Magical Realism and Black Literature Meet in Sula by Toni Morrison


Sula reads in such a wonderful manner, but when you stop and look back on what you’ve read, it’s somewhat disturbing. “Sula” is definitely an example of black literature, yet what sets it apart from other works is the thin layer of “magical realism” put over it. Magical realism is writing style which takes an ordinary story, and slips just a little bit of LSD into the punch bowl.

The story itself is about love, family, sex, and friendship existing within the backdrop of a 1920’s racially segregated American countryside. You follow a set of characters growing up. Some are children and they become adults, while others become older folks. Their lives feel real and Morrison does an excellent job of portraying their psyches twisted under the distortion of racism. Though the book takes place in the 20’s, it reads very modern and avoids an old time prose which turns off a lot of readers.

Sula is one of those really great books that doesn’t get talked about enough. A beautiful little book that has a lot of fucked up personal issues. It’ll swallow you in the lives of these people. Morrison doesn’t attempt to make life grander than what it is. She gives it to you as it is, an amazing experience that will one day end for all of us. I will be sure to read the rest of Morrison’s books.

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