August 9th, 2019 | Updated on October 22nd, 2020
The Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison has died at the age of 88. Morrison was a beacon in African-American culture, whose acclaimed, best-selling work explored black identity in America. Toni has left an indelible impression on the literary world.
Here, we list some of Toni Morrison’s best-known novels, which are known for their epic themes, exquisite language and richly detailed African American characters who are central to their narratives.
The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison‘s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, growing up in Lorain, Ohio—Morrison’s hometown, who prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America.
The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons’s most powerful, unforgettable novels– and a significant work of American fiction.
Winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this novel is arguably Morrison’s most well-known. 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. Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.
With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. It follows the life of Macon Dead, Jr., Milkman, and the many mysteries plus unforgettable characters that surround him.
Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly.
Sula takes you through the lives and diverging paths of two black friends: Nel and Sula. Together, they create an unforgettable portrait of what it means and costs to be a black woman in America.
Set in 1920s Harlem, this historical story depicts the dramatic love triangle of door-to-door salesman Joe, his wife Violet, and his teenage girlfriend Dorcas. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.
Toni Morrison’s first novel since she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, this rich and moving novel chronicles the events that lead to a shocking act of violence in Ruby—a patriarchal all-Black Oklahoma town.
7. Tar Baby
Tar Baby is Toni Morrison’s reinvention of the love story. It’s a novel about contentions and conflicts based on learned biases and prejudices.
America’s most celebrated novelist, Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison’s spellbinding novel is a narrative of passion and hatred, power and perversity, color and class that spans three generations of black women in a fading beach town.
9. A Mercy
A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart, like Beloved, it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter.
A deeply moving novel about an apparently defeated man finding his manhood – and his home. A taut and tortured story about one man’s desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war.