This felt like "Morrison-lite." A strong story, and it packed a big emotional punch, but I felt like it lacked the complexity (of language? of structure? of thought?) that is the hallmark of her style - and that truly sets her apart. This either needed to be pared back to a short story (as it is, it's probably close to a novella, not a novel, anyway) - or blown out to a full novel.
Or maybe it just needs to stand for what it is: a minor work, but no less worthwhile a read, because it's Toni Morrison.