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A taut and tortured story about one man's desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war. America's most celebrated novelist, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison extends her profound take on our history with this twentieth-century tale of redemption: a taut and tortured story about one man's desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war. Frank Money is a A taut and tortured story about one man's desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war. America's most celebrated novelist, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison extends her profound take on our history with this twentieth-century tale of redemption: a taut and tortured story about one man's desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war. Frank Money is an angry, self-loathing veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars. His home may seem alien to him, but he is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from and that he's hated all his life. As Frank revisits his memories from childhood and the war that have left him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he had thought he could never possess again. A deeply moving novel about an apparently defeated man finding his manhood - and his home.


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A taut and tortured story about one man's desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war. America's most celebrated novelist, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison extends her profound take on our history with this twentieth-century tale of redemption: a taut and tortured story about one man's desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war. Frank Money is a A taut and tortured story about one man's desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war. America's most celebrated novelist, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison extends her profound take on our history with this twentieth-century tale of redemption: a taut and tortured story about one man's desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war. Frank Money is an angry, self-loathing veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars. His home may seem alien to him, but he is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from and that he's hated all his life. As Frank revisits his memories from childhood and the war that have left him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he had thought he could never possess again. A deeply moving novel about an apparently defeated man finding his manhood - and his home.

30 review for Home Audiobook PACK [Book + 1 CD MP3]

  1. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    Frank is a black Korean War veteran, a year out, suffering PTSD, imprisoned in a mental hospital for actions he cannot remember. He has been engaging in a range of self-destructive behaviors that have led him to this bedraggled state. He had received a letter concerning his sister, “Come fast. She be dead if you tarry,” and must find his way home. There are barriers to be overcome, people who will help, and memories to be relived. One mystery that propels the tale is what happened to cause Frank Frank is a black Korean War veteran, a year out, suffering PTSD, imprisoned in a mental hospital for actions he cannot remember. He has been engaging in a range of self-destructive behaviors that have led him to this bedraggled state. He had received a letter concerning his sister, “Come fast. She be dead if you tarry,” and must find his way home. There are barriers to be overcome, people who will help, and memories to be relived. One mystery that propels the tale is what happened to cause Frank’s demise. Toni Morrison - image from her FB pages Home gives the appearance of simplicity. But, this being Toni Morrison, there is always more, much more. First is that Frank’s journey bears a striking resemblance in some ways to that of Odysseus. He is a soldier returning from war. The mental institution from which he escapes seems reminiscent of a certain classical witch’s lair. He must cope with a grumpy one-eyed man, is drawn briefly to the sound of sirens, and, in memory at least, sees animals standing like men, reminding one of pigs that had been something else once. (He and his sister even see, as children, the outcome of men having been transformed into dogs) The home town to which he seeks to return is Lotus, Louisiana, a place where “there was no goal other than breathing, nothing to win and, save for somebody else’s quiet death, nothing to survive or worth surviving for.” More generically, there are dragons to be slain in order for Frank to return to and save his damsel in distress. Taken yet another way, after Frank has descended into the depths of hell, he emerges stronger and better able to triumph. A Greek chorus is called on to explain what the children (Frank and his sister) see in the opening scene, and whenever someone says “We led him out on a mule” you can probably assume it is a biblical reference. There is even what might arguably be considered a Jesus sighting, when a mysterious individual offers Frank a hand and urges him to “Stay in the light.” Toss in an exodus for good measure. So, a pot pourri of classical references, both religious and secular. On another layer, Morrison offers us a portrait of what it was like to be black in the fifties. This includes the joys of Jim Crow, whites-only restaurants, police license to stop and frisk anyone at any time, even to shoot children, with little fear of being held accountable, forced sterilization, redlining, covenant restrictions. And, in addition, Morrison shows how humiliation of black men might impact their women. He will beat her when they get home, thought Frank. And who wouldn’t? It’s one thing to be publicly humiliated. A man could move on from that. What was intolerable was the witness of a woman, a wife, who not only saw it, but had dared to try to rescue—rescue!—him. He couldn’t protect himself and he couldn’t protect her either, as the rock in her face proved. She would have to pay for that broken nose. Over and over again. This is not the only example to be found here of people paying forward the harsh treatment they have received. And there are recollections of further horrors from a generation before. Forced migrations, seizure of private property by men with guns, whether governmental or non, lynchings, forcing black people to engage in mortal dog-fights. But there are flickers of light in the darkness. Kindness rears its smiling head. Conductors of one sort and another help Frank along on his quest, as he heads from the generic “Central City” south to a more pastoral place, to restore his family. On escaping the mental institution he sees a sign for the Zion church, a powerful symbol of longing for a safe homeland, an equivalent maybe for the promised land of Canada for blacks journeying north in an earlier age. Although I have read several of her books, I will leave to those whose familiarity with the work far exceeds mine the task of comparing Home with Morrison’s other novels, these characters with those, these situations and themes with others she has written before. The central idea of the book is the notion of home. Is home to be found in Lotus, Louisiana? Maybe Chicago? A mythical promised land? America? When we think of the word “home” I imagine most of us conjure feelings of warmth, family, community. But what if home is not such a welcoming place? When Frank Money returns home from his service in the Korean War, the USA that shipped him there does not exactly respond with open arms. For many, home is the place from which you are driven. As with most journey stories, this is one of self-discovery. Not only is Frank heading back from whence he came in order to save his sister, but to face himself, and in so doing to find where home truly lies for him. Echoing the words of the poem Morrison uses to open the book, This house is strange. Its shadows lie Say, tell me why does its lock fit my key the home Frank dreams of is not the one he truly owns. His is a much darker abode. He must confront the memories from which he flees in order to be able to find his true home, his true self. Although this is Frank’s story, we are given enough time with a few other characters to engage us in following their journeys as well. Frank’s sister, Cee, behaves like the immature girl she is and pays a heavy price, searching for a home with an exciting new husband, and then working in a household that harbors dark secrets. We get to know her well enough to care. Frank’s unpleasant stepmother is shown in soft light as well as harsh. And the woman with whom he is smitten, Lily, is given her stroll across the stage as well, and provides a mechanism by which to highlight a bit of the era’s McCarthyism. Home may not be an epic tale of Homeric length. But it is very rich and layered, and will reward close reading immensely. =============================EXTRA STUFF Morrison’s Facebook page - Morrison passed in 2019. The page is maintained by Knopf. Interviews ----- GR interview by Catherine Elsworth -----The Paris Review – with Elissa Schappel -----Talks at Google by Torrance Boone - video - 1:00:37 -----The Guardian - Toni Morrison: 'I want to feel what I feel. Even if it's not happiness' by Emma Brockes Reviews of other Morrison work -----2014 - God Help the Child -----2011 - Home -----2008 - A Mercy -----1987 - Beloved Read but not reviewed -----1977 - Song of Solomon -----1973 - Sula

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    A man recently released from the Korean War is heading back across the United States. He is traveling from the West Coast to a town in rural Georgia where his sister is in some kind of trouble. The man has PTSD. He has ‘incidents.’ In fact he just escaped from a mental hospital where he was thrown in after one such unidentified incident. He is traveling south by train and bus, getting money from ministers of black churches. The south is still segregated so he often has to pee in the bushes at bu A man recently released from the Korean War is heading back across the United States. He is traveling from the West Coast to a town in rural Georgia where his sister is in some kind of trouble. The man has PTSD. He has ‘incidents.’ In fact he just escaped from a mental hospital where he was thrown in after one such unidentified incident. He is traveling south by train and bus, getting money from ministers of black churches. The south is still segregated so he often has to pee in the bushes at bus stations because the restrooms are for whites only. He doesn’t really want to go back home because of memories of the upbringing he had. He grew up with parents who had a little time for he and his sister. “Their parents were so beat by the time they came home from work, any attention they showed was like a razor – sharp, short and thin.” The grandparents they had were nasty to them. This is a tiny all-black town where folks take baths in a tub on the back porch and use wood stoves. He is haunted by nightmares of the atrocities that were inflicted on his comrades in Korea and by the atrocities that he and his comrades inflicted in turn, even on civilians including children. It’s not pretty. He is also haunted by other atrocious events from his childhood such as seeing a body being dumped from a wheel barrel into a shallow grave. We assume the buriers were white and the victim was black. I liked the book. I’d characterize it as ‘haunting.’ It kept my attention - it’s short, only 145 pages. The author won the Nobel Prize in 1993, the first African American author to do so. I note that Home is one of the author's lower-rated books on GR. Most highly-rated by GR readers are Song of Solomon and The Bluest Eye, while Beloved is by far her most widely-read. Top photo from cdn.vox.com Rural Georgia in 1941 from wp.com/rediscovering-back-history The author from gannett.com

