In this 10th novel by the Nobel Prize-winning author, an angry and self-loathing veteran of the Korean War, Frank Money, finds himself back in racist America after enduring trauma on the front lines that left him with more than just physical scars.
Home is gorgeous and intense, brutal yet heartwarming—and could only have been written by the author of Beloved and Sula. Deceptively slight, it is like a slingshot that wields the impact of a missile ... Home is as accessible, tightly composed and visceral as anything Morrison has written. The lush, biblical cadences for which she is known have partially given way to shorter, more direct sentences—which still have the capacity to leave a reader awestruck ... I felt I needed an inhaler or defibrillator or something to catch my breath while reading this devastating, deeply humane—and ever-relevant—book.
Her new novel, Home, is a surprisingly unpretentious story from America’s only living Nobel laureate in literature ... This scarily quiet tale packs all the thundering themes Morrison has explored before. She’s never been more concise, though, and that restraint demonstrates the full range of her power ... a transparent narrator who re-creates scenes and conveys dialogue in sharp but unadorned prose—no ghosts, no magical realism, none of the famous (or infamous) impressionism that so annoyed John Updike ... Morrison is composing a kind of prose poem here in which only a few tightly described incidents convey the ill health of the larger culture ... Despite all the old horrors that Morrison faces in these pages with weary recognition, Home is a daringly hopeful story about the possibility of healing—or at least surviving in a shadow of peace.
What kind of selfhood is it possible to possess when we come from a spiritually impoverished home, one that fails to concede, let alone nourish, each inhabitant’s worth? This is the question Morrison asks, and while exploring it through the specific circumstances of Frank Money, she raises it in a broader sense. Threaded through the story are reminders of our country’s vicious inhospitality toward some of its own ... the book’s most powerful proposition: that there is no such thing as individual pathology ... At times, Home displays its meanings with all the subtlety of a zoot-suiter ... revelations read like in-text SparkNotes. The book doesn’t need them. Part of Morrison’s longstanding greatness resides in her ability to animate specific stories about the black experience and simultaneously speak to all experience. It’s precisely by committing unreservedly to the first that she’s able to transcend the circumscribed audience it might imply. This work’s accomplishment lies in its considerable capacity to make us feel that we are each not only resident but co-owner of, and collectively accountable for, this land we call home.