I must represent the last generation of Americans to get through school and college without being assigned Beloved—so by not reading it until now I was spared the academic vivisection. I listened to it read by Toni Morrison, so everything that was there to get, I must've got.It's a hell of a book: creepy, horrifying, wondrous. Without being able to turn pages back and forth I couldn't see how it was put together, see whether the narration itself really stands so far above and beyond the story as to constitute another rich dimension, which is one of the ways I identify a masterpiece. I suspect it does, but sometime I'll have to reread it, on paper, to find out. Meanwhile, I now know that Toni Morrison—or at least Beloved—is not to be avoided like bitter medicine, but to be savored like sweet wine.