  3. 5 out of 5

    KFed

    At this point I've read all of TM's novels, save one -- Paradise -- and that was a novel I at least started and wanted to get through but life got in the way. (Maybe, also, I'd gotten far enough to know it wasn't going to be my scene). As well, I've seen her read three times -- once from A Mercy a year before it was published and again shortly after it was released, with the memories of that earlier reading still ringing fresh in my ears. The final time I heard her read it was from this novel, H At this point I've read all of TM's novels, save one -- Paradise -- and that was a novel I at least started and wanted to get through but life got in the way. (Maybe, also, I'd gotten far enough to know it wasn't going to be my scene). As well, I've seen her read three times -- once from A Mercy a year before it was published and again shortly after it was released, with the memories of that earlier reading still ringing fresh in my ears. The final time I heard her read it was from this novel, Home, about a year ago, some time before its release this week. She read the opening chapter, which is as vivid now as it was when I first heard it. It's safe to say that, by now, I have a fairly set/clear opinion on Toni Morrison. I very much enjoy and admire her work, but not for the reasons people often seem tasked to name when evaluating or explaining her contribution. Yes, she's certainly had great impact on the ways we talk about race, national history, cultural memory, gender, etc. But in her most skillfully-written books (for me, these are Beloved, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, and The Bluest Eye:), Morrison's most radical contribution is that she teaches us, measure for measure, how to write a book: how to craft an opening line, an opening set of lines, how they should bud into a page, what that page should offer the chapter, what that chapter should offer the book -- how it is, in other words, that keen attention to literary form can able one to do all the things she's trying to do with the book's social and political themes. I almost always feel safe in Morrison's hands because I know that in her best work, I'll have reached the finish line with a better sense of what a novel is and what it can do: a sense that the novel, in the most formal and generic sense, can be pushed open to accommodate the lives of black people. For all the ways that she's absolutely indebted to Woolf and Faulker, per methods of literary style, I would say that there's only one other American novelist whose work stirs for me a similar sense of the genre's range of possibilities, and that's Henry James. Other great examples for me would include Jean Toomer, Austen, Fitzgerald, Hawthorne, Wharton, Flaubert, and a few others. These are tough shoes to fill, and keep filling. It's maybe for this reason, combined with the fact that Morrison is trying to experiment with other, more lucid and orally-determined storytelling forms, that her work has since Jazz become steadily less invested in solving the problem of the novel as a formal genre, instead exploring the ways that our interest in typical novel form might be overturned. Home is not a bad book, but it is, for me, a less appealing and challenging one, because it seems that for Morrison, all the questions of genre have already been answered: simply put, novels aren't sufficient, so instead of trying to craft her characters' lives into perfectly gem-like versions of "the novel," we'll attempt let them exist as something else, closer to what these characters and their lives actually are. I admire this project, and I get it, and I'd even encourage it. ...But I'm a sucker for the pristine formalism of early Morrison. It challenged, provoked and inspired me, where this novel and a few of her other more recent attempts do not. By the end of this novel, it was not clear to me why it was written this way -- why the oral, hindsight counter narrative interjections? Why the sparsity, the central focus on such a limited range of experiences and memories? Why this war? Nothing in the novel was given enough meat to seem like it was making a case for anything, which on the one hand makes sense but on the other made the novel feel half-baked. So, this is not my favorite, but it certainly isn't bad. Still, I look forward to a day when Morrison gives as, to borrow the phrase of the critics, a "return to form." I miss the novels in which literally everything about them, from the number and shape of the chapters to the number and shape of the lines, could tell us something. 'til then...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dolors

    What does Home mean? How does one get there? How can one call home to a place that alienates and drains and degrades individuals? Morrison takes the reader on a pilgrimage to unlock the mysteries of that misleading word. Destitute Frank Money, an allegorical surname in which Morrison exposes her refined irony to view, felt more at home in a desegregated army fighting for survival than in the racially torn Lotus, his hometown in Georgia. A year has passed since he came back home from Korea and he What does Home mean? How does one get there? How can one call home to a place that alienates and drains and degrades individuals? Morrison takes the reader on a pilgrimage to unlock the mysteries of that misleading word. Destitute Frank Money, an allegorical surname in which Morrison exposes her refined irony to view, felt more at home in a desegregated army fighting for survival than in the racially torn Lotus, his hometown in Georgia. A year has passed since he came back home from Korea and he wanders around the States like a lost soul until he meets Lily, a soothing presence that manages to bring him home from no man's land whenever one of the frequent episodes of memory loss or emotional withdrawal tosses him into the abyss of unbidden anger. Lily, on the other hand, aspires to buy a house in a "respectable" neighborhood to be treated as an equal and Frank's family name doesn't contribute into materializing her dream. Years of sustained abuse in the hands of her embittered step-grandmother forces Frank's little sister Cee to flee from home. In a society where gender and race ascribe supremacy, and without the protection of her devoted brother, a young black woman becomes an easy prey, and Cee will have to summon the inner strength that runs in the bloodline of past generations of her resilient sisters to build a home for herself in this barren land. Frank and Cee, brother and sister, embark on a heedless journey that will introduce them to all kinds of people, some compassionate and generous and others manipulative and vicious, a journey that will reunite them back again in Lotus, the place they have been trying to escape from for most of their ragged lives. But coming full circle to meet their nemesis might entail a restorative catharsis and the ghosts of a traumatized childhood might serve to exorcize the sordidness of the present times. The perversity of war and dehumanization, the psychological scars that misused and discarded soldiers carry back home, the African-American civil rights movement and the blatant racial bigotry and latent classism of a segregated society in the America of the fifties serve as historical backdrop to frame the plotline. Morrison condenses thematic patterns and recurrent imagery in this slim but intense novella, combining short and incisive sentences where every adjective acquires transcendental connotation, precisely because they are scant in the text. Gone is the jazzy prose, the lyrical repetition and the lush linguistic texture of her previous books, a fact that obliges the reader to engage in this game of deciphering and imagining and to participate actively in the story. What remains indissoluble is Morrison’s use of a fragmented narrative structure and the non-linear timeline, which in this case alternates third person narrators that pivot around Frank’s particular odyssey to reinvent Ithaca in interspersed chapters where he becomes an omniscient narrator that addresses his creator in an intimate, confessional tone, always in accordance with the visual quality of Morrison's prose: Horses rising up on their hind legs, like men. A wooden cross with the inscription “Here Stands A Man” nailed on the trunk of a half-rotted bay tree. A brother and a sister, hurt right down the middle, who demand to be treated like human beings with unflinching resolve because they have finally understood that Home is not a physical space, but a mental state where suffering and healing can coexist and become invincible.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rowena

