Coming Home in Toni Morrison’s New Novel

Frank Money.  I can’t think of a better, more ironic, name for the hero of Toni Morrison’s new novel, Home.  In only 148 short pages (somehow I picture Toni Morrison on that old game show Name that Tune proudly declaring, “I can name that tune in zero notes!” like she could divine what the song will be; and she herself does not waste a single note, syllable or word when she composes) she takes us Home – to an emotionally and psychologically damaged Korean war vet trying to find his way back to Georgia to rescue his little sister from some deep trouble.  More so than any past novels, this one is about as straightforward and accessible as a Morrisonian narrative can get, though there’s a brilliant little conceit where between chapters Frank Money is speaking directly to Morrison and reveals some gut-wrenching secrets.

As she paints for us Frank Money’s journey, Morrison gives us glimpses into the lives and mindsets of people marginalized by society and peppers her tale with those signature Morrison observations, including one passage that playfully argues the only logical response to Truman dropping that atom bomb was for the subculture to create bebop and scat.  There’s also a great little episode where Frank Money is taken in for the night by a good Samaritan whose young son (a precocious and determined math wiz) interrogates Frank about his time in Korea and ultimately how if felt to kill a man, and how Frank’s responses color the boy’s view of this strange guest in his house.  The boy’s “deep” his father had warned Frank…but when asked what he wants to be when he grows up, the boy responds to Frank succinctly, “A man.” (pg 33) Continue reading

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Boardwalk Empire: Home

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireHome

Season One: Episode Seven

Directed by:  Allen Coulter

Written by:  Tim Van Patten, Paul Simms and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson

The Spin: Van Patten & Simms offer a wonderfully self-contained story arc involving Nucky’s relationship to his father in this compelling character driven episode that also closes out another major plot thread while stirring the pot with others.  Relatively tame in the sex & violence department, director Coulter shows that sometimes less is more, and the penultimate scene in a Chicago cafe involving a one-eyed sniper (Jack Huston) enacting revenge on Jimmy’s behalf against that Pearl-slashin’ Conan-lookin’ fella packed a wallop. Continue reading