Download Song of Solomon (English Edition)Author Toni Morrison –

Macon Dead III has grown up in Michigan, the son of a harsh, property owning landlord and the local black doctor s daughter In the course of the book, he will travel to the South, to Virginia, where he will learn about the history of his family, his metaphorical roots, and to some degree, find his own identity and the meaning of his life.Sometimes it depends when we read a story how much we connect to it, and unfortunately I read this at a time when I probably wasn t giving it the attention it requires I m not therefore going to try to write an in depth review these are simply my feelings about the book, which I found disappointing.The prose is very good, of course, sometimes excellent, though never with the power of some of the prose in Beloved in my view The story takes forever to kick off, well into the second half before I felt I had any clear idea of what the book was attempting to be about The last third or so was considerably interesting and enjoyable than the rest of the book which dragged along at a snail s pace replacing narrative drive with heavy handed and yet still obscure symbolism.Most of the characters have Biblical names and I assume that s supposed to have some significance I freely admit that, as a lifelong atheist, my knowledge of Bible stories is sketchy, but I couldn t tie what little I knew about the Biblical originals to the characters at all Maybe this was a failing on my part, but I can usually cope with religious symbolism well enough Here I found the names and my attempt to see their relevance a distraction The symbolism regarding flight and African folklore worked rather better for me.The other thing that bothered me may well again say about me than the book namely, that the lives of the people in this black community seem full of self created ugliness and near bestiality Everything is about sex or bodily functions no one seems to even try to lift themselves above the animal passions, intellectually or morally Is urinating on other people normal in black American communities I wouldn t have though so, but it seems to be in this one Maybe that s symbolic too, but of what Necrophilia, incest, women suckling their sons in a highly sexualised way, women wanting to kill or die for the loss of lovers, men beating women and each other I longed for at least a couple of characters to connect on a rational rather than a physical level To a degree in the early part of the book, Macon and his childhood friend Guitar achieve this, but their friendship gradually distorts into a strange and unconvincing kind of violent hatred.I wondered if perhaps Morrison was trying to show how the history of slavery and subjugation had brutalised black culture, with perhaps even a call to arms for black people to support and lift each other rather than submitting to the characterisation and caricaturing allocated to them by the dominant white culture But I felt maybe I was inventing that to give me some reason not to simply be a bit revolted by it all I reckon if a white author had portrayed black people like this there would have been outrage, and in my view, rightly so So I gave myself permission to be outraged anyway, since I ve never fully bought into the idea that being part of a culture confers a greater right to abuse and demean it I found myself asking if African American culture is really as debased and degraded as this portrayal suggests, how did Toni Morrison manage to rise from it And what on earth is the significance of Pilate having no navel Nope, I feel I either didn t understand this at all, or else there s nothing much to understand beneath the over heavy symbolism and the basic story of the history of slavery and racism and its resonating, brutalising impact although the eloquent prose made it readable and even enjoyable in parts Apologies to all who love it Maybe I ll read it again sometime when I m in a receptive frame of mind Or maybe not. Recommend.I can t really add anything to the numerous reviews of this book, other than to say it is well worth a read Beautiful, evocative writing sets this sweeping novel apart I didn t like the central character Milkman I preferred the women characters to the men characters throughout but this didn t distract from the thought proking, informative read. The Song of Solomon really is the most extraordinary novel I read it, then,after starting to write a review, realised how much I had missed, went right back to the start and read it right through again It is a novel which weaves in so many themes and is so rich in imagery, it feels as if it should physically burst its covers Even now, after reading it twice I feel as if I have only a superficial understanding, constrained my lack of knowledge of the bible and of Greek mythology.To do the book a disservice, and to boil it down to the simplest essence, it is the story of the quest of one man to discover the history of his grandparents and great grandparents This is, however, no linear quest, the story is told episodically, with author the author wandering through a plethora of different themes of the human condition, the African American experience, gender politics, revenge vs forgiveness, etc etc Just to step one level away from the quest for knowledge, Song of Solomon is fundamentally about a search for identity.Milkman real name Macon Dead is the son of an affluent slum landlord, also called Macon Dead His is a thoroughly dysfunctional family His parents fight a continuous psychological war His sisters Magdalena called Lena and First Corinthians have been expensively educated to the point where they can t find a role in a class and race riven society In seeking to escape this, Macon strikes up friendships with Guitar, firmly from the other side of the tracks and with his father s estranged sister Pilate Unlike her brother, she is joyously unrespectable, living a sensuous life with no materialistic motivations.Macon lives a pretty feckless existence, one in which the seven deadly sins appear close to