The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (September 2016)
The Newest Oprah Book Club 2016 Selection
#1 New York Times Bestseller
A brilliant new historical fiction, touched with surrealism, Whitehead has written what many of us booksellers feel is an award-winner. He takes the context of the underground railroad, a system of houses and other hideaways, manned by abolitionists, and imbues it with magical fantasy, creating a 'real' locomotive that speeds runaway slaves away on their journey to freedom. Cora, a young woman who lives a hellish life on a Georgian cotton plantation, ostracized by the other slaves, motherless and alone, is chosen by Caesar, a fellow slave, to catch the train to freedom. Thus begins Cora's adventures, with allusions to Gulliver's travels as well as the travails of Odysseus. The strangers who both assist and impede the slaves are complex, showing great violence at times, as well as great compassion. It is a tale well told, that will leave thought provoking ideas behind in its wake.
Reviewed by Laurie