Get a free audiobook

Beloved

Written by: Toni Morrison
Narrated by: Toni Morrison
Length: 12 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but 18 years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe's new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

Toni Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1993 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She lives in Rockland County, New York, and Princeton, New Jersey.

©1987 Toni Morrison (P)1998 Random House, Inc.

What the critics say

"Toni Morrison is not just an important contemporary novelist but a major figure in our national literature." (New York Review of Books)
"A masterwork....Wonderful....I can't imagine American literature without it." (Los Angeles Times)

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    29
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    30
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A literary must read.

At first I wasn’t sold on Toni’s reading of Beloved - but then it was the best experience ever- the pace,tone and her obvious intimacy with characters made this a masterpiece.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

such a trip

it's a heavy read but if you can get past that than you'll experience a journey like no other. #Audible1

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

exceptional

Everyone should experience this book. It is life changing. The author's beautiful voice is perfect.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

skip this one

I think it's a great idea for a story. It's from a time period you don't read about much, and the core of the story was great. I found it Really hard to follow though. It jumps all over the place in time, and if you stop paying attention even for a second you don't know when you are or even which character's story you're following. It is probably better in print than in audio format so you could go back easily to figure out what's going on, but I can't say I'd recommend it to someone even in that format. I feel like she's taken a great story and made it boring. The reading was poor too - she takes breaths in weird places, and puts emphasis on strange words within sentences. I found it very hard to pay attention.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant Book!

This historically accurate novel is brilliantly written. The story was so engaging that I didn't want to turn it off, the imagery transported me to the 124 house easily and it was such a treat for it to be read by the author herself. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Great Narration, Hard to follow story

This i am sure is a good book, however it is so hard to follow, and not my type of story.

I cannot keep up with what really is going on, poetry not poetry, sex not sex, the narrator and author great voice, and narrative.

But maybe it is the story, it has no rhyme or reason. Is it about slavery? yes!

Is it a ghost story??? A book about depression? The day of Slavery was I am sure one of all of the struggles of women in slavery, but takes a long time to get into it.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mimi
  • Pacific Northwest
  • 2006-07-29

Perhaps best read on paper

Lyrical prose is woven into this story of a compelling period in our history. The story line is believable, and is an adept portrayal of how human beings can treat and react to each other. I believe I would have enjoyed this book much more if I had consumed it with my eyes instead of my ears. I missed the opportunity to go back a few pages to check a line or re-read a paragraph. The complexity of the story is at times like the quiet taste of a familiar herb in a vibrantly constructed meal - something you can't quite place, can't quite encompass on the first pass. I would recommend this book, with the reminder that other listeners may have the same problem maintaining grasp of the elusive thread. I've listened to several hundred books, and would place this in the top 50.

67 of 68 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Everett Leiter
  • New York, NY
  • 2006-07-11

You may not like this book.

Rated by the NY Times as the best American novel of the last 25 years, I decided to try *Beloved* by Toni Morrison. I had serious difficulty liking this book at first. It seemed to me that in the first hour or so of this book, the narrator *told* me how the characters felt. I thought, "Wouldn't it have been better to *show* me, rather than *tell* me?" I thought to myself, "Either Nobel Prize winning fiction is not what it used to be, or I am seriously deficient in my literary appreciation." I suspect that my own lack of appreciation was at fault, but I would be remiss if I did not mention that I frequently had difficulty staying awake, especially in the first half of this novel. "Suspense as taut as a rope," to quote the publisher, would not have been my tag for this book. Some friends told me, "Yes, Toni Morrison takes some getting used to." Others said, "Yes, I hear it's problematic to read. That's why I decided not to read it." Ultimately, I am very glad that I finished this book, because it had a powerful effect on me. The characters and the dilemmas they faced were fascinating and gripping. Be forewarned, however, that this novel requires active participation of the reader: it's some work to read it. The best way for me to describe it is to say that the novel contains a series of fragmentary episodes, often incompletely described. You, as the reader, have to try to piece together the events. There are abrupt shifts of time and place. Again, there is often no explicit guidance. The reader must infer where in time and place the narrative has jumped to. Perhaps, as a reader, I found it to be rather too arduous. However, in the last third or so of the novel, when all the pieces start coming together, the novel's accumulated effect was riveting. Now that I understand more about the novel's structure, I wonder whether I might enjoy re-reading (re-listening?) to it in a few years.