    “Lotus, Georgia, is the worst place in the world, worse than any battlefield. At least on the field there is a goal, excitement, daring, and some chance of winning along with many chances of losing. Death is a sure thing but life is just as certain. Problem is you can’t know in advance.” - Toni Morrison, Home The above are the words of an African-American Korean War vet, Frank Money. This novel is about Frank’s journey ‘home’ to Lotus, GA, a place he swore he would never go to again, to rescue hi “Lotus, Georgia, is the worst place in the world, worse than any battlefield. At least on the field there is a goal, excitement, daring, and some chance of winning along with many chances of losing. Death is a sure thing but life is just as certain. Problem is you can’t know in advance.” - Toni Morrison, Home The above are the words of an African-American Korean War vet, Frank Money. This novel is about Frank’s journey ‘home’ to Lotus, GA, a place he swore he would never go to again, to rescue his ailing sister, Ycidra. This story brought to mind James McBride’s book ‘Miracle at St. Anna’s’, a novel about African-American soldiers in WW2 Italy. Like McBride, Morrison gives a voice to those people history textbooks gloss over or completely ignore. The question, the same one that is present in McBride’s book, is why African-American soldiers fight for their country, yet are treated like second class citizens: “An integrated army is integrated misery. You all go fight, come back, they treat you like dogs. Change that. They treat dogs better.” I’m always surprised by readers who complain about the racial issues in Morrison’s books. You can't write a story about the black experience without bringing up race, that's just how it is. And the fact that Morrison does so with so much boldness is one of the reasons I love her writing. Her portrayals of race and racism are realistic, and the atrocities she portrays are not isolated incidents either. Morrison writes about the comradeship within the black community, she illustrates the poverty, the racism, the fear of the KKK, the police brutality... She could very well be writing about present-day America. Reading this and other Morrison books shows the multifaceted nature of racism; there are always new aspects of it shown that we haven’t considered. James McBride writes about a segregated army in Italy during WW2 which opened my eyes to the fact that black men were fighting for a country that despised them, Morrison’s book showed how these same soldiers would be treated when they returned to the States; Jim Crow laws, no respect, no gratitude for their sacrifices, PTSD symptoms but little help. This is a story with several shocking details. Shocking is an understatement. You think you’ve heard it all but the brutality of humans is sometimes difficult to guess. Yet, despite the visceral details, there were pages of beautiful, poetic writing: “Passing through freezing, poorly washed scenery, Frank tried to redecorate it, mind-painting giant slashes of purple and X’s of gold on hills, dripping yellow and green on barren wheat fields. Hours of trying and failing to recolor the western landscape agitated him, but by the time he stepped off the train he was calm enough.” Highly recommended!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    Toni Morrison proves with this 2012 novel that she still has it. This one may not be as "beloved" as some of her earlier writing but it is still undeniably unique, undeniably Toni Morrison. This short novel tells the story of a returning Korean War veteran, an African-American from Georgia, who realizes that bigotry and racial prejudice still exists, even for those who served our country in war. Sadly, that is still true today, and not just for African-Americans, but for many other religious and Toni Morrison proves with this 2012 novel that she still has it. This one may not be as "beloved" as some of her earlier writing but it is still undeniably unique, undeniably Toni Morrison. This short novel tells the story of a returning Korean War veteran, an African-American from Georgia, who realizes that bigotry and racial prejudice still exists, even for those who served our country in war. Sadly, that is still true today, and not just for African-Americans, but for many other religious and ethnic minority's as well.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tod Wodicka

