Tuesday, 28 July 2015

BOOK CLUB: July 2015

This evening at our book club meeting we discussed Toni Morrison's novel, Home. This short book gave us a lot to talk about - the book, the author and the previous writings of Ms. Morrison.  I have read two other novels by this author, The Bluest Eye and Beloved - one I loved and the other left me confused and uninterested.  I was excited when I chose this from our members' tbr (to be read) list. I have had this need to like Toni Morrison's writing.

I read her novel The Bluest Eye because of Oprah's book club.  Whoever chooses Oprah's book selections and comes up with her talking points is someone I would invite to my fantasy book club meeting (more on this another time).   It is a hard novel to read and has the rawness of Alice Walker's The Color Purple and style of Dorothy Allison's The Bastard Out of Carolina, but one that holds your attention from the first word to the last.  Beloved was on my reading list for a Women's Studies course and I was excited to see I was going to read another  Morrison novel.  While it was well written I found the subject matter a bit difficult to read and the characters did not reach out to me.  It was the subject matter that brought the book down a bit for me but I finished it so that was a positive.


Written by Toni Morrison
2102; 147 Pages
Genre: historical fiction, literary

Rating: ★★1/2 

I was interested in Home as it was set around a Korean War veteran, Frank - a war we never hear much about nor about the effects on veterans - returning home after watching his friends and comrades die leaves him angry, confused and anxious.  As we follow him making his journey home we meet his sister, who gains a job with a doctor that leaves her on death's door, and having Frank come to her rescue.  Morrison explores many themes -racism, violence, post-traumatic stress disorder and eugenics, to name a few -which I was totally interested in but I felt shafted a bit as she did not delve into details.  There was so much I wanted to know and only caught glimpses.  Her writing felt a bit like excerpts from a novel than a short novel.  Unlike Alice Monroe, I found Morrison was not able to pack a lot into a sentence or two.  And, also unlike Hemingway her quick-straight-to-the-point style fell flat.  While I would not read this book again, nor recommend it (and will probably not keep my copy of the ebook) I cannot say, "I wish I never read this piece."  Toni Morrison captured my curiosity and interest in looking up some of the historical points in this book and craving to read more about some of the themes she gave an unsatisfying explanation of in Home. It also has me wondering about her back list of books - Sula, Mercy, Tar Baby and Song of Solomon - and makes me want to like majority of her writing.

As for other members of book club - S. enjoyed the short piece and felt satisfy with what Morrison had written though she can understand the points others' made.  K. who has read a few of Morrison's novels was disappointed with this book as it didn't hold up to her usual standards (and had similar views as mine).  H. felt like something was missing and some parts were not explained well.  Overall, we would all give Morrison another shot.  When asked K. and I recommended The Bluest Eye if you wanted to give Morrison a try.

Have you read Home?  What were your thoughts?
k (My Novelesque Life)

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