Song of Solomon

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Song of Solomon

by Toni Morrison

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | June 8, 2004 | Trade Paperback

Song of Solomon is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 2.
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 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.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 pages, 7.98 × 5.18 × 0.68 in

Published: June 8, 2004

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 140003342X

ISBN - 13: 9781400033423

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Flight While I already read a Morrison novel earlier this summer, I picked up Song of Solomon out of curiosity, and the fact that one of my favourite professors added it to his book list for a course I had taken in the past. After reading The Bluest Eye -- and from hearing other Morrison works being associated with "depressing" narratives -- I was surprised to see that Song of Solomon is far from that: it is brimming with life, magic, wonder, and adventure as protagonist Milkman Dead leaves Michigan to find the history of his people, leading him into the deep South through many twists and turns. A fun novel that takes a while to get going, but once it does it is a page turner. Highly recommend it.
Date published: 2010-07-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Morrison flies high! Toni Morrison exceeds all expectations and breeches every literary law by jumping up and taking flight in her classic, Song of Solomon. Not only does she set the reader up for something she never delivers, she also goes as far as to bring home not the anticipated McDonald’s burger, but caviar for starters, filet de Boeuf aux Champignons for the main course, Petits Moules fantaisies for dessert and a French specialty wine from the year somewhere around 14 B.C. And we are all better off for it. Classic is a term that is seldom lightly used, and rightly so. A story has to firstly make the reader live and breath outside of this present world (whether he/she likes it or not). Then it should allow the reader to think by asking questions that cannot immediately be answered, thirdly it has to impress upon the reader’s mind some form of inspiration, whether it is a sudden grasping or a gradual understanding. And lastly, the story has to enchant, captivate, fascinate and charm the reader into a relaxed state of literary bliss. Without this skeleton of criteria met, a classic can never be born. This is not a story of black people under oppression, this is not a story about discrimination against black people, and neither is this a story judging the ignorance of white people towards black people. In fact, this story’s soul has not got one element of racial turmoil in it. Although it contains all of the above, this is a story about identity; pure and simple, deep and true. Song of Solomon is about the questions “Who am I?” and “Why am I?” and the answering of them. The plot is unique in that it spills and falls over itself, sometimes lumbering like an overfed python, other times racing to a climax like a hyper-active squirrel…but it is effective. You come to a point where all trust is given to our authoress because we’ve accepted that this is not just a story with a rising action, a single climax, and a resolution, this is myth, legend, culture all combined into an artful mourning of who we are as individuals and why we need to know. We start off with beautiful ironic imagery, where the birth of our “hero” is overshadowed by the suicide of one who dreams about flying but cannot. Fiercely red rose petals dangle and flaunt through the wind as a soothing voice unfolds powerfully over a watching crowd that includes a pregnant woman who feels gripping pain as her baby is about to come. This is our first step into Morrison’s world. Curiously she tones down on the poetic settings for the duration of the novel, until we reach the end, probably to maintain a lost atmosphere that never provides hope. The author creates an interesting voice through our protagonist, one which feels distant because she purposely sways his perspective from side to side to make him un-relatable. This is not only acceptable, but appraisable. Milkman does not understand himself, how in the world are we as outsiders suppose to comprehend him? Miss Morrison does not want us to. It is proven in Milkman’s intelligent yet rash way of assessing the situation between his parents: "Even now he could feel the tingle in his shoulder that had signaled the uncontrollable urge to smash his father’s face. On the way upstairs to his room he had felt isolated, but righteous. He was a man who saw another man hit a helpless person. And he had interfered. Wasn’t the history of the world? Isn’t that what men did? Protected the frail and confronted the Kind of mountain? (Pg 75 Para. 1)" Sweeping to a breathtaking finish where Milkman is “born again.” He finally, truly and entirely, becomes who he is. Not like the suicidal man in the opening chapter, but like a man who knows who and what and why he is: "Milkman stopped waving and narrowed his eyes. He could just make out Guitar’s head and shoulders in the dark. “You want my life?” Milkman was not shouting now. “You need it? Here.” Without wiping away the tears, taking a deep breath, or even bending his knees, he leaped. As fleet and bright as a lodestar he wheeled toward Guitar and it did not matter which one of them would give up his ghost in the killing arms of his brother. For now he knew what Shalimar knew: If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it. (Pg 337 Para. 9)" Guitar, which is everything Milkman has rejected – despair, uncertainty, false hope, misguided passion – is the one thing that threatens Milkman’s identity, yet he runs at it. Displaying his will and endurance; all things he decided to have because he could have it. The novel has other quite fine aspects: Pilate’s twisted state of mentality that nevertheless provides comfort, Ruth’s sad state of affairs despite her good spirit, Macon Dead’s erroneous reading and acting out of his father’s passion, Corinthian’s forbidden love with a Seven Days man, Hagar and Milkman’s warped sexual relationship, the list goes on. Miss Morrison’s use of situational humour is excellent and finding bits and pieces of how she
Date published: 2006-06-19