48 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • John R Williford
  • 2006-07-14

Author-read Books

I have just started listening to this book, and have decided that I will have to buy a printed copy and read its text concurrently while listening in order to make it to the end. This is the third audiobook I have purchased which is read aloud by its author, and it will be the last. I cannot understand Ms Morrison's pronunciation of many of the words. There is no differentiation in voice, so one doesn't know what character is talking or thinking. There are no pauses between the paragraphs or shifts in the time periods. [Contrast the amateurish reading of Beloved with the professionally read "The Sound and The Fury"--an even more diffcult book to follow.] Frankly, Ms Morrison is not a professional reader and subscribers are cautioned to listen to the sample [which I did not] before purchasing this audiobook. Unfortunately, Beloved is only available as an audiobook read by Ms Morrison. So readers of this review don't think I am picking on Toni Morrison, Charles Frazier's self-read of Cold Mountain suffers from the same deficiencies. Does any one know why the producers of audiobooks allow authors to read their own books? I will guess that it all has to do with retaining copyrights and royalties by the author and the author's agent.

103 of 115 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • Saint Helena, CA, USA
  • 2006-10-04

Amazing Book-Bad Audio Book

I love Tony Morrison, and think she is one of the best living authors. However, I had to quit this one--only the second time I have not completed an audiobook. The author reads the book in a monotonous wisper. The combination of her quiet voice and the lack of differentiation of the character's voices made it impossible to keep my attention.

Do yourself and Tony Morrison a favor by passing on this product and picking up the paper book. I have read several of her novels and they are amazing. This audiobook would also be improved by a professional actor/reader in lieu of the author (believe it or not).

52 of 58 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • sgonk
  • New York, NY USA
  • 2016-06-09

Incredible novel; not so incredible narration

The novel itself is incredible and powerful. The style is Faulknerian, the feeling it provides is somehow mystical and extremely "real" at the same time.

This should be considered part of the American Canon, assuming there is one (and, I think it is!).

However.

While in theory it sounds good to have the author read her own work, Toni Morrison's narration has two major flaws:

1. She whispers. Not a major problem in-and-of-itself, but the volume of the recording is so low that it made it difficult to listen to while walking in the city (my usual activity while listening).

2. She doesn't have the breath to read some of the passages in the book. She had to pause in the middle of sentences to the point that the art of her prose, and sometimes even the meaning of her words was lost.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Guillermo
  • Palo Alto, CA, United States
  • 2011-10-15

Great novel, poor performance

I don't think this is the place to do reviews of the stories, techniques or narrative structure in books, so I will not comment on the novel itself (a masterpiece, by the way).

The performance of Mrs. Morrison is not good. She has to catch her breath after each sentence and you can hear that. I tried several times to listen but I just couldn't stand it. It is annoying. Narration should be done by professional actors, not by the authors. Recording a book requires different skills than writing a book.

I'd rather sit down, open my hardcover edition and re-read the novel. I want my money back.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • Miami, FL, United States
  • 2006-06-13

Great literature!

This is the most important work of fiction in the last 25 years—according to a recent NY Times survey. The audio book, read by the author, is the most powerful work I have ever listened too—and that is saying a lot. I am practically addicted to my headphones, my connection to the real world while the rest of my body lives in Costa Rica.

This is not entertainment; it is literature—something that changes you. It is original and disturbing. It will affect your dream life. If you are the kind of person who does not dream, you will not be interested in it at all; if you do dream, be prepared for some scary trips; get ready for some changes in your life.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Peregrine
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 2007-11-23

Morrison is a terrible reader

Toni Morrison reads her own book as if she's constantly out of breath. She pauses in the middle of sentences and even in the middle of words, spewing out 3 or 4 words at a time. The content is brilliant, her reading is the worst I've ever heard. I gave up half-way and just read the book once I had time.

55 of 65 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Duke Silver
  • 2018-10-07

All the reviews are right, not a good Audiobook

She reads in a halted, slow, out of breath whisper. I had to speed it up to just make it bearable. The story is good but can get confusing, this is a book you should read and not listen to.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maureen H.
  • Lakewood, OH, USA
  • 2006-08-05

Perfect!

There's nothing like hearing the beautiful Music of Toni Morrison's voice reading her own work. You move as if between dream and reality, between rememory and illusion, between truth and time, alongside the complex, flawed and all-too-human characters. Of course, to some Caucasian listeners unaccustomed to the heavily dialectical reading, there may be some short adjustment. But if the listener is patient and attentive, and feels the words instead of trying to interpret them, the experience is profoundly moving and enlightening. Thank you Toni Morrison for giving such a rare and perfect gem to the audiobook world!

25 of 30 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cécile J.
  • 2017-10-30

Thank you Toni Morrison !

Such a poetical work read by the author is just perfect. I loved it and recommand it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jonas Lismont
  • 2019-10-14

I’m glad I downloaded the book despite the reviews

I found the performance of Mrs Morrison good - maybe not theatrical but still filled with soul and fine vibes!
The story is brilliant!
I’m grateful having heard this piece of art!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 2019-03-17

Amazing

What an honor to listen to such a rich and complex story told by the author herself !

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Taillefeunaille
  • 2017-11-27

annoying voice

The book itself is alright, but I honestly can't bear the author's voice and way of speaking

0 of 1 people found this review helpful