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Toni Morrison’s new novel, Home, begins with two children witnessing a man being buried – presumably alive. It’s a strong opening. ‘We could not see the faces of the men doing the burying, only their trousers; but we saw the edge of a spade drive the jerking foot down to join the rest of itself.’ But it’s also a testament to this unsubtle book’s endless litany of atrocities that by the end, I’d almost totally forgotten about the man being buried alive. Think about that for a moment: the book is Toni Morrison’s new novel, Home, begins with two children witnessing a man being buried – presumably alive. It’s a strong opening. ‘We could not see the faces of the men doing the burying, only their trousers; but we saw the edge of a spade drive the jerking foot down to join the rest of itself.’ But it’s also a testament to this unsubtle book’s endless litany of atrocities that by the end, I’d almost totally forgotten about the man being buried alive. Think about that for a moment: the book is a mere 145 pages long and I almost totally forgot that it began with a man being buried alive. Oh yeah, I thought, that also happened. That was before the war-torn protagonist, Frank Money, admits to having shot a starving Korean girl in the face; before the man being buried is revealed to have been forced to battle his son to the death in a sort of human dogfight; before an entire Texas town of African Americans was made to relocate under pain of death – a lone hold-out has his eyes carved out – and please, please don’t even get me started on the mad ‘heavyweight Confederate’ eugenics doctor who nearly kills a character by, one assumes, a forced sexual sterilization experiment gone wrong. That was before all the racially motivated beatings and shootings, the splattery Korean War vignettes, the gang muggings and wrestling prostitutes. Someone being buried alive? That’s nothing. Again, Home is 145 pages long. But the Nobel laureate's tenth novel can’t seem to help itself. If something bad can happen, it does, and then it does again, and again, until it starts to feel like one of those Hollywood blockbusters where every action sequence becomes bigger, crazier, louder, until the final city-destroying finale. There’s little time for reflection: not when Morrison wants to hit you over the head with history. You thought that was bad? Well, how about this. Boom. History repeating itself first as tragedy, then as farce, then as something so mind-numbing that you simply want it to end: and I’m not sure if it would have been a relief or totally of a piece if Godzilla himself had appeared at the end of the novel to grind all of Morrison’s woebegone characters into the Georgian dust. Basically, Home is a pulply morality tale cruising along on a default setting of literary pretension. It concerns Frank Money, a disturbed six-foot-three-inch African American Korean War veteran and his younger sister, Ycodra, better known as Cee, who Frank has always protected: ‘Even before she could walk he’d taken care of her. The first word she spoke was ‘Fwank’’ Back from the war and prone to alcoholic derangements of a violent and too metaphorically apt nature (yes, he starts to see things in black and white before they happen), Frank embarks on a 1950s Odyssey from the west coast back home to Lotus, Georgia ‘the worst place in the world, worse than any battlefield’. Cee, he has been told, is dying. From there we’re parceled out insights into Frank’s present and past, the present and past of his current lover, Lily, his sister, Cee, and quite a few secondary characters. It feigns towards gothic horror, war horror and social realism horror, never really finding a home in any of these genres. You can see the bones of a powerful intergenerational novel or two poking out all over the place – but what we have is far too short, too sketchy. The book isn’t so much inhabited by characters as case studies. Each and every one feels like an excuse for the author to make a point, to explore this or that historical tragedy, to make sure we stand witness. Each character checks off another instance of pre-Civil Rights era racism, be it the insidious bureaucratic ‘restrictions’ preventing African Americans from making their homes in certain neighborhoods, to the full scale murder of for pleasure or sport or ugly American hate. There’s just too much here and, frankly, you need more than 145 pages to create characters which can rise above the pain and torment Morrison seems to almost sadistically put them through here. It serves nobody to toss off a lurid, baffling scene at the end of a novel concerning a human dog fight, where a father and son are forced to battle each other to the death with knives while a crowd of men cheer. Especially coming not a few pages after the aforementioned confession that Frank Money murdered a small girl in Korea – it feels exploitive, and shockingly manipulative. Morrison might have earned the right to go there with her past fiction, but not within the confines of this novel. And I haven’t even mentioned the appearance of the zoot suited ghost, which must mean something important because: well, how many ghosts wear zoot suits? Add to this the fact that Morrison has her third-person narrative chopped up by Frank Money telling bits of his story directly to us and her, in first-person, at one point going so far as to question the book itself: "Earlier you wrote about how sure I was that the beat-up man on the train to Chicago would turn around when they got home and whip the wife who tried to help him. Not true. I didn’t think any such thing. What I thought was that he was proud of her but didn’t want to show how proud he was to the other men on the train. I don’t think you know much about love. Or me." When I read that section I felt like cheering, and hoped that maybe Morrison’s fiction was finally standing up for itself. Go, Frank Money, go! Maybe the characters were trying to peak through and be heard among the bloody din of Morrison’s agenda. Yes, and I know this sounds disrespectful. Toni Morrison is … well, she’s Toni Morrison. She is an American institution; not only a remarkable prose poet and winner of numerous awards, but wielder of a genuine literary conscience, especially in a time when so many American novelists have long since retreated into the safety of irony and approximation. She not only has something to say, but, more importantly, she has people who will listen. She’s not only written some great books but she’s written a few nearly indisputable classics of world literature, like Beloved and Song of Solomon. But Home is not a wise book. At its heart, it’s more a deceptively angry one. ‘Deceptive’ because of Morrison’s poetics, which can be nimble, funny and evocative but, more often than not here, are overdrawn. Light, for example, never simply shines in this novel. Try to read this without your inner editor scowling: ‘Maniac moonlight doing the work of absent stars matched his desperate frenzy, lighting his hunched shoulders and footprints left in the snow.’ Exactly. So Morrison’s anger comes through in the actions and events rather than in the way they’re described. She keeps her voice out of the fray and lets the anger come out in her choice of putting everyone, basically, through hell. Which isn’t to say the anger isn’t justified. These are all things that did happen. These are things that, in many ways, still do happen. ‘You could be inside, living in your own house for years, and still, men with or without badges but always with guns could force you, your family, your neighbors to pack up and move – with or without shoes.’ The novel, in a heavy-handed way, explores the issues of just what kind of home America was, and is, for African Americans; and how horrible it is to read about an innocent African American child being shot in 1950s Chicago at the same time as the US media, some 60 years later, is aflame over the Trayvon Martin case. There are flashes of hard-won humor and beauty here as well. For example, Prince, Cee’s first love and ill-advised husband, is described as loving himself ‘so deeply, so completely, it was impossible to doubt his convictions’. Or this pitch-perfect dialog between Cee and the wife of Dr. Scott, who is interviewing her for a job: “Any children?” “No, ma’am.” “Married?” “No, ma’am.” “What church affiliation? Any?” “There’s God’s Congregation in Lotus but, I don’t …” “They jump around?” “Ma’am?” And Morrison can still control her voice like an instrument, and you’re occasionally reminded that you’re dealing with the author of Beloved, a writer of a fierce and unique American rhythm: "It was so bright, brighter than he remembered. The sun, having sucked away the blue from the sky, loitered there in the white heaven, menacing Lotus, torturing its landscape, but failing, failing, constantly failing to silence it: children still laughed, ran, shouted their games; women sang in their backyards while pinning wet sheets on clotheslines; occasionally a soprano was joined by a neighboring alto or a tenor just passing by. ‘Take me to the water. Take me to the water. Take me to the water. To be baptized.’" Unfortunately, these moments in Home are few and far between, and what you’re left with is the smallest, shortest big book I think that I’ve ever read. Too many terrible events and too many characters deprived the chance to settle down and breathe without constantly having to suffer their creator’s nefarious intentions. You don’t know much about me, Frank Money insists. And though you know Morrison wrote that, you get the sense that Money was on to something.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I wanted to dislike this book for its dismal "mood." Hesitant, I wondered whether to continue reading this now, or abandon it for later, when I could bear the thought of stepping back into time with the main character as he visited a traumatic past. I don't quite know how to welcome hopelessness as a thematic undertone and overtone, so this week especially, I didn't know whether I could suffer with Frank as he faced the world with an outlook of disdain and pure agony, remembering when he had no I wanted to dislike this book for its dismal "mood." Hesitant, I wondered whether to continue reading this now, or abandon it for later, when I could bear the thought of stepping back into time with the main character as he visited a traumatic past. I don't quite know how to welcome hopelessness as a thematic undertone and overtone, so this week especially, I didn't know whether I could suffer with Frank as he faced the world with an outlook of disdain and pure agony, remembering when he had no one, no money, no pride; as he remembered the Korean War, when he had enlisted because this was his only way out of his disheartening situation. There, surrounded by the only friends he had, who like him, had escaped their town to find some meaning as soldiers, life would again revisit his demise. PTSD. That oh-so-misunderstood acronym. Yet Toni Morrison--in a way only Toni Morrision can--has Frank cooly dramatize his soldier-acquired ailment so that even if you don't get it, you get him: When he was alone and sober, whatever the surroundings, he saw a boy pushing his entrails back in, holding them in his palms like a fortune-teller's globe shattering with bad news; or he heard a boy with only the bottom half of his face intact, the lips calling mama. And he was stepping over them, around them, to stay alive, to keep his own face from dissolving, his own colorful guts under that oh-so-thin sheet of flesh. No judgments. Only lyrical candidness. Like the men and women of Paradise, Morrison's characters of Lotus, Georgia are down-trodden black folks who are immigrants in their own home. Kicked off their land in Texas and forced to cross state lines. Or else. Frank and his little sister, Ycidra, find themselves living in a small house with a cruel step-grandmother. While their parents toiled the fields daily, Frank took care of his baby sister. Frank and Cee: inseparable. Until war, alcohol, and death drew him further away from her. Suddenly, he was no longer there when she really needed him. How much distress and disappointment can a person take? I hated feeling their pain. Hated the gloom. Grew disappointed at the lack of happiness. Despite this (and most likely because of this), I grew to love this succinct display of detached pain, a work so unlike Morrison's ornate paragraphs and dialogue. This is a novella with thematic appeal. Sure, I will remember the expressionless Cee and those eyes: "flat, waiting, always waiting. Not patient, not hopeless, but suspended." Yes, I will remember the sometimes-humorous Frank:"Women are eager to talk to me when they hear my last name. Money? They snigger and ask the same questions…was I a gambler or thief or some other kind of crook they should watch out for? When I tell them my nickname, what folks back home call me, Smart Money, they scream with laughter and say: Ain't no such thing as dumb money, just dumb folks." But what I will really remember is the incandescent pain and despair. I will remember that once I looked closely, I found that hope transcended hopelessness through Cee and that trauma was revived through memory. Could it have been longer? Sure. But I will take a novella from Toni Morrison any day. …Memories, powerful as they were, did not crush him anymore or throw him into paralyzing despair.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    3 and 1/2 stars I would never dare to criticize Toni Morrison; I love the way she writes. I love the way she writes in this novella too, but anything I'd say about this book would be subject to how much more strongly I felt about her other novels. (It's the way I tend to rate any author of whom I've read more than one work.) And I admit that if this book were written by any other writer (or if it were the first thing I'd read by her), I most likely would've given it a solid 4 stars. I especially l 3 and 1/2 stars I would never dare to criticize Toni Morrison; I love the way she writes. I love the way she writes in this novella too, but anything I'd say about this book would be subject to how much more strongly I felt about her other novels. (It's the way I tend to rate any author of whom I've read more than one work.) And I admit that if this book were written by any other writer (or if it were the first thing I'd read by her), I most likely would've given it a solid 4 stars. I especially liked the first 3/4 of it, perhaps the ending seemed too rushed to me. And if there is anyone who thinks Morrison can't write in a more conventional, accessible style, read this one, because here she does; and the language is clear, crisp, and beautiful. One day, perhaps several years from now, I plan on rereading, in order, all her novels (I've only reread her Beloved) and I will reread this one. Anything she writes is worth reading more than once.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    Home is my first book by Toni Morrison: I picked it because it was the easiest to find at the library, and I kept seeing the author's name in my friends reviews. I believe I've stumbled upon something good. If I go by the ratings and the mixed reviews here at Goodreads, I expect I will run out of stars to give when I get to her more notorious novels, seeing as I couldn't give less than five stars on my first experience of the author's work. I could find no real fault with the presentation. Som Home is my first book by Toni Morrison: I picked it because it was the easiest to find at the library, and I kept seeing the author's name in my friends reviews. I believe I've stumbled upon something good. If I go by the ratings and the mixed reviews here at Goodreads, I expect I will run out of stars to give when I get to her more notorious novels, seeing as I couldn't give less than five stars on my first experience of the author's work. I could find no real fault with the presentation. Some reviewers have called the book unsophisticated, underdeveloped and the characterization shallow, but I believe the simple, straightforward style of storytelling fits the subject like a glove. My reaction to the book was primarily on the emotional, not the critical level, in almost total anithesis to a similar book I read this year about people in distress ( The Book Thief ) when I kept finding fault with the general tone and the melodrama overload. Morrison is more understated, introverted, less angry than, for example, Walter Mosley, but in her own way, more convincing. This is the story of Frank and Icedra (Cee) Money, two outcasts in search of a a safe haven, in a 1950's America that was still fiercely segregated. There is an almost mythological, biblical angle to the story, echoing the ancient tales of Aeneas quest for the promised land after the fall of Troy or the Exodus from Egypt of the Israelites. Frank witnessed as a child the eviction at gunpoint of his family from their Texas homes and the troubled resettlement in the dirt poor town of Lotus, Georgia. Growing up, he takes care of his sister Cee and dreams of escape from poverty and hopelessness. He seizes the chance of fighting in the Corean War, and leaves with two buddies to make his fortune in the larger world. Left alone in Lotus, Cee falls under the spell of a smooth operator from Atlanta and runs away herself. If she hadn't been so ignorant living in a no-count, not-even-a-town place with only chores, church-school, and nothing else to do, she would have known better. The novel shows the road Frank, his mind destroyed by war nightmares and alcohol, and Cee, abandoned by her lover and trapped in the house of a dubious medical practitioner, take in order to return to Lotus and the efforts they make to put their lives back together. The journey is primarily a spiritual, not a geographical one, with the emphasis on self awareness, dignity and community support, religious and secular alike. Look to yourself. You free. Nothing and nobody is obliged to save you but you. Seed your own land. You young and a woman and there's serious limitation in both, but you a person too. Don't let [others] decide who you are. That's slavery. Somewhere inside you is that free person I'm talking about. Locate her and let her do some good in the world. The lessons learned by Frank and his sister apply to more than the plight of African-American community and the period described here, to wherever and whenever a group of people is discriminated against based on their skin colour, sex, religion or economic affluence. The need to belong, to be respected, to be secure in your house and in your work - are as powerful and threatened today as they were in the 1950's. Most often than not succour and understanding is to be found not among the powerful, but among the dispossessed, who have been through the wringer themselves, and who would share more readily from their meager belongings. Their talk may be rough, and their expressions of love hard edged, but I found them genuine and moving; ... Men know a slop jar when they see one! ... You a privy or a woman? ... Who told you you was trash? ... If you don't respect yourself, why should anybody else? So, the way out is through family and community and education, but most important of all is the HOME : the place, the people, the spirituality: It was bright, brighter than he remembered. The sun, having sucked away the blue from the sky, loitered there in a white heaven, menacing Lotus, torturing its landscape, but failing, failing, constantly failing to silence it: children still laughed, ran, shouted their games; women sang in their backyards while pinning wet sheets on clotheslines; occasionally a soprano was joined by a neighboring alto or a tenor just passing by. "Take me to the water. Take me to the water. Take me to the water. To be baptized." [...] The sun did her best to burn away the blessed peace found under the wide old trees; did her best to ruin the pleasure of being among those who do not want to degrade or destroy you. Try as she might, she could not scorch the yellow butterflies away from the scarlet rosebushes, nor choke the songs of birds. Her punishing heat did not interfere with Mr. Fuller and his nephew sitting in the bed of a truck - the boy on a mouth organ, the man on a six-string banjo. The nephew's bare feet swayed; the uncle's left foot tapped out the beat. Color, silence, and music enveloped him. Musical background : - Delta Blues of course - Bessie Smith, Elmore James, Robert Johnson, John Lee hooker - Instrumental Jazz - New Orleans - Tracy Chapman

