Reading Home

On Twitter, I had this exchange:

@ProfClaiborne: “@fallen7627: “They were so beautiful. And they stood like men.”– Toni Morrison (Home, 2012),”/ I love that line! Home is a beautiful novel

And Home is a beautiful novel. As I think about how to describe it, I find it really difficult except to say that this book is magic, it must be magic because even months after reading it I find that I cannot stop thinking about it and I find that I still cannot put into words what this book means to me. I still feel it. In some deep part of me this book lives, the same way that Ralph Ellison’s book stayed with me long after I read the lines, “I am an invisible man.”

To say that I am a fan of Toni Morrison is to put it mildly. I have written and teach classes on Morrison. I have an appreciation of the complexity of Morrison’s novels and I think that her novels have been necessary in the way that we understand what it means to have an African American identity in the 20th and 21st Century.

This book is necessary. I think that people do this novel/novella a disservice in comparing it to other novels by Morrison. She writes in many genres, including plays, children books, and operas.

Home is its own thing–part poem, part historical fiction, part essay on spirituality and family dynamics. Don’t read it as if it supposed to be Song of Solomon, which is an epic novel. Read it as what it is in this time and place. There is so much value in this work that I think can only be seen in reading and re-reading.

Next semester I will teach this work again and I am sure I will love this novel in new and different ways. Offer yourself the same opportunity.


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