About two weeks ago, legendary American author – and winner of prizes both Nobel and Pulitzer – Toni Morrison received The White House Medal of Honor, over which I totally had French kittens. The news of this made me revisit how much I love love love this author, to whom I was introduced back in high school with her 1976 novel Song of Solomon. It continues to one of my favourite novels ever; I even have a couple of posts about my
obsession with love for this book. And, as promised in my second post about this novel, I’m about to write a third. So, to preface that third post, and to celebrate – albeit belatedly – Toni receiving this prestigious award, I am going to dedicate this post to her wonderfulness.
I was going to write a mini-biography on her, but this one from New York Magazine is so effing incredible I’ll just post the link to it here. Instead, I’ll post a “book-ography” of her work, from 1970’s The Bluest Eye to the recently published Home.
But first, I’ve gotta say this: Fifty Shades of Grey is NOT a literary phenomenon. It’s all hype and sensationalism. I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again: just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it’s good. Now, Toni Morrison? She is a literary phenomenon. Her work reflects her preternatural intelligence, her willingness to represent the world as it is in all its ugliness, yet, through the genius and magnificence of her prose, make it sound beautiful. And above all, her mastery of language and storytelling is nearly unparalleled. Her work has resonated for over forty years and will continue to do so, because her understanding of human nature and all its flaws – much like Shakespeare – is something we can all relate to.