– More About This Product –

Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon

by Toni Morrison

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 pages, 7.98 × 5.18 × 0.68 in

Published: June 8, 2004

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 140003342X

ISBN - 13: 9781400033423

Read from the Book

Chapter 1The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance agent promised to fly from Mercy to the other side of Lake Superior at three o'clock. Two days before the event was to take place he tacked a note on the door of his little yellow house:At 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday the 18th of February, 1931, I will take off from Mercy and fly away on my own wings. Please forgive me. I loved you all.(signed) Robert Smith,Ins. agentMr. Smith didn't draw as big a crowd as Lindbergh had four years earlier--not more than forty or fifty people showed up--because it was already eleven o'clock in the morning, on the very Wednesday he had chosen for his flight, before anybody read the note. At that time of day, during the middle of the week, word-of-mouth news just lumbered along. Children were in school; men were at work; and most of the women were fastening their corsets and getting ready to go see what tails or entrails the butcher might be giving away. Only the unemployed, the self-employed, and the very young were available--deliberately available because they'd heard about it, or accidentally available because they happened to be walking at that exact moment in the shore end of Not Doctor Street, a name the post office did not recognize. Town maps registered the street as Mains Avenue, but the only colored doctor in the city had lived and died on that street, and when he moved there in 1896 his patients took to calling the street, which none of them lived in or near, Doctor Street. Later, when othe
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From the Publisher

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 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.

From the Jacket

“A rich, full novel. . . . It lifts us up [and] impresses itself upon us like a love affair.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Exuberant. . . . An artistic vision that encompasses both a private and national heritage.”

“A rhapsodic work. . . . Intricate and inventive.” —The New Yorker

“Stunningly beautiful. . . . Full of magnificent people. . . . They are still haunting my house. I suspect they will be with me forever.” —Anne Tyler, The Washington Post

“If Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man went underground, Toni Morrison’s Milkman flies.” —John Leonard, The New York Times Book Review

“It places Toni Morrison in the front rank of contemporary American writers. She has written a novel that will endure.” —The Washington Post

“Lovely. . . . A delight, full of lyrical variety and allusiveness. . . . [An] exceptionally diverse novel.” —The Atlantic Monthly

“Morrison is a terrific storyteller. . . . Her writing evokes the joyful richness of life.” —Newsday

“Morrison dazzles. . . . She creates a black community strangely unto itself yet never out of touch with the white world. . . . With an ear as sharp as glass she has listened to the music of black talk and uses it as a palette knife to create black lives and to provide some of the best fictional dialogue around today.” —The Nation

“A marvelous novel, the most moving I have read in ten years of reviewing.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Toni Morrison has created a fanciful world here. . . . She has an impeccable sense of emotional detail. She’s the most sensible lyrical writer around today.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“A fine novel exuberantly constructed. . . . So rich in its use of common speech, so sophisticated in its use of literary traditions and language from the Bible to Faulkner . . . it is also extremely funny.” —The Hudson Review

“Toni Morrison is an extraordinarily good writer. Two pages into anything she writes one feels the power of her language and the emotional authority behind that language. . . . One closes the book warmed through by the richness of its sympathy, and by its breathtaking feel for the nature of sexual sorrow.” —The Village Voice

“Morrison moves easily in and out of the lives and thoughts of her characters, luxuriating in the diversity of circumstances and personality, and revelling in the sound of their voices and of her own, which echoes and elaborates theirs.” —The New Yorker

About the Author

Toni Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1993 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She lives in Rockland County, New York, and Princeton, New Jersey.

Editorial Reviews

“A rich, full novel. . . . It lifts us up [and] impresses itself upon us like a love affair.” —The New York Times Book Review“Exuberant. . . . An artistic vision that encompasses both a private and national heritage.” “A rhapsodic work. . . . Intricate and inventive.” —The New Yorker“Stunningly beautiful. . . . Full of magnificent people. . . . They are still haunting my house. I suspect they will be with me forever.” —Anne Tyler, The Washington Post“If Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man went underground, Toni Morrison’s Milkman flies.” —John Leonard, The New York Times Book Review“It places Toni Morrison in the front rank of contemporary American writers. She has written a novel that will endure.” —The Washington Post“Lovely. . . . A delight, full of lyrical variety and allusiveness. . . . [An] exceptionally diverse novel.” —The Atlantic Monthly“Morrison is a terrific storyteller. . . . Her writing evokes the joyful richness of life.” —Newsday“Morrison dazzles. . . . She creates a black community strangely unto itself yet never out of touch with the white world. . . . With an ear as sharp as glass she has listened to the music of black talk and uses it as a palette knife to create black lives and to provide some of the best fictional dialogue around today.” —The Nation“A marvelous novel, the most moving I have read in ten years of reviewing.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer“Toni Morrison has created a fanciful world here. . . . She has an impeccable sense of emotional detail. She’s the m
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