Home by Toni Morrison

I’ve tried several times, with little success, to read a Toni Morrison book.  While I can appreciate that she is a good writer, I was driven away by the violence in the books I tried.  The prose was difficult to read and I found it hard to motivate myself to return again and again to read about someone’s suffering.

When I saw Home on the library shelf, I picked it up to see what it was about.  I knew it had mixed reviews, but thought it might be worth a shot.  The brevity of the book greatly increased the chances I would be able to finish it.  Yes, I’m shallow like that.

I can’t say the book was an ‘enjoyable’ book.  While the book didn’t have the same brutality I remember from other books of hers that I have tried, it still had plenty of suffering.  Early on in the book I got quite lost as Morrison meandered from character to character, continent to continent and time to time.  It took me a long time to figure out who the characters were and how the book was coming together.

Home is a very powerful book about coming home after traumatic experiences and how they shape you.  There is the basic plot on the sleeve about Frank coming how from the Korean War a broken man and how he has to pull himself together to take care of his medically abused sister.  However, that just outlines the context not the story.  The real story is inside Frank and his sister’s heads.  How their childhood impacted them.  How the war changed Frank.  The journey through the US to find his sister.

Home is a well written book.  I wouldn’t put it among the great books and because of the violence and disturbing elements, I don’t think I would recommend it to others.  I’m glad I read it though and glad I completed one of Morrison’s books.

My next read is definitely going to be much lighter!

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2 thoughts on “Home by Toni Morrison

  1. I had a similar experience when I tried to read ‘Beloved’ and ended up not finishing it. Like you say, it is obvious that Toni Morrison is an excellent writer but the prose was definitely not easy to read. ‘Home’ does sound interesting though so I might try that one day.

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