Sadie Hoagland’s “Best Books Narrated by Ghosts” snippet.

The Books I Picked & Why

Written by Sadie Hoagland


By Toni Morrison


Why this book?

I cannot talk about ghosts in books with pausing to give homage to the outstanding and heartbreaking story of Sethe and the ghost of her daughter, called¬†Beloved¬†after her gravestone, whom Sethe killed to spare her a life of torture and rape as a slave. An embodied, adult Beloved returns to Sethe, “a greedy ghost” that “needed lots of love, which is only natural, considering.” Beloved only speaks in her own voice for a brief period in the book, and when she does we see her embodiment waver, she is both herself and others (“there is no place where I stop”), both a murdered daughter and a conglomeration of generations of suffering under slavery. Morrison’s employment of a ghost seems only natural considering the story she tells, one that asks us to truly see the horrific conditions of slavery in the pure poetry of her prose.