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    When I need a dose of lyrical prose to just wash over me, I know I can turn to Toni Morrison. Morrison always delivers something beautifully rendered, even if heart-rending, such as a Korean War vet whose having a damn hard time finding his way home. Home jumps about from place to place, person to person. Home is, as they say, where the heart is, and Home is full of heart, albeit an often sad heart. Do not come to this book expecting a linear story following a single character with a sole purpose When I need a dose of lyrical prose to just wash over me, I know I can turn to Toni Morrison. Morrison always delivers something beautifully rendered, even if heart-rending, such as a Korean War vet whose having a damn hard time finding his way home. Home jumps about from place to place, person to person. Home is, as they say, where the heart is, and Home is full of heart, albeit an often sad heart. Do not come to this book expecting a linear story following a single character with a sole purpose. This novel gathers up various and variant pieces of people and constructs their parts in ways that get to the heart of their deepest matter. Some may find this style confusing. Fans of William Faulkner will find it familiar. But damn near everyone should give this book at least a moment of their time.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    Nobel Prize winner, Toni Morrison, has a tremendous gift for writing novels that possess an 'in your face' quality. She takes the African American experience throughout United States history and forces you to really SEE and FEEL that experience .... no matter the discomfort it causes or the sense of horror and revulsion you feel. In her novel, Home, she writes a story about angry and dejected Korean War veteran , Frank Money and his younger sister, Cee. This story, Frank and Cee's story, doesn't Nobel Prize winner, Toni Morrison, has a tremendous gift for writing novels that possess an 'in your face' quality. She takes the African American experience throughout United States history and forces you to really SEE and FEEL that experience .... no matter the discomfort it causes or the sense of horror and revulsion you feel. In her novel, Home, she writes a story about angry and dejected Korean War veteran , Frank Money and his younger sister, Cee. This story, Frank and Cee's story, doesn't BEGIN after the Korean War. Instead, the Korean War becomes a sort of catalyst for Frank and Cee to face the horrors of their past. One of Frank's earliest memories is of living in Texas. He remembers his family's flight from Bandera County to Louisiana when the entire town was forced to evacuate the town within 24 hours or be killed. Cee was born right after their forced exile and Frank, from that time forward, became her sole protector.. he was entirely devoted to her. Frank and Cee's parents eked out a meager existence working torturously long and back breaking hours in the fields. Frank and Cee loved running through those fields until one night they became witnesses to an event that would change both of them forever. Although this event wasn't clear or explained until the end of the book, the horrors that they observed has stuck in my mind and is something I won't forget...... "... we saw them pull a body from a wheelbarrow and throw it into a hole already waiting. One foot stuck up over the edge and quivered , as though it could get out, as though with a little effort it could break the dirt being shoveled in. We could not see the faces of the men doing the burying, only their trousers; but we saw the edge of the spade drive the jerking foot down to join the rest of itself." The two never talked about having witnessed a man being buried alive but it was always there.. hanging in the air between them. Frank and a couple of his friends left for the Korean War and Cee.... well, she was drifting. She was a young woman looking for someone to love and protect her; and with Frank's absence, she became involved with a man who would ultimately use her and break her heart. Without Frank's protection, she was vulnerable and this vulnerability is what led her to work for a doctor.. a doctor who seemed so kindly and solicitous and whom Cee believed wanted to protect her.What this doctor was actually doing, however,was his own sick form of eugenics.. he was systematically sterilizing young black women and Cee happened to be his latest victim. At the same time that Cee was being experimented on,Frank returned from Korea. Dealing with the deaths of his friends during the war and his own guilt and self-loathing over his part in the war, Frank was wandering around California .... homeless and suffering from PTSD. He received word that Cee was near death and ever her protector, he made his way back to her... hoping to heal her and perhaps in doing so, he could find a way to heal and save himself. Things hadn't changed much while Frank was gone, but Frank realized that HE had changed. He realized that he could no longer protect Cee from the world. He took her to some of the women of the community who used their home remedies and lots of prayers to nurse her back to health. While Cee was recovering, both Frank and she did a great deal of thinking. Frank finally had to deal with the ghosts from his past..both from his childhood and Korea. Cee realized that her problems stemmed from never feeling valued. She didn't feel valued by others but most importantly, she didn't value herself. She realized that although Frank valued her, "his devotion shielded her but did not strengthen her. She wanted to be the person who who would never again need rescue.. she wanted to be the one who rescued her own self." After reading this story, the first thing I was struck by was that this incredibly moving story was contained in a book which was lass than 150 pages.Toni Morrison, through her novels,manages to present the African American experience in a way that not only educates you but makes you actually feel and experience all of the indignities and horrors that the characters experience. In the end, you come away from the story feeling not only hopeful... but somehow stronger. Frank's and Cee's story was one of people discovering their own worth ... a worth that had nothing to do with how others saw them or treated them and through this discovery, they became stronger. This incredible story reminded me of an Ernest Hemingway quote from his novel, A Farewell to Arms.... "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places." If you haven't read any of Toni Morrison's wonderful books, then might I suggest that you start with this one?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    This is one of Toni's last books and, I believe, one of her best. It is highly condensed (only 140 pages), but wonderfully written. It is the story of a black veteran of the Korean War with undiagnosed PTSD and his voyage home to a small Georgia town. He meets violence and racism on his way and nearly doesn't make it and when he gets there, he discovers that his sister has had huge issues of her own. What I especially loved, besides the typical awesome writing of Morrison, was the speech that hi This is one of Toni's last books and, I believe, one of her best. It is highly condensed (only 140 pages), but wonderfully written. It is the story of a black veteran of the Korean War with undiagnosed PTSD and his voyage home to a small Georgia town. He meets violence and racism on his way and nearly doesn't make it and when he gets there, he discovers that his sister has had huge issues of her own. What I especially loved, besides the typical awesome writing of Morrison, was the speech that his sister gets from her Aunt about picking herself up and respecting herself - a message that I try as hard as I can to transmit to my own daughter. A truly beautiful book. A few quotes: "Back was the free-floating rage, the self-loathing disguised as somebody else’s fault."(p. 15). When he reached the cotton fields beyond Lotus, he saw acres of pink blossoms spread under the malevolent sun. They would turn red and drop to the ground in a few days to let the young bolls through. (p. 118) mix. The Bulova watch was still there. No stem, no hands—the way time functioned in Lotus, pure and subject to anybody’s interpretation. (p. 120) grave. Once it was heaped over with soil, Frank took two nails and the sanded piece of wood from his pocket. With a rock he pounded it into the tree trunk. One nail bent uselessly, but the other held well enough to expose the words he had painted on the wooden marker. Here Stands A Man. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but he could have sworn the sweet bay was pleased to agree. Its olive-green leaves went wild in the glow of a fat cherry-red sun. (pp. 144-146) and my favorite: Don’t let Lenore or some trifling boyfriend and certainly no devil doctor decide who you are. That’s slavery. Somewhere inside you is that free person I’m talking about. Locate her and let her do some good in the world.” (p. 126)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This was my first encounter with Toni Morrison. I knew her as the voice of Black America and that she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Now I know why. It was by chance that I picked this novel, because I happened to record a reading on the radio. After a couple of minutes of listening the story captivated my attention. Yes, I knew about the Korean War and the racism in the US in the 50s, but following the fate of specific people transforms this general knowledge to personal engagement This was my first encounter with Toni Morrison. I knew her as the voice of Black America and that she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Now I know why. It was by chance that I picked this novel, because I happened to record a reading on the radio. After a couple of minutes of listening the story captivated my attention. Yes, I knew about the Korean War and the racism in the US in the 50s, but following the fate of specific people transforms this general knowledge to personal engagement and compassion. I rarely want to read a book that I consumed as an audio book before. Here it is different.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Isn't it strange that even as hungry as we readers are for the written word, some authors still manage to elude us for years? Believe it or not, this is my first experience reading the beautiful writing of Toni Morrison. A novella, more than a novel, "Home" explores a veteran of the Korean War, Frank, and his sister, Cee. Frank is experiencing what we would refer to as PTSD , flashes of his time on the battlefield and the death of his comrades, including two of his childhood best friends haunts Isn't it strange that even as hungry as we readers are for the written word, some authors still manage to elude us for years? Believe it or not, this is my first experience reading the beautiful writing of Toni Morrison. A novella, more than a novel, "Home" explores a veteran of the Korean War, Frank, and his sister, Cee. Frank is experiencing what we would refer to as PTSD , flashes of his time on the battlefield and the death of his comrades, including two of his childhood best friends haunts him daily. Cee is raw from the pain of the husband who abandoned her and is struggling to make her way in the world. As well, both brother and sister are dealing with the memories of childhood hardships. Each is trying to find their way "home." I felt situated in the time and place of 1950's Georgia that Morrison recreates in her story. I liked that the story focused on a brother-sister relationship( there's only so many sisterhood books out there that a person can read, right?) and that both characters hold their own on the page. A good start to exploring Toni Morrison's work!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Catching up here on reads from a few months back. I can’t let my 8th rewarding read of her work pass without saying something. Why keep coming back to her well? Yes, all her work reflects on issues of racism, on its many varieties and its pervasiveness, destructiveness, and insidiousness. But her prose, storytelling, and contribution to understanding human nature in its broad aspects makes her a consistently reliable source for great reading. Here we get the story of Frank, a black Korean War vet Catching up here on reads from a few months back. I can’t let my 8th rewarding read of her work pass without saying something. Why keep coming back to her well? Yes, all her work reflects on issues of racism, on its many varieties and its pervasiveness, destructiveness, and insidiousness. But her prose, storytelling, and contribution to understanding human nature in its broad aspects makes her a consistently reliable source for great reading. Here we get the story of Frank, a black Korean War veteran, making a rough journey across the South to somehow save a beloved sister, Cee, who may be near death while in the uncaring hands of a wealthy family where she served as a housekeeper. The brief message to come is all it takes to activate Frank out of a deep well he finds himself in. He is committed to a psychiatric facility for some violent crime he can’t remember. We only get the barest glimmer of the hell he has experienced in the war and can only guess his escape into alcohol abuse is a part of a condition of PTSD. With his town of origin in rural Georgia holding no sense of refuge, only his sister represents a sense of home for him. As a reader, we only get elemental reactions to the pervasive injustice he witnesses in the treatment of blacks as he travels (usually be hitchhiking) through the Jim Crow South. His purpose begins to make him a man again and seems to allow him to restrain himself for acting on the rage that seethes within. For some perceptive insights into the mythical overtones and allusions of his journey and barriers he must surmount, I recommend checking out the review barriers he must surmount, I recommend checking out the review b Will Byrnes. Elements of the story harken to those in “The Odyssey” and the Bible. The story of his sister is also food for broader thought. Her kind and naïve nature led her to disappointment in romance and subject to exploitation in her work in the household of a doctor. There is some implication that the doctor is trying some untested experimental treatment on her when overwork and illness lead her to a bedridden condition. Perhaps there are shades of the Tuskegee College experiment of letting blacks with syphilis go untreated. Because Frank is such a cypher in terms of his feelings and thoughts, many readers may find it a challenge to empathize with him. But by making him a lens and a witness on society, the reader is effectively put in the role of doing the work of creating their reactions. His constant movement and elements of metamorphosis at work within Frank are the sources of a special power I found in this relatively short novel. Because his town of origin in Georgia becomes a reluctant destination, the story bears comparison to the challenges felt by the Indian character in Boyden's “Three Day Road” over returning home from World War 1. The roles of Cee for a goal of Frank’s trip and for his sense of a homecoming to his self remind me of parallels to Inman’s journey across the Civil War South toward a largely imagined relationship with a woman in “Cold Mountain”.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Julie Christine

