The Best Writing of the Week | Toni Morrison

I’m reading one of those books that I kept hearing about, again and again, but never really wanted to read. Then I bought and read the very excellent Thomas C. Foster’s How to Read Literature Like a Professor. He puts the book in question in his “Literature Masterclass”, with three other works of staggering genius: Great Expectations, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Ulysses. The book I am reading, and where we find this week’s best writing, is Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon.

In this passage, Morrison describes the main character, Milkman, falling out of love and out of lust.Song of Solomon Cover

Now, after more than a dozen years, he was getting tired of her. Her eccentricities were no longer provocative and the stupefying ease with which he had gotten and stayed between her legs had changed from the great good fortune he’d considered it, to annoyance at her refusal to make him hustle for it, work for it, do something difficult for it. He didn’t even have to pay for it. It was so free, so abundant, it had lost its fervor. There was no excitement, no galloping of blood in his neck or his heart at the thought of her.

She was the third beer. Not the first one, which the throat receives with almost tearful gratitude; nor the second, that confirms and extends the pleasure of the first. But the third, the one you drink because it’s there, because it can’t hurt, and because what difference does it make?

Great writing, pure and simple.