BOOK NOW AND I DO NOT CARE ABOUT ANY OTHER BOOK!!!! Wow . Wow . So many different emotions and I can't even sift through them enough to even emerge coherent . This book is ingenuity in its purest form and I do not think any words of mine could completely encapsulate how perfect it was .Flawless Victory Toni Morrison .

  • Alliyah
    2018-11-27 19:24

    When you finish a book and all you can say is 'wow' because it completely blew you away.

  • Inderjit Sanghera
    2018-11-11 20:34

    ‘Song of Solomon’ is a coalescement of a variety of different literary styles; a pinch of magic realism with a dash of Faulkner, synthesised with African folklore and the Western narrative form, leaves us with a style which is both a synthesis of various influences and wholly original. ‘Song of Solomon’ follows the story of Milkman Dead, an insouciant and at times conceited young man, whose birth coincides with the suicidal attempt of flight by the lachrymose salesman, Mr. Smith, whose attempts to fly are captured in a wonderfully poetic vignette of images;“When the dead doctor’s daughter saw Mr Smith emerge as promptly as he had promise from behind the cupola, his wide blue silk wings curved forward around his chest, she dropped her covered peck basket, spilling red velvet rose petals. The wind blew them up and down and into small mounds of snow”The spectre of Mr. Smith’s suicide subconsciously follows Milkman around for the rest of his life-there is something weird and unconventional about him, something slightly unsettling, a feel which is exacerbated by the eccentricities of his family-from his authoritative and peremptory father Macon, whose sole concern is money and property and his long-suffering wife Ruth, for whom Macon harbours an insatiable malevolence due to the incestuous nature of her relationship with her father or Macon’s messianic sister Pilate and her bellicose grand-daughter Reba, whose love for and desire to possesses Milkman sends her into a murderous frenzy, the grandiose and Biblical undertones of the family story and dynamics underpins their difference to most of the other African-American characters who populate the novel. Monied and well-educated, the interactions between the Dead family and other Black characters symbolises the growing divide between different sectors of African-American society as some groups were becoming closely assimilated within American society, other groups, who lacked their money and therefore status were being pushed further towards the fringes of society, dehumanised not only by the White population but by those from their own community who used their wealth and privilege to parrot the prejudices of the White population. Milkman’s journey to and around Pennsylvania is symbolic of this-he believes that the poor country-folk he meets are in awe of his wealth and status, reducing them to a collection of simplistic clichés and blind to the anger cause by his condescending and arrogant air. Morrison is exploring how the core values of American society-land, power and money, are at the core of the racial divide. There is something Biblical about the story, from the characters, to the themes and prose style it’s mythical and magical undertones and is one of the seminal novel about the African-American experience in American literature.

  • AuntieTerror
    2018-11-10 16:35

    Macon "Milkman" Dead (III.) isn't the most lovable main character one could encounter once he has grown into an adult, to say the least. Most of the other characters around him aren't, either, though, which Milkman feels keenly but never is interested in the why until very late in the book.His only real friend Guitar is the one to get him into contact with his ousted aunt, his father's younger sister, and her daughter and granddaughter. And only there does he first hear about the history of his family before him being born as the son of a well-off property owner. From then on things around him seem to crumble and reveal new aspects of the world around him - some of the secrets confided to the unwilling Milkman are unpleasant and disturbing, and the feeling of being pushed about by others like a tool is what drives him on a wild goose chaise for gold and into the real past of his family, though away from his only friend. It all ends in a climax which leaves the reader speechless.Along the lifeline of Milkman many subjects of Black American history are touched and discussed through various characters: the end of slavery (which didn't stop the discrimination and violence), the rise of a black middle class, the fight for equality in the middle of the twentieth century. And along the traces of his family history, Milkman develops from a self-centered, aimless "crown prince" into a responsible adult able to recognize his own shortcomings.The song of Solomon is weaved into the whole story, and turns up many times without the reader (or the characters) knowing the meaning. In the end, it is the answer to the riddle, though.