We so appreciate feedback about the Salon experience! Thanks to Ethan for this…

Beloved Literary Salon  June 2020

By Ethan Brooks

The silver lining in a sudden need to avoid unnecessary contact with other people is that there has been a collective realization of just how much can be accomplished while sitting at home. This means many have been pushed to conduct much more of their lives online – which can frustrate to no end – but in so doing, an accessibility inherent to the internet becomes a boon to those who must now cater to a world relegated to the web. The London Literary Salon is such an experience which, in transitioning to a virtual space, became available to many more, including myself. For that, I feel lucky. And any sense of intimacy lost through the computer screen was, I thought, more than made up for by the passion and care shown for Toni Morrison’s Beloved as we were guided through it – sentiments mirrored by all as we fell further into the novel – and the enthusiasm of my peers in sharing their own thoughts and feelings on the text.  These expressions evoking always a sense of respect for the work as a whole and for the painful histories out of which it has been crafted. I think there should be no other way to approach this story, for while the themes that can be drawn from it may be manifold, the subject matters of racism and of slavery demand your attention, and the brutality and hatefulness of these things are felt, whether subtlety or viscerally, on each page of Beloved. The confrontation in reading this work is difficult – although made less so when among an inclusive group such as in the literary salon and with the exploration of this literature being facilitated by one with experience – and will not end with the story of Beloved; but it is a confrontation which is necessary, now more than ever, because it has been made excruciatingly clear, over and over, that the roots of racism and of white supremacy run deep in the U.S., and are painfully felt. In Beloved, it is this pain which is exposed, and in being better understood, it is assuaged. As a final word, this understanding gained through the text is achieved to a greater degree for being part of a group wherein thoughts and feelings towards the text are allowed to flow freely.