“Song of Solomon,” the classic novel by Toni Morrison is the first of her highly-acclaimed novels that I ever read. That being said I felt like I was confused the entire time. I struggled mostly to understand the characters. I feel like the way that Morrison slowly develops the characters over more than 300 pages, also masterfully weaves a mystery about the characters, their lives, their past, and their family history.
The book centers around Macon “Milkman” Dead, son of Macon Dead, a black man who seems to be struggling with his identity, who he is and where he came from. He lives with his parents in Michigan, working for his father, collecting rent from his tenants. His aunt, whom his father will not speak to anymore, Pilate is a free-spirit who cares nothing about money and earns a living making bootleg liquor in her basement.
His grandfather was shot on his farm by a white man and Macon and Pilate flee from their home, Macon heads North to find a new life for himself, and Pilate heads back to Virginia, where she believes her “people” are from.
Years later, Milkman is lost. He doesn’t have a passion for anything in particular. He doesn’t love the woman he sleeps with on a regular basis, despite her desperation for him. Ultimately, his dissatisfaction with life leads him to retrace his family’s past from Michigan to Pennsylvania to Virginia and what he uncovers changes his perspective entirely.
Morrison’s writing was excellent. She is very poetic and eloquent in her writing. It was also the first novel she wrote from a third-party narrator from a male’s perspective. She was very persuasive in the way that she portrays Milkman and his heart and desires as a man. Up until the last chapter I hard a very hard time with this book, but in the end its resolution makes it all worth it.
This book was very good, and I wholly recommend it. Go get a copy today on Amazon!
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