NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER 2016
AMAZON.COM #1 BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans, and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.
In Whitehead's razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated boxcar pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But its placid surface masks an infernal scheme designed for its unknowing black inhabitants. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher sent to find Cora, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. At each stop on her journey, Cora encounters a different world.
As Whitehead brilliantly recreates 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 the story of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history.
©2016 Colson Whitehead (P)2016 Little Brown Book Group
"Whitehead is on a roll: the reviews have been sublime." (The Guardian)
"Luminous, furious, wildly inventive." (The Observer) "Hands down one of the best, if not the best, book I've read this year." (Stylist)
"Dazzling." (New York Review of Books)
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"Disappointingly & underwhelming slave tale"
I wanted to love this but I couldn't. The premise of the story is set in the southern US slave states and the life of Cora who runs away from slavery. I enjoyed some of the plantation descriptions which detail her life and little touches like her trying to keep a small patch of land to grow vegetables. But overall I felt her character didn't really grow and develop. It was a slow, boring listen once she had run and, at times, I didn't understand what was happening. It definitely has potential with some well written passages and a subtlety that hints at some of the worse aspects -like how doctors see the women to stop them reproducing, but it just lacks forward movement. I don't want lots of action and adventure but this was lots of the same thing over and over. Sadly I can't recommend.
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