About the Book
About the Book
Frank Money and his sister Cee are profoundly lost, divided from each other and from themselves as they search for direction and hope in 1950s America. Frank joined the army to escape his too-small world, leaving behind his cherished and fragile sister. When he returns to the United States after the war, he is haunted by memories of his childhood and the horrors he witnessed abroad; it is only when he hears that Cee is in danger that his life regains the sense of purpose he had lost.
As the novel begins, Frank finds himself in a mental institution, where he has been drugged and strapped to a bed. He has no idea how or why he got there, only that he must escape. After he frees himself, he takes refuge with a minister who helps him begin his journey back to Georgia, where he has been summoned to help save his gravely ill sister.
Cee had taken a job “assisting” Dr. Beauregard Scott, an unrepentant Confederate. In fact, she has become the subject of his experiments in eugenics, which have made her infertile and endangered her life.
As Frank travels back to Georgia, we learn about his story and his history: the terrors of combat in Korea and the traumas of a childhood in the Deep South. Cee and Frank grew up in the small town of Lotus, where they were raised in the house of their coldhearted grandmother, Lenore. As a black man in Georgia, Frank endured daily injustices, and he and Cee are shattered by buried secrets and horrible visions of racial violence.
Home follows the classic structure of the hero’s journey. Frank, a modern Odysseus, leaves home, undergoes horrific trials that test his moral strength, and then returns home a chastened and changed man. He is filled with regrets about friends he could not save on the battlefield, but when he learns that Cee is endangered he is given the chance to rescue his sister.
Home is not only about one man finding his manhood and his home. It is also about the healing power of women—of Miss Ethel Fordham and her friends in Lotus, who nurse Cee back to health and nurture her in her time of need. Fierce, unflinching, deeply compassionate—and rooted in traditional healing practices—their methods are sharply contrasted with the self-serving, aggressive techniques of a patriarchal medical industry.
In Home, Morrison vividly evokes—through the trials of a brother and sister—the particular brand of racism that prevailed just before the end of Jim Crow and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. In dramatizing the abuses of the medical system, the devastating effects of war on those who fight it, and the meaning of both leaving and coming home, she holds a mirror up to our own time as well.