Sula – Toni Morrison

“Yes. But my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else’s. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Ain’t that something? A secondhand lonely.”

I can’t even count the number of my favourite quotes from this book but this one definitely arrested me. I read it over and over and over.

Sula and Nel are two young black girls: clever and poor, they grow up together sharing their secrets, dreams and happiness. Then Sula breaks free from their small-town community in the uplands of Ohio to roam the cities of America. When she returns then years later much has changed, including Nel, who now has a husband and three children. The friendship between the two women becomes strained and the whole town grows wary as Sula continues in her wayward, vagabond and uncompromising ways.

Okay, so I kind of just gave you the blurb that’s at the back of the book as a summary because I really just want to get into the meat of Sula and how I fell in love with this book every time I turned the page. This book is full of sensuality, emptiness, lonliness, wanting, having, fullness, human nature. All the things that tumble out and make us human.

When Sula rolls back into town ten years later, she’s hard to pin down. She’s this. And that. She’s vulnerable but daring. And distant. And she does something to break her friendship apart with Nel and years go by before they meet again. And the meeting reveals Sula’s distant, confused nature which both repelled me and made me see a little bit of everyone in Sula. Sula’s never sure of anything but she does it anyway. We’re never really sure of anything either. Yet we do the things we do.

Morrison’s poetic, sultry style of writing just makes me want to relish every sentence, every paragraph, every unfinished thought. She digs deep down into who we are and how we’re affected by each other that her words and thoughts almost become addictive.

My first encounter with her writing was in university when we read Beloved. Beautiful, heartbreaking, fierce, strong, phew. She blew me away. And now I’m on a mission to read all her books with the next one being Song of Solomon.

I would REALLY love to get comments and reviews and replies from Toni Morrison fans and let me know what you thought of Sula if you’ve read it.

Eleven out of ten!

-Babongile Z

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