Song of Solomon is the second published novel written by Toni Morrison, a winner of the Nobel Prize in literature (1993). Though she was awarded the Nobel Prize sixteen years after writing Song of Solomon, and published many other literary works in between, this novel still contains the eloquent poetic writing signature to Morrison’s style.
Song of Solomon tells the story of a young upper middle-class African American man coming of age in Michigan during the 1960s. Macon Dead, better known as Milkman, tries to find his own place in the world instead of relying on the reputation of his predecessors. In doing so, Milkman encounters a slew of colorful, interesting characters that fly off the page. Traveling from Michigan to Pennsylvania to Virginia and back searching for his true place in the world as it is to him, Milkman travels his passage to manhood in a way he least expects it and only realizes the necessity of his journey once he arrivals at its end.
As the main character wades through the lessons of his grandfather, a physician celebrated for his academic accomplishments but hated for his social politics, and his father, a real estate success who places too much value on material things, the reader is submerged in the unmatched wordsmithing of Morrison and her natural talent for creating all too realistic character dialogue. Morrison gives each character a unique voice in which the reader can independently interpret emotion rather than it being told through the author’s story telling. The characters come alive through conversation in a way only Morrison can imagine, and tell, a story.
“How can he not love your hair? It’s the same hair that grows out of his own armpits. The same hair that crawls up out his crotch on up his stomach. All over his chest. The very same. It grows out of his nose, over his lips, and if he ever lost his razor it would grow all over his face. It’s all over his head, Hagar. It’s his hair too. He got to love it…..He don’t know what he loves, but he’ll come around, honey, one of these days. How can he love himself and hate your hair?” ~Pilate
Subsequently and equally impressive Morrison writes the parallel stories of the women surrounding Milkman, effortlessly giving the reader insight into African American culture, dialogue, pressures and threats during the time period in which the novel takes place. In this fictional tale Ruth, Corinthians, Magdalene, Pilate, Reba, Hagar and Sweet are the true conquerors. Even in a small exchange of a grandmother answering her grand-daughter's question of why the man she loves doesn’t love her or her hair, Morrison manages to ask a larger equivocal question. One that addresses the humanity of self-loathing manifesting in ways we don't expect...in ways even a loving grandmother can't rationalize. Any reader will find shades of pillars peppering their own life journey in the hearts of these masterfully developed characters. Rather learning true life lessons through their eyes.
Ever eventful, this novel is full of wisdom, lies, deception, secrets, assassins and much more; sure to keep the reader’s attention -fully entertained. At the very least, the reader is graced with experiencing a talent that has forever woven itself into American History as one of the greatest story tellers of all time.
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xoxoxoxoxox -Happy Reading My friends!
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