When a Nobel Prize Winner takes three and a half years to produce a 150 page novel (small pages at that, large print, lots of white space) one might suspect she’s maybe coasting just a bit.
The jacket copy says this is the story of Frank Money, recently back from the Korean War, damaged with what we would now call Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. This must drive Toni Morrison nuts, because she writes best about women, and it’s also the story of his sister Cee, who’s damaged in other ways. The battle scenes in Korea are brutal. What Frank and Cee discover back home in Georgia makes those seem tame by comparison.
Home is intense. It’s distilled. It packs a punch. If you read it too fast, you’ll miss casual eloquence like “country women who loved mean.” It feels emotionally true, and shows clearly how the corrosive effects of racism explain behavior some of us might have trouble understanding.
In a way it’s silly to argue who’s the best living writer. On the other hand, who’s better?