That’s the thing about Toni Morrison’s books, you finally decide what you think about them about 3 months after finishing them. This novel is about a group of people and all the issues brought to bear upon them – race, gender, class. For me, this novel is about the struggle between love and authenticity, to be true to oneself or to make the compromises necessary in love. This is true for all the relationships, not just romantic. It’s about whether servants can allow themselves to feel compassion and kinship for those whom they are exploited by. It’s about whether a black woman can feel gratitude towards a white benefactor without feeling like a race traitor. It’s about whether a woman can love a man, and a man a woman, without feeling like they are each being warped by the power one has over the other, the power to define and redefine one another.
I liked this book because it was almost like a critique of the idea that love conquers all. Love makes things more complicated. Love makes you forget who you are. Love makes you do things you would never bring yourself to do otherwise. Love will leave you confused. Uniting across divisions only makes fighting the race/class/gender war harder, makes the battlelines blurred, until you find you’re living your life on a minefield or in No Man’s Land