    Toni Morrison never takes the easy way out. She rarely offers closure, she never spares the reader the pain, violence and disappointment that have shaped the black experience in America. Yet her books are never without slices of redemption, compassion and even moments of joy that make the intolerable somehow bearable. Home, barely weighing in as a novel at 145 pages, packs every one of Morrison's literary themes into its compact format: Jim Crow, sharecropping, strong, independent female characte Toni Morrison never takes the easy way out. She rarely offers closure, she never spares the reader the pain, violence and disappointment that have shaped the black experience in America. Yet her books are never without slices of redemption, compassion and even moments of joy that make the intolerable somehow bearable. Home, barely weighing in as a novel at 145 pages, packs every one of Morrison's literary themes into its compact format: Jim Crow, sharecropping, strong, independent female characters making their way and weaker women exploited by white and black men alike, eugenics, even slavery, if we consider what young Cee suffers. Morrison also confronts us with post-traumatic stress disorder, as the main character, Frank Money, returns the U.S. shattered by the Korean War. And there is a touch of magical surrealism, a technique that Morrison often employs to weave allegory into her brutal realism. What makes such fullness of content possible in this slim volume is a departure from Morrison's Gothic, rich, lyrical style. Home is restrained, the sentences are often brief and declarative, the scenes are short; though she does use characters' remembrances of times past to show significant amounts of backstory. But her writing is as powerful as has ever been. I love this sentence, for its imagery, its rhythm, the way the beat of it perfectly mirrors its action. The "girl" in this sentence refers to a honeydew melon: Sarah slid a long, sharp knife from a drawer and, with intense anticipation of the pleasure to come, cut the girl in two. Two long, slow phrases - drawing out the knife, drawing out the anticipation - then smack! She cuts the girl in two. This is what it's like reading Toni Morrison - every word, every phrase contribute to what she wants the reader to experience and how she wants the experience to feel. Of course, this is every writer's aim. Few succeed like Toni Morrison. I didn't find this story transformative, perhaps because it is so relentlessly bleak, until the very end. But I find so much in the writing to admire.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gregsamsa

    I worship this woman and think of Paradise as an almost ideal novel (and not only cuz I lived all up in there), but this latest one is utterly disappointing throwaway fluff. Unless you're a completist fan, DO NOT BOTHER. If you have never read her, I absolutely FORBID you to start with this one. She stated that she intended to show how hard it was for black soldiers coming back from the Korean war. Yeah, that woulda been cool if she'd given us the tiniest glimpse of that instead of an utterly cha I worship this woman and think of Paradise as an almost ideal novel (and not only cuz I lived all up in there), but this latest one is utterly disappointing throwaway fluff. Unless you're a completist fan, DO NOT BOTHER. If you have never read her, I absolutely FORBID you to start with this one. She stated that she intended to show how hard it was for black soldiers coming back from the Korean war. Yeah, that woulda been cool if she'd given us the tiniest glimpse of that instead of an utterly charmed city-to-city lucky-break bonanza where a hard trip was made effortless by non-stop offers of everything from gratis housing to free new shoes. I had hoped that Morrison would do her usual demystifying and antiromantic thang when the abused rescued girl gets home and gets homey treatments to salve her wounds, where the down-home folk remedies are more horrifying than their cruel white science infliction because whole communities are kept in ignorance by the vast normalized reality of institutionalized white "superiority." They are actually horrifying and ignorant, but presented in syrupy "it's-all-good-cuz-yer-home-now-girl" bullshit that she used to make fun of. So when they make homegirl sunburn her vajayjay to rehabilitate her womanhood, it works, and makes her able to get around well enough to discover the requisite Morrisondeepdarksecret which has no bearing on her life nor that of anyone she knows so it's all like what's the f*ing point. I will always be a fan of hers, even if she continues riding on this out-of-gas kinda book, and anyone can have a dip in performance, and I know my lame ass doesn't deserve to kiss one page of Beloved with my profane lips, but I still have the right to voice my disappointment. In fact I think I'll turn back right now to Paradise's description of that canyon formation. Jeebus Kraiyst is that some writin'

