The Pequod Review:
The melodramatic prose is still there, but this time Toni Morrison creates some of her richest characters and a narrative of extraordinary power. Sula takes place between about 1919 and 1965 in an African American neighborhood in the fictional town of Medallion, Ohio. The neighborhood is called The Bottom (which traces its name back to the slave era) and the story focuses primarily on the friendship of two young Bottom girls, Nel Wright and Sula Peace. In recounting the history of the girls (who over time become women) and the neighborhood itself, Sula has some of the finest scenes in Toni Morrison’s entire body of work. She explores the friendship of the two women as they grow older, the way the sins of the parents are visited on the children, and the pressures of conformity in a small community. And it’s all set against the backdrop of The Bottom, with its complex history of slavery and racism. Sula is arguably Toni Morrison’s masterpiece, one that should be at least as well-known as her more famous books.