being a blueprint for his life, but it is one of these, greed, and a hunt for mythical gold which sets him off on his life changing journey.Probably the strongest theme and image of the book is that of flight, but it is a highly ambiguous metaphor Right from the start to the end there is the question of whether It is a symbol of power and escape or of self delusion and suicide What is , it is also at the centre of the book s gender politics, as male characters, Milkman included, carelessly abandon women in their flights to freedom While I empathised with Milkman s search for his identity, he is also, possibly until a revelation towards the end, an extremely unsympathetic portrait of maleness In one telling section in the centre of the book, young maleness is typified as being a combination of shallow flippancy and reckless thrill seeking.Naming also plays a vital part in the imagery of a Song of Solomon Alongside flight, the search of African Americans for their true names rather than those given by white slavers is crucial to the plot indeed it could be argued that Milkman is dead until he learns the true identities of his grandparents through a children s naming rhyme.This is absolutely an African American novel with white America appearing only intermittently in the background as a broadly malign entity, excluding and guiltlessly murdering African Americans White liberals take a bit of a kicking in the character of a middle class poet who glories in Lena s education while employing her as a maid The darker side of racial politics is embodied in Guitar, who joins a low level terrorist group and whose presence in the novel asks questions about what is the proper response to omnipresent and occasionally violent oppression Milkman and Guitar s greed which damages their friendship is symbolised by the bling to use modern slang of a white peacock.In addressing issues of race, Morrison doesn t portray African American society in any idealised way She writes of a very human society troubled with sexism, snobbery, jealousy, violence and any number of flaws and vices one could care to name In fact, another way of looking at Song of Solomon is as a book of contrasts, black v white, male vs female, materialistic vs emotional, aspirational vs nurturing, forgiving vs revenge, responsibility vs freedom.After flight and naming, the third dominant image was for me that of circularity and repetition with characters right through the four generations of the book making the same mistakes in their search for freedom This takes its strongest form in the heartbreaking deaths of two of the main female characters which directly mirror events three and four generations earlier.So, I could go on talking about this marvellous book, finding and in it, but perhaps I should finish just by saying it s wonderful, read it. One of the most beautiful books I have read A son is conceived, by magic, into a strange and strained middle class black family An outcast from the moment he is born, hated by his father and held too close by his mother, he dreams of flying away.Macon Dead, named after his father and grandfather, survives numerous attempts to his life, which begin while he is still in the womb When he leaves home in search of gold he finds and loses something far precious his people.Song of Solomon is an enchanting and beautifully told story A well deserved classic of 20th century literature. Song of Solomonprofoundly changed my life Marlon James Macon Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighbourhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly In s America Macon learns about the tyranny of white society from his friend Guitar, though he is concerned with escaping the familial tyranny of his own father So while Guitar joins a terrorist group Macon goes home to the South, lured by tales of buried family treasure But his odyssey back home and a deadly confrontation with Guitar leads to the discovery of something infinitely valuable than gold his past and the origins of his true selfThe story of Milkman Dead and Guitar had me in thrall Salman Rushdie, New York Times BY THE NOBEL PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR OF BELOVED Winner of the PEN Saul Bellow award for achievement in American fiction I hear that tony Morrison died and i wanted to be introduced to her writting, what a great start the story is engaging the writing captivating and the topic so relevant to today that i was shocked I was crying and laughing out loud on the tube..A must Read book This is the first novel by Toni Morrison that I ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it I was completely immersed in the time and place in which the story is set This book was recommended to me and is definitly one of the most captivating novels that I have read. A poetic and social portrait of Macon Dead Jr s family The novel title pulls me to the dreaming world I love the minimalist cover with the butterfly, the characters names bring them to life I still remember numerous extracts from the book, which shows how much it influenced me One of my favorite books. I will start off by saying that Song of Solomon is not the kind of book I would generally read, any reading it has opened up the literacy horizons for the future The story of the young main character Milkman as he grows up in post WWII America was a griping one, illustrating with detailed imagery the life of a young African American growing up at the time His troubles with his family an very engrossing and the journey of understanding his family and heritage captivated me, holding my attention and even surprising me as Milkman embarks of a whirlwind journey of discovery The characters of the book captivated me and each one evoked varying emotions from anger and pity to Macon Dead II to wonder and puzzlement towards Pilate Song of Solomon was an very enjoyable read that hooked me in with complex family problems and emotional distrust I highly recommend reading this book, especially if like me you have not read a genre such as this before. Good