A review by abbie_
Sula, by Toni Morrison

challenging dark reflective medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
Being back in Toni Morrison's prose is like being wrapped in an exquisite blanket of words. She does things with the English language that are just beyond mere mortal comprehension. Although Sula is only 170ish pages, there's so much within these pages, it has the richness and complexity of a 500-page novel, and none of the fat.
Sula is many things, but it's mainly based around Sula and Nel, best friends from their childhood years who grow up and take very different paths. Nel conforms essentially: stays in her hometown, marries and has kids, while Sula leaves town and isn't heard from for years... Until one day she comes back. Her reappearance sets off an intense reaction in the town, as Sula becomes the scapegoat for the town's grievances, projected onto her. Scared by her strength and independence, Sula is even labelled a witch by some.
As well as female friendship and what it means to be a Black woman in America refusing to adhere to social conventions, Morrison touches upon other issues too. She also includes some of the most jaw-dropping scenes I've read recently! There were I think at least four moments where I literally had to put the book down for a bit and process what I'd just read. Then the ending is a force unto itself. One of those endings that will be seared into your brain forever.
This was @thestackspod book club pick for August, and if you've read it then you definitely need to go and listen to Traci unpack this book with author Brit Bennett! I particularly appreciated their discussion on the role of humour in the book - go check it out!