The New York Times is my homepage.
I glance over it every morning to see what's brewing. There is this new feature that lists the top ten emailed articles. The article in the #1 slot is an article entitled, "What Is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years?" I click on it. The winner is...Beloved by Toni Morrison! The runners up are books by mainly white men. There is one white female and one black male author. All the rest are a combination of books by the same white men.
I am thrilled about this. I'm putting racial politics into this "artistic" decision...and I don't care. Toni Morrison is brilliant. Hands down. I finish her books and can't catch my breath because I am in awe that a human being created such beauty. That her novel was picked by her peers over the likes of Philip Roth and Don DeLillo is astounding to me.
Of course, the scholars will proclaim that race had nothing to do with it. That the best novel was chosen, despite the race of the author. To them I say...DAMN RIGHT THE BEST NOVEL WAS CHOSEN!
Then I say, race has everything to do with it. Toni Morrison has mentioned countless times that her experience as an black woman in this country has informed her writing. So one of the reasons that her book is the best is because she is an African-American woman! How wonderful is that!
I haven't read the essay by A. O. Scott yet, so I may have some addenda to this post, but I couldn't wait to scream this news from the rooftops!
P.S. When I first read the article, I yelled "wheuheu!" My good friend and colleague...who's a white male... in the next office asked me what the hubbub was. I told him Beloved was named the best novel in the last 25 years. He asked me, "What's Beloved?" I audibly sighed...loudly... and explained it to him. When I told him it was made into a mediocre movie, he got it. I sighed loudly again.