Washington Black

Washington Black

Book - 2018 | First United States edition.
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Washington Black is an eleven-year-old field slave who knows no other life than the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born. When his master's eccentric brother chooses him to be his manservant, Wash is terrified of the cruelties he is certain await him. But Christopher Wilde, or "Titch," is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor, and abolitionist. He initiates Wash into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky; where two people, separated by an impossible divide, might begin to see each other as human; and where a boy born in chains can embrace a life of dignity and meaning. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash's head, Titch abandons everything to save him. What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic, where Wash, left on his own, must invent another new life.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, [2018]
Edition: First United States edition.
ISBN: 9780525521426
0525521429
Branch Call Number: FIC EDUGYAN
Characteristics: 333 pages ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Fiction

A young slave attains a position in the house by sheer chance, but he can’t imagine the trajectory his life will take. Lyrical writing and an authentic protagonist make this a compelling read. Suggested by Marie B.


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m
mclarjh
May 13, 2019

Easy to read, popular fiction, like a movie but a book, limited vocabulary, almost all-male cast. Entertaining, like a Reader's Digest story, but longer. Not literary fiction, more suited to children than adults.

l
LindaMarion
May 04, 2019

different kind of book, got caught up in story, well written of course. recommend

d
dubonnet
Apr 21, 2019

The strange quest of a young black man through many lands as he attempts to survive and find meaning in his life. The story is sometimes shockingly brutal. Wash is deeply touched by several people in his life, until he finally comes upon the man who started him on the journey of his life! Set in the 1830 during the slave trade , which was abolished in England but not in America! Richly told with unforgettable characters.

w
Waluconis
Apr 01, 2019

This is a fascinating combination of the old and the new. It is a historical novel that roams around the Americas and England in the nineteenth century - sure we have a lot of excellent novels that do that. This novel's narrator is a man enslaved in Barbados who becomes an assistant to a white balloonist. Race relations then are of course a factor in the events and characterization in the novel. They are never preached about or singled out. They do not have to be - they are a part of the cards culture and society deal to the characters in the novel. This is Esi Edugyan's second novel. her first about jazz, Nazi Germany, and other things, I have just started. In "Washington Black", she weaves fascinating description that has just enough details to keep the reader involved and wanting to read ahead. Profound emotions we all experience, are described precisely: "I understood, in that terrible moment, the terrible bottomless nature of the open world, when one belongs nowhere, and to no one." Wash's drive to re-unite with his white mentor reaches a conclusion that seems inevitable, but leaves the reader with questions as well as some answers.

b
bethgarza24
Mar 15, 2019

NYT 10 Best 2018

k
kimh454
Mar 13, 2019

A wonderful novel. My first by this author, but it reminded me of Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes.

d
deannawood
Mar 04, 2019

January

ArapahoeAnnaL Feb 19, 2019

One of the New York Times' 10 best of 2018, this stunning historical novel is fabulous from the point of view of the writing (gorgeously descriptive), the characters (poignant), and plot (journey of a boy from brutal slavery to freedom, love, intellectual adventure).

b
BobbyeBooks
Feb 06, 2019

This title begs for a sequel. What happened to the little guy who expected nothing but ended up living and learning big?
Anymore family legacy attached ?

m
ms_mustard
Jan 24, 2019

why enslavement, why freedom, why abandonment, why love - why me?
one of the best novels about enslavement that I have read
I also recommend The Polished Hoe by Austin Clark
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

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g
GVorauer
Apr 06, 2019

Too brutal, too disturbing - not bedtime reading.

s
shayshortt
Sep 12, 2018

Born into slavery on Faith Plantation in Bardbados, George Washington Black has never known any other life. When his master dies, the slaves expect the estate to be broken up and sold off, but instead two brother arrive, nephews of the old owner. Erasmus Wilde proves to be a cruel man who drives his slaves harder than the old owner ever did. But his brother, Christopher “Titch” Wilde, is a man of science, and while the other slaves on Faith are doomed to a harder lot, Wash is selected to help Titch with his experiments, and his seemingly impossible dream to launch an airship called the Cloud Cutter. However, being selected as Titch’s assistant will come at a price Wash could never have expected, and their strange, uneven relationship will change the course of Wash’s life forever, for better and for worse.

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shayshortt
Sep 12, 2018

I carried that nail like a shard of darkness in my fist. I carried it like a secret, like a crack through which some impossible future might be glimpsed. I carried it like a key.

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