Review: Sula

by Toni Morrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sula / 0-452-28386-8

"I didn't take him from you - it's not like I killed him." This is the sentiment of a woman: pained, shocked, quietly unsure of why she is being punished for such a "small" crime, years after she is confronted about her affair with her best friend's husband.

What can kill a friendship? "Sula" explores this question deeply, following the lives of two very different girls, one who is happy to remain in her home town, marry, and live happily ever; the other who prefers to wander the earth far and wide. When Sula returns to her hometown, she is welcomed openly by her old friend, who painfully realizes that the social norms that she has taken for granted for so long will not be respected by Sula, who has internalized a new, very different set of acceptable behaviors.

Is there any sin that cannot be forgiven, as long as no "lasting" damage is done? What qualifies as "lasting" damage - is it a physical loss only? What about emotional losses, do they not count because these losses cannot be seen or touched? Certainly, emotional losses can be experienced as deeply as physical ones. "Sula" explores this bewildering idea deeply, emerging with no real answers, but with much food for thought.

~ Ana Mardoll

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