Morrison's first novel, The Blues Eye (1970), explores the aesthetics of beauty in the tale of a young black girl coming of age into a white society that recognizes only blue eyes. Set in post-Civil War Ohio, Beloved (1987) tells the story of Sethe, an escaped slave who works at "beating back the past". Jazz(1992) takes place in the glittery Harlem of 1926 - the time of the Harlem Renaissance - around which Morrison sets the tragic story of Joe Trace, a married 50-year-old salesman who kills his young lover. Toni Morrison has received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for literature.

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