I am not reading this exclusively, because I read mostly on the bus to work, and you can't read Beloved and arrive presentable. When you read Beloved your stomach contracts with tension and you cry and snivel madly. Many tissues are needed. So I'd borrowed these other books (kiddie books) as bus fare, but having finished one of them I put Beloved in my bag, and so spent an hour weeping this morning. We are steadily working our way to the central point of the story, the greatest tragedy. I don't know if I can stand it, and at the same time I'm riveted and I'm finding it hard to not think about the book. That said, it's not a depressing book, not really. There's just so much pain in it. It's a fantastic story of people who have been traumatized since the day they were born, and are trying so hard to put it in the past and keep it there, with little success. It's a tribute to the resilience that humans can have, the resilience that keeps people alive and good after terrible degrading things have been done to them. After they, too, have done terrible things.
This is one of the best books I've ever read, and it should be high up on every list of "greatest books ever written". It's wonderful. Read it.