Monday, May 6, 2013

Home / Toni Morrison

I've just finished Toni Morrison's Home, and still love her writing. I read The Bluest Eye when I was a freshman in college, and the story has stayed with me forever since; I think I'm going to teach it next  year in one of my classes.

I've read reviews saying that Home sustains themes that have run through all of Morrison's writing, but this story, while it crosses space and time as do her other books (flashing back and forth with haunted characters), it feels more linear -- maybe because it's sparer than her other books. (Cohen goes on to say that this is a novella in length.)

From the NY Times review, by Leah Hager Cohen:

"The first four words of Toni Morrison’s new book greet — or assail — us before the story even begins. They’re from the epigraph, which quotes a song cycle written by the author some 20 years ago and therefore, it seems safe to say, not originally intended for this book, but an indication, perhaps, of how long its themes have been haunting her. And “haunting” is a fitting word for the lyric itself, in which a speaker professes to lack both recognition of and accountability for the strange, shadowy, dissembling domicile in which he finds himself. The atmosphere of alienation makes the song’s final line even more uncanny: “Say, tell me, why does its lock fit my key?"

Cohen writes later in the review that some of the character's revelations in Home are too obvious. I don't read those moments as obvious but, instead, declarative.  Not everything in Frank's foggy world can remain so.

I hope to hear her read or talk one day...