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November 3, 2020 at 3:17 am #5068Dana NelsonGuest
The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead
- Awards: Booker Prize Nominee for Longlist (2017), Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2017), National Book Award for Fiction (2016), Locus Award Nominee for Best SF Novel (2017), Arthur C. Clarke Award (2017)
- Format: hardcover, 306 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday Books
- Genres: fiction, historical, race, adult, novels
- Characters: Caesar (The Underground Railroad), Cora Randall, Mabel Randall, Arnold Ridgeway, Martin Wells
- Release date: August 2, 2016
- Author: Colson Whitehead
- Language: english
- ISBN: 9780385542364 (0385542364)
- Places: Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina
About The Book
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood — where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned — Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor — engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey — hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre — Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
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