Friday, May 18, 2012

The book I'm carrying around: Home by Toni Morrison

HomeHome by Toni Morrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, I'm not actually carrying this around anymore - I read it in about 2 days.  I had May 8 marked on my calendar and was in B&N by the end of the day to get Toni Morrison's newest novel.  Its a short novel, but of course, that doesn't mean it's a light and airy read.  It was as expected, as hoped for, full of her trademark thoughtfulness, beautiful language, and surprising turns.

This is what I knew about the book when I picked it up: It was Toni Morrison's newest novel, it was about a Korean War vet, Frank Money.  "Money. Of which we had none." As the character explains his name.

This is what I know now (no spoilers because I hate when I read a review and find out not only that the butler did it, but that there even was a butler):  We all leave home for some reason. We're either pushed or pulled, leaving from or going to.  Frank and his sister, Cee, both pushed themselves away from home, they were leaving to find something else, something hopefully better.  He joined the Army, she got married.  Their lives go on, and then when it seems that they have nowhere else to go, they begin their journey home.

The book is told in chapters that alternate between an interview with Frank and the story behind what he has said.  Its like watching a documentary.  I thought it was amusing when he seems to argue with the interviewer, in one section saying that what was written isn't what he said or meant, and in another, challenging her writing ability.  Speaking of his childhood, he says (and again, no spoiler; I purposely picked these lines because they are not plot-specific), "You don't know what heat is until you cross the border from Texas to Louisiana in the summer.  You can't come up with words that catch it. Trees give up.  Turtles cook in their shells.  Describe that if you know how."

So now, go get your copy and see for yourself if the writer knows how to come up with the words to tell Frank's story.  (I bet you'll agree that she does.)

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Atelier de Soyun said...

What a coincidence!! I am stopping by your blog first time and you're talking about Korean War... I am so~ tempted to check out this book. I am not a native english speaker, but I am sure I can recognize the beauty of author's writing style. Thanks for sharing this~

M. Reggie said...

Hey there! Love the review and especially appreciate the attention to spoiler sensitive material. I, also, (as you know) was literally "chomping at the bit" to read this novel. "Home" is simply put "exquisite" She definitively does come up with the words to relate Frank's story. It's hard to talk about the novel without relating information about the plot but suffice it to say, Ms. Morrison has crafted a story that encapsulates the journey many of us take throughout our lives, from initially wanting to do everything to "escape" home, growing to appreciate what we had, and accepting home for what it is flaws and all. Thanks again for the review.