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sydney Young

    This is a book worth a deeper dig so I've reread it on my Kindle for its highlighting ability. I highly recommend Home to readers and classrooms. Below is a small bit of why I chose it to book review at the Paris Public Library (this Thursday at 6:30, hope you can join me), beginning with the opening quote: “Whose house is this? Whose night keeps out the light In here? Say, who owns this house? It’s not mine. I dreamed another, sweeter, brighter With a view of lakes crossed in painted boats; Of fields This is a book worth a deeper dig so I've reread it on my Kindle for its highlighting ability. I highly recommend Home to readers and classrooms. Below is a small bit of why I chose it to book review at the Paris Public Library (this Thursday at 6:30, hope you can join me), beginning with the opening quote: “Whose house is this? Whose night keeps out the light In here? Say, who owns this house? It’s not mine. I dreamed another, sweeter, brighter With a view of lakes crossed in painted boats; Of fields wide as arms open for me. This house is strange. Its shadows lie. Say, tell me, why does its lock fit my key?” I don't know about you, but this resonates deep within me. It's the story of growing up, of finding yourself. Of finding out that home, for good or bad, has made a lasting impression on you, and, just maybe, you can reconcile yourself with that. Perhaps, on a grander scale, it is also a reconciliation to the awareness and owning of our country, good and bad. I love the book for the imagery of the time that it invokes, and for the depth of each character that the author gives us. I love the use of many literary styles, and the fact that the book is still very accessible. I love the ending. Here is the low down: Frank is a Korean vet who was treated equally in the war but slips back into segregated America as it if it is still the norm, which is a good subtle shock for the modern reader, so far away from it. But Frank has bigger worries, mainly that he is haunted by the war. This book is the story of his quest to find his sister, and during his travels he finds himself. This is a very American theme, in the fashion of Mark Twain and Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain). Frank breaks through and speaks to the reader, and occasionally to the author; this is a highly effective, somewhat twisted, way to jar the reader out of the story itself and into deeper thought. Toni Morrison is skilled enough to pull it off. Cee (Ycidra) is Frank's sister, who thinks that maybe she'd have learned to think for herself if Frank hadn't been there to constantly protect her. She is an accident waiting to happen, a consummate victim, although she doesn't try to be, so trouble finds her when Frank leaves for the war. She and Frank bind each other to this earth, and eventually save each other, once they learn their own self worth. Something in that reminds me of Celie in the Color Purple, and Cee's story is very much an American girl coming of age story, with the honest portrayal of the plight of the black woman. There are other memorable characters, some snapshots, some deeper, and plenty of themes, all delivered in a punch at 160 pages on my Kindle. Morrison trueists don't like this book very much because it doesn't use the magical realism style that they all love. If that includes you, know that this is American realism fiction, and take the time to think deeper than the story. Ask yourself how the author is so talented to make us care in such a short time. Look at the wording and sentences, and see how she shows rather than tells. Search for all those little details that make the writing so good. Learn from a living legend, who makes you dissatisfied with the humdrum.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    Many of the seventeen chapters in this novella appear as isolated short stories spread out in random chronology, told from multiple narrative perspectives, and coming to the reader as puzzle pieces to assemble into a coherent whole. Once assembled the story tells of the reluctant return in the early 1950s of an African American to his hometown in rural Georgia. About a year earlier he had been released from a newly integrated Korean War era U.S. Army into a country that was still segregated. We Many of the seventeen chapters in this novella appear as isolated short stories spread out in random chronology, told from multiple narrative perspectives, and coming to the reader as puzzle pieces to assemble into a coherent whole. Once assembled the story tells of the reluctant return in the early 1950s of an African American to his hometown in rural Georgia. About a year earlier he had been released from a newly integrated Korean War era U.S. Army into a country that was still segregated. We learn he is haunted by war memories and suffers physical symptoms that we today diagnose as PTSD. As the puzzle pieces of the novel come together the reader learns the torturous back story of his family forcibly removed from Texas when he was a child. The family fled to Georgia because of relatives there, but this home was a place from which to escape at the first opportunity. He's compelled to return home to save his sister, from what at first is not clear. Eventually, we learn it is to save her from a rogue white doctor's life threatening medical experiments. Both he and his sister did not fare well after leaving this hometown, so now they need to return for healing—she from physical abuse and he from war trauma. A scene from early in the book comes full circle at the end when he and his sister return to rebury a body—a symbol of closure and healing. After many years of reading books I have developed my own rule for determining whether a novel qualifies for the distinction of being literary fiction. If the book is entertaining and enjoyable, it's not literary fiction. If the reading experience is equivalent of taking bitter medicine, something you would never do except that it's suppose to be good for you, then it's literary fiction. This book qualifies as literary fiction. Update 4-26-2021: After writing the above review I participated in an on-line discussion of the book. Another participant shared that many reviewers note the account in Home of a Korean War veteran traveling from Portland to Atlanta through the obstacles of a segregated USA is akin to the wonderings of the Ulysses epic. The name of the rural hometown that he and his sister ultimately reach is named "Lotus." Lotus eaters from Ulysses caused travelers in that epic to lose their memory and desire for home. Also, the last name of the protagonist in Home is "Money." The name of the town where Emmett Till was murdered is Money, Mississippi. These are most probably very deliberate coincidences that were carefully selected by the author. Another interesting thing that was pointed out at this meeting was that nowhere in the text are there adjectives used to describe the race of a character, but their race is obvious to the reader because of the way they speak to each other and the ways in which they treat each other. This is particularly true of the rogue doctor character. Because of the history of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and Marion Sims it's clear what sort of person the author had in mind.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Who else but Toni Morrison could write a powerful novel about 1950s racist America in less than 150 pages? Frank Money, scarred from his experience fighting in Korea, pulls himself out of his own trauma to help his sister and find his way home. Toni Morrison is an amazing writer!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Sciuto

    "Home" by Toni Morrison lacks the amazing and breathtaking descriptions in so many of her other books. It lacks the many fascinating, well-developed characters in her other books, and it lacks the magical and lyrical backdrop that she is so famous for, but what it doesn't lack is its brilliance. "Home" is a short novel, 147 pages, and the word count is probably one-fourth her usual word count in books like "Paradise" and "Beloved." Frank, is a Korean war veteran who with two other friends joins t "Home" by Toni Morrison lacks the amazing and breathtaking descriptions in so many of her other books. It lacks the many fascinating, well-developed characters in her other books, and it lacks the magical and lyrical backdrop that she is so famous for, but what it doesn't lack is its brilliance. "Home" is a short novel, 147 pages, and the word count is probably one-fourth her usual word count in books like "Paradise" and "Beloved." Frank, is a Korean war veteran who with two other friends joins the army to get away from their rural hometown of Lotus. His two friends are killed in Korea, and on returning to the states he is traumatized by their deaths and what he experienced on the battlefield. Before leaving for the army, his main concern in life was taking care of his younger sister Cee. She is the only reason he would ever even think about going back to the town of Lotus. Frank receives a letter that unless he comes back to Lotus he most likely will never see his sister alive again because she is deadly sick. He goes back in the hope of rescuing her, and in so doing finds needed definition to his life. This novel is powerful, told in a simple narrative, and it will leave you asking question after question about what truly constitutes HOME. Ms. Morrison is a treasure, an amazing talent.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andre

