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Random House, Inc.
Toni Morrison's first novel, The Bluest Eye (1970), was acclaimed as the work of an important talent, written--as John Leonard said in The New York Times--in a prose "so precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry."

Sula has the same power, the same beauty.

At its center--a friendship between two women, a friendship whose intensity first sustains, then injures. Sula and Nel--both black, both smart, both poor, raised in a small Ohio town--meet when they are twelve, wishbone thin and dreaming of princes.

Through their girlhood years they share everything--perceptions, judgments, yearnings, secrets, even crime--until Sula gets out, out of the Bottom, the hilltop neighborhood where beneath the sporting life of the men hanging around the place in headrags and soft felt hats there hides a fierce resentment at failed crops, lost jobs, thieving insurance men, bug-ridden the invisible line that cannot be overstepped.

Sula leaps it and roams the cities of America for ten years. Then she returns to the town, to her friend. But Nel is a wife now, settled with her man and her three children. She belongs. She accommodates to the Bottom, where you avoid the hand of God by getting in it, by staying upright, helping out at church suppers, asking after folks--where you deal with evil by surviving it.

Not Sula. As willing to feel pain as to give pain, she can never accommodate. Nel can't understand her any more, and the others never did. Sula scares them. Mention her now, and they recall that she put her grandma in an old folks' home (the old lady who let a train take her leg for the insurance)...that a child drowned in the river years ago...that there was a plague of robins when she first returned...

In clear, dark, resonant language, Toni Morrison brilliantly evokes not only a bond between two lives, but the harsh, loveless, ultimately mad world in which that bond is destroyed, the world of the Bottom and its people, through forty years, up to the time of their bewildered realization that even more than they feared Sula, their pariah, they needed her.

Baker & Taylor
The intense friendship shared by two Black women raised in a Ohio town changes when one of them leaves to roam the countryside and returns ten years later

Publisher: New York, Knopf; [distributed by Random House] 1974 [c1973]
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780394480442
Branch Call Number: MOR/


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RogerDeBlanck Jan 31, 2018

Sula is Toni Morrison’s second novel, first published in 1973. The book received high critical praise for its cast of unforgettable characters and its fine literary craftsmanship, a staple of every one of Morrison’s novels. Morrison’s many distinctive characters coalesce around the central relationship between two headstrong heroines in a small black town in Ohio. Nel Wright chooses to remain rooted to her community, while her childhood friend Sula Peace heads off for adventure beyond her rural upbringing. Years later Sula returns to her hometown as a reinvented self. The two women find themselves in a heated rivalry over how their different choices have shaped their lives. A rich and rewarding novel with prose so fluid and clear it defines the measure of excellence, Sula examines the diverging paths of two black women as they struggle to renew a friendship broken apart by the modern world.

Franln Sep 11, 2017

Toni Morrison has a compelling way to tell stories about tragic events happening to dysfunctional families.

Mar 20, 2017

Powerful, sometimes violent and unsettling second novel from Toni Morrison. A few commentators noted that they found a characters unsympathetic or sociopathic, but I think that's a limited way to read a novel. Plenty of great characters (Lady Macbeth, Captain Ahab, Milton's Satan) aren't likable. Probably not the Morrison novel to start with, but well worth reading.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

Bursting with evocative storytelling and beautiful language indicative of the author, Sula isn't the most gripping of Toni Morrison's early works, but is still worth the read.

Mar 02, 2016

Sula is the 2nd novel by Toni Morrison and was selected as one of the 12 finalists for the National Book Award. With the success of this book, Morrison would become a full-time novelist and the rest is history. This book basically concentrates on the struggle of African-Americans from the years 1919 to 1965. Basically, the only reference to White Racism is how the Whites cheated the African-Americans out of equal land for their labors. Like most Morrison novels, I had to read the first 50 pages or so and then start over, as the construction of her novels has so many seemingly disparate characters who all become related by the end of the novel.

Feb 25, 2015

This book was very compelling! By the end of the novel, it was almost majical to see the different heights and definition of love for the main characters:
Eva (Plum's mother): murdered her son out of love. Her character revealed to me the strength and power of a mother's love for her child and how love provides the momentum through which a mother will do anything to protect and care for her children.
Sula: To me, it was as if Sula thought love to be a "threatening force" without any moral attatchements, feelings, or concern, which led to her being very selfless and selfish which is represented several times throughout the novel.
Hannah (Sula's mother): To me, Hannah thought love is what you "do for" a person and is showed through materialistic things. For example, Hannah loved Sula but didn't like her, which raises the question, can you truly love someone without liking them. In the novel, it was as if Hannah was offended when Sula asked her if she loved her.
Nel (Sula's bestfriend & the wife of Jude): love is a "powerful force" that imperilled the boundaries of her indentity and personality
Another theme I extracted from the novel is sexism. Sula was thought of as the personifaction on evil because of her carelessness when it came to her body. However, Ajax could sleep with whomever he want without being condemned.
What did I learn: LOVE IS SUBJECTIVE!

susanbook123 Dec 08, 2013

Wrong book given. NYPL gave me "Interpretations of Toni Morrison's Sula which I now have to return to library and order Sula AGAIN.

Feb 03, 2013

I find it difficult to feel sympathetic for these characters except for Nel. The violence they exhibit, their remorseless deceptions, their cruelty to others and themselves are unexcusable whatever the circumstances and seem unnatural in any (civilized?) society. The style though is beautiful, lyric at points as in the description of the Bottom and its gentrification.

teal_tiger_lilly Aug 03, 2012

this book is very realistic .... as sula is snooping around and having sex with nels husband the society sula lives in begins to turn against her ... what many people didnt understand is that sula cared for her child and even spent long nights with plum
and the only thing that people didnt like was the fact that she was a prostitute...(kinda) at the end of the story nel cries and she realises how much she misses her child-hood friend SULA

Nov 08, 2007

Oprah's book club. I don't know why people like this. I think Sula is a sociopath.


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Jul 12, 2017

"He fought a rising hysteria that was not merely anxiety to free his aching feet; his very life depended on the release of the knots. Suddenly, without raising his eyelids, he began to cry."

Feb 26, 2015

"You say I'm woman and colored. Ain't that the same as being a man?"

sturner722 May 19, 2012

I don't want to make somebody else. I want to make myself- Sula

debwalker Oct 06, 2010

"And like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous."


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sturner722 May 19, 2012

sturner722 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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