As far as American novelists go, there are certain names that stand out among the rest. Mark Twain helped shape fiction, while Phillip Roth has both great work and some controversies. But chief among modern american writers is Toni Morrison. Beginning with her introspective work The Bluest Eye, Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize for her stunning novel Beloved, and even took home a Nobel Prize during her life. Unfortunately, that life has recently ended as Toni Morrison has died at the age of 88.
Toni Morrison died August 5th in New York City at 88 years old. She passed at the Montefiore Medical Center, and the official reason for her death is complications from pneumonia. The announcement was given via her publisher, and is sure to affect the generations of fans who Morrison touched.
The news about Toni Morrison's death comes to us from the New York Times, which features a lengthy list of the writer's accomplishments throughout her long life. Morrison is known for being able to show the black experience in America, highlighting the various struggles that faced the community throughout the country's history. It's these emotional and important stories that have earned her so much acclaim throughout the years, as well as her work as an activist.
Toni Morrison's written work include a whopping 11 novels, but she wasn't bound to one type of genre. Additionally, Morrison wrote children's books, essays, plays, and nine non-fiction books. She'd also use her voice in regards to politics, specifically how it related to the black experience in America. As such, her work has an especially personal place in many reader's hearts, especially as the work was passed down across generations.
The timing of Toni Morrison's death is particularly powerful, because the legendary writer was recently the subject of her own documentary. Titled Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, the doc was a comprehensive look at the life and legacy of Morrison. This includes both her personal life as well as her impressive career as a writer. What's more Morrison was apart of The Pieces I Am herself, appearing in the acclaimed movie.
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am only recently debuted, getting its premiere on June 21st, 2019. This was only a month and change before the 88 year-old icon would pass away, making her appearance in the project all the more powerful. Given her recent death, it should be no surprise The Pieces I Am is more in demand now, as mourning fans attempt to honor her legacy.
You can check out the trailer for Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am below.
At the time of writing, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am has an impressive 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, so critic were clearly affected by seeing Morrison's story on the screen. Audiences seem to agree, giving the documentary an only slightly lower score of 93%. We'll have to see if the audience score ends up changing in the near future, as more folks try to see the documentary and celebrate Morrison's life.
Toni Morrison may have passed on, but her myriad written works will no doubt live on forever. Our thoughts are with her loved ones and generations of fans at this difficult time.