What Happens When Poltergeist Meets Uncle Tom?
You get Toni Morrison’s classic novel, Beloved. Book #29.
So throughout this project, I’ve chosen to go into a lot of these novels “cold.” In other words, outside of my quick and simple preview of the book, I don’t dig into a lot of detail and backstory before I start reading.
I’m already familiar with some of the books, but, in many cases, I don’t know much at all about the novel I’m about to read. To name a few that started with me being totally ignorant: Gone With The Wind, Catch 22, I, Claudius, The Blind Assassin.
Add Beloved to that list.
I was expecting this novel by Toni Morrison to be a typical story of slaves struggling during the post-Civil War period, not unlike some of the things I read about in Gone With The Wind. But, within a few pages, I realized this one was going to be different.
Ghosts are up in there. Like, baby ghosts. All of the sudden I’m picturing a four-year-old little blonde girl in front of a TV screen in a dimly lit room. It’s all Poltergeistish, and chairs are flying through the room while lights flicker on and off. So, yeah, Beloved is a slave story, set in the 1870s, with ghosts. Baby ghosts. Kind of creepy. I don’t know about you, but, for me, baby ghosts fall just shy of clowns on the creep-o-meter.
Here’s the line where I realized Beloved was going to be a different kind of novel:
“Leave the place alone! Get the hell out!” A table rushed toward him and he grabbed its leg. Somehow he managed to stand at an angle and, holding the table by two legs, he bashed it about, wrecking everything, screaming back at the screaming house. “You want to fight, come on!”…The three of them, Sethe, Denver, and Paul D, breathed to the same beat, like one tired person. Another breathing was just as tired.
So, yeah, this is a bit like Uncle Tom meets Poltergeist. Ghosts and flying tables. Unusual, yes, but that makes the story all the more appealing–at least early in the game.
Any thoughts on the ghosts in Beloved? (Don’t spoil the plot!) Or any favorite ghost stories in general?