    I read in a review that "Toni never puts language above story." I agree with that statement 100%, and the prioritizing of story is on full display in Home. This is a short book, but very fertile. How can she pack so much, in so thin a volume. The themes she touches on, each could be a full novel on its' own. Frank Money has returned from the Korean war, with a deep secret. He has covered this secret with mourning the lost of his two best friends, a "mourning..so thick it completely covered my sh I read in a review that "Toni never puts language above story." I agree with that statement 100%, and the prioritizing of story is on full display in Home. This is a short book, but very fertile. How can she pack so much, in so thin a volume. The themes she touches on, each could be a full novel on its' own. Frank Money has returned from the Korean war, with a deep secret. He has covered this secret with mourning the lost of his two best friends, a "mourning..so thick it completely covered my shame." Frank and his sister Cee were close growing up, he four years older than her, acted as a big brother should. And his going off to war created a physical separation, but not a division of affection. So, after the war and despite his struggling with post traumatic stress and using alcohol to self heal and exorcise the war demons, when he hears his sister is in danger, he does not hesitate to make his way toward her and.... To say more would give away too much. The use of Frank addressing not only the reader but the author as well was marvelous. This was done, a few times briefly to kind of comment on how the story was unfolding to illustrious effect. The language in this book is simply beautiful, and for some reason it doesn't feel unfinished, as most short novels do. And the ending is brought full circle back to the beginning, all this in under 150 pages. In fact, the reading guide at the end brings up so many good questions you will be astonished as to how one could create that many queries in a short book. Can't think of a better way to spend a couple of hours. This may well be the best novel you read all year. You will be greatly rewarded for taking that time!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    A new novel by Toni Morrison is always cause for celebration in my world. In her tenth novel, she follows the life of Frank Money who escaped from his small Georgia town by joining the army, as so many disenfranchised young men have done. He fought in the Korean War and returned to America traumatized and troubled, only to find the same old racism under which he had always lived. Adrift, half crazy, he gets a message that his only sibling is at death's door. So he leaves the only person who has A new novel by Toni Morrison is always cause for celebration in my world. In her tenth novel, she follows the life of Frank Money who escaped from his small Georgia town by joining the army, as so many disenfranchised young men have done. He fought in the Korean War and returned to America traumatized and troubled, only to find the same old racism under which he had always lived. Adrift, half crazy, he gets a message that his only sibling is at death's door. So he leaves the only person who has brought him peace to go to her rescue. He is an African American Odysseus. Home is an exercise in restrained understatement, an exposition of Toni Morrison's recurring themes that morphs from the tale of a black man who fought for freedom to the story of a black woman who learns the true price of freedom. It seems to me that ever since Toni Morrison became the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature, literary critics have mostly criticized the novels she has written. Paradise-heavy-handed foreshadowing and contrived plot devices; Love-haphazard; A Mercy-fared better but some complained it was too slight. Home has been called too short, too plain, too simple, lacking emotion. I admire this writer. I am enthralled by anything she writes. Judging by reader review in such places as Amazon and Goodreads, so do most readers. Thankfully she does not write for the critics. She obviously writes for readers. Home reads like a blues song, like an epic poem. It has a symmetry and balance which sang to me as a former songwriter. It is in fact short, it is not on the surface "luminous" or "lyrical," but like any classic epic or song, it moves along, circles back, and tells of lives being lived and lessons being learned.

  25. 5 out of 5

    La Tonya Jordan

    A marvoulous novel of coming home and going full circle. Raised in rural Georiga. Drafted into the Vietnam war. Returning, after the war, to save his sister realizing life and love is where it all begins. Going through racial hatred, self-hatred, and the dangerous of life. A must read. Toni Morrison writing is vibrant, vivid, and powerful. A must buy and read for all times. A Must Read For Everyone. A must read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Roy

    – The divine Toni Morrison has been giving us shorter novels to enjoy lately. As with A Mercy, Home comes in at an unintimidating page count. But in this novel, in addition to brevity (it can easily be read over the course of a day if you have some spare time) we are also gifted with greater accessibility. Many non-book readers, and non literary fiction readers, steer clear of Toni Morrison because her exquisite use of language does not make for light reading. Her poetic verse can be challenging – The divine Toni Morrison has been giving us shorter novels to enjoy lately. As with A Mercy, Home comes in at an unintimidating page count. But in this novel, in addition to brevity (it can easily be read over the course of a day if you have some spare time) we are also gifted with greater accessibility. Many non-book readers, and non literary fiction readers, steer clear of Toni Morrison because her exquisite use of language does not make for light reading. Her poetic verse can be challenging to those unable/unwilling to sit still and focus. If you have been avoiding her magnificent body of work for these reasons, avoid no more. Home is the book for you. Morrison’s prose, which remains as lush and eloquent as ever, is more straight forward here than in her previous books. Faithful fans will get their fill and I encourage new ones to jump on board. Just don’t expect a leisurely beach read. She has not gone quite that far. A synopsis comes easily, contained in one sentence. A veteran of the Korean War, haunted by blood soaked memories of his time there, returns to his hometown in Georgia to rescue his ailing sister. Along the way, Toni Morrison paints the backdrop of their lives. Cee has spent the majority of hers dependent on the kindness or lack of it displayed by those she encounters via circumstance. Frank comes back to save her life, but in order to claim and do something of worth with it, Cee realizes she must develop her own inner strength. Frank is wrestling too many demons to always reliably be her hero. Much has changed over the course of the years since Frank last set foot in the town where they were raised. Plenty remains more or less the same. Home is there to provide familiar comforts, even though our return to it is inevitably in the form of a different version of ourselves.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

    A different view of 1950's America than given by Hollywood's clean 'Doris Day' version. This is a dirtier, poorer America where we meet traumatized, Korean War veteran Frank returning home from the war. Returning to an America who had not accepted him or his colour before and moreso now, eventhough he has more than paid his dues. His America is an America that even makes it difficult for him to travel from one place or another, a place without any wall of safety where he can rest a bit. I real A different view of 1950's America than given by Hollywood's clean 'Doris Day' version. This is a dirtier, poorer America where we meet traumatized, Korean War veteran Frank returning home from the war. Returning to an America who had not accepted him or his colour before and moreso now, eventhough he has more than paid his dues. His America is an America that even makes it difficult for him to travel from one place or another, a place without any wall of safety where he can rest a bit. I really loved the resiliant strong women who help Cee - they are a balm to the little everyday aggressions that threaten to bring us down. "The women handled sickness as though it were an affront, an illegal, invading braggart who needed whipping. They didn't waste their time or the patient's with sympathy and they met the tears of the suffering with resigned contempt."

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rosemari

    I never have time to review anything seriously, but I'm always reading. "Home" was a real surprise & I have too much respect for Morrison to accept that this book was as formulaic as I found it. There has to be something else there. Please let me know if you found it. However, I wasn't thrilled about "a mercy" as well. It too I found formulaic. I'm going to give it some time and read them both again. I read "Song of Solomon" again recently and was blown away, weeping at the end. I was astounded I never have time to review anything seriously, but I'm always reading. "Home" was a real surprise & I have too much respect for Morrison to accept that this book was as formulaic as I found it. There has to be something else there. Please let me know if you found it. However, I wasn't thrilled about "a mercy" as well. It too I found formulaic. I'm going to give it some time and read them both again. I read "Song of Solomon" again recently and was blown away, weeping at the end. I was astounded by the depth of Morrison's narrative and the complexity in almost every character. Toni Morrison is my Shakespeare.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ruby

    I loved this book. Toni Morrison is a brilliant writer. I appreciated the different voices she used, alternating between Frank, one of the main characters, and the omniscient narrator. Frank is directly talking to someone, and Morrison never reals to whom, leaving that to the reader's imagination. She also describes horrific racist and misogynistic acts in clear and even terse language that makes them the everyday occurrences in the lives of black people that they were in the era in which Home i I loved this book. Toni Morrison is a brilliant writer. I appreciated the different voices she used, alternating between Frank, one of the main characters, and the omniscient narrator. Frank is directly talking to someone, and Morrison never reals to whom, leaving that to the reader's imagination. She also describes horrific racist and misogynistic acts in clear and even terse language that makes them the everyday occurrences in the lives of black people that they were in the era in which Home is set and, of course, today as well. I also loved how she described the community coming together in times of hardship and crisis, no matter what their relationships had been before and might be again.

  30. 5 out of 5

    M. Ainomugisha

    No matter how haunting the subject matter is, Toni will write it with all the tenderness and lyrical precision available to her. Black people coming to their own rescue was most luminous in this work. Quick and easy to enjoy!

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