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THE BLUEST EYE chronicles the tragic, torn lives of a poor black family in 1940s Ohio: Pauline, Cholly, Sam and Pecola. Pecola, unlovely and unloved, prays each night for blue eyes like those of her privileged blond white schoolfellows. She becomes the focus of the mingled love and hatred engendered by her family's frailty and the world's cruelty as the novel moves toward a savage but poignant resolution.
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Oprah Book Club® Selection, April 2000: Originally published in 1970, The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's first novel. In an afterword written more than two decades later, the author expressed her dissatisfaction with the book's language and structure: "It required a sophistication unavailable to me." Perhaps we can chalk up this verdict to modesty, or to the Nobel laureate's impossibly high standards of quality control. In any case, her debut is nothing if not sophisticated, in terms of both narrative ingenuity and rhetorical sweep. It also shows the young author drawing a bead on the subjects that would dominate much of her career: racial hatred, historical memory, and the dazzling or degrading power of language itself.
Set in Lorain, Ohio, in 1941, The Bluest Eye is something of an ensemble piece. The point of view is passed like a baton from one character to the next, with Morrison's own voice functioning as a kind of gold standard throughout. The focus, though, is on an 11-year-old black girl named Pecola Breedlove, whose entire family has been given a cosmetic cross to bear:
You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction. It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question.... And they took the ugliness in their hands, threw it as a mantle over them, and went about the world with it.There are far uglier things in the world than, well, ugliness, and poor Pecola is subjected to most of them. She's spat upon, ridiculed, and ultimately raped and impregnated by her own father. No wonder she yearns to be the very opposite of what she is--yearns, in other words, to be a white child, possessed of the blondest hair and the bluest eye.
This vein of self-hatred is exactly what keeps Morrison's novel from devolving into a cut-and-dried scenario of victimization. She may in fact pin too much of the blame on the beauty myth: "Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another--physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion." Yet the destructive power of these ideas is essentially colorblind, which gives The Bluest Eye the sort of universal reach that Morrison's imitators can only dream of. And that, combined with the novel's modulated pathos and musical, fine-grained language, makes for not merely a sophisticated debut but a permanent one. --James MarcusFrom the Back Cover:
"This story commands attention, for it contains one black girl's universe."
"Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye is an inquiry into the reasons why beauty gets wasted in this country. The beauty in this case is black. [Miss Morrison's prose is] so precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry...I have said 'poetry,' but The Bluest Eye is also history, sociology, folklore, nightmare and music."
--John Leonard, The New York Times
"A fresh, close look at the lives of terror and decorum of those Negroes who want to get on in a white man's world...A touching and disturbing picture of the doomed youth of [the author's] race."
--L.E. Sissman, The New Yorker
"A profoundly successful work of fiction...so controlled, so good...with the same clean precision that Sherwood Anderson used to carve his troubled little town...Taut and understated, harsh in its detachment, sympathetic in its truth...it is an experience."
--Gary Blonston, Detroit Free Press
"The freshest, most precise language I've run across in years...Toni Morrison is a wizard."
--John A. Williams
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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Read the searing first novel from the celebrated author of Beloved, which immerses us in the tragic, torn lives of a poor black family in post-Depression 1940s Ohio. Unlovely and unloved, Pecola prays each night for blue eyes like those of her privileged white schoolfellows. At once intimate and expansive, unsparing in its truth-telling, The Bluest Eye shows how the past savagely defines the present. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison's virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterised her writing.'She revealed the sins of her nation, while profoundly elevating its canon. She suffused the telling of blackness with beauty, whilst steering us away from the perils of the white gaze. That's why she told her stories. And why we will never, ever stop reading them' Afua Hirsch 'Discovering a writer like Toni Morrison is rarest of pleasures' Washington Post'When she arrived, with her first novel, The Bluest Eye, she immediately re-ordered the American literary landscape' Ben Okri Winner of the PEN/Saul Bellow award for achievement in American fiction. Seller Inventory # AAZ9780099759911
Book Description Paperback. Condition: NEW. Brand New, We ship to PO , APO and FPO adresses in U.S.A .Choose Expedited Shipping for FASTER DELIVERY.Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed. Seller Inventory # IN_9780099759911
Book Description Random House 1999-03-04, London, 1999. paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 9780099759911
Book Description Vintage, 1999. Condition: New. 1999. First Thus. Paperback. A novel that immerses us in the tragic, torn lives of a poor black family - Pauline, Cholly, Sam and Pecola - in post-Depression 1940s Ohio. It shows how the past savagely defines the present. Unlovely and unloved, Pecola prays each night for blue eyes like those of her privileged white schoolfellows. Num Pages: 224 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 129 x 12. Weight in Grams: 166. . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780099759911
Book Description Vintage. Condition: New. 1999. First Thus. Paperback. A novel that immerses us in the tragic, torn lives of a poor black family - Pauline, Cholly, Sam and Pecola - in post-Depression 1940s Ohio. It shows how the past savagely defines the present. Unlovely and unloved, Pecola prays each night for blue eyes like those of her privileged white schoolfellows. Num Pages: 224 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 129 x 12. Weight in Grams: 166. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Seller Inventory # V9780099759911
Book Description Vintage Publishing. Paperback / softback. Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 3 working days. Seller Inventory # B9780099759911
Book Description Vintage Books, 1999. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0099759918
Book Description Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # ST0099759918. Seller Inventory # ST0099759918
Book Description Vintage, 1999. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 176 pages. 7.76x5.12x0.51 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # __0099759918
Book Description 1999. Paperback. Condition: New. Paperback. THE BLUEST EYE chronicles the tragic, torn lives of a poor black family in 1940s Ohio: Pauline, Cholly, Sam and Pecola. Pecola, unlovely and unloved, prays each night for blue.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 240 pages. 0.210. Seller Inventory # 9780099759911