Love Critical Context
by Toni Morrison

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Critical Context

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

The critical reception of Love was mixed. Darryl Pinckney in The New York Review of Books admired Toni Morrison’s “effortless” ability to “merge the threads of her story” and her rich but accessible prose, while another reviewer criticized the use of certain metaphors as “garnishes” and found the historical background gratuitous. Laura Miller of The New York Times linked the female friendship in Sula (1973) to that between Heed and Christine, as did others. Miller argued that Morrison writes best about “bad people,” as in Love. Other reviewers admired the mystery plot, snappy dialogue, and use of language generally, although a few found the interwoven stories difficult to follow. Many reviewers noted that Morrison continued to focus on love as paradox, as she had in Beloved (1987), in which maternal love during slavery results in infanticide.