Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Book Review - Underground Railroad by Colin Whitehead

Holy Cow – Colin Whitehead’s book Underground Railroad is just stunning. The story, the writing, and the characters.  Totally worthy of Pulitzer Prize nomination and many awards for 2016.  Whitehead reimagines the underground railroad as a real train. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Caesar compels her to take a risk and join him for escape. Oh, but plans go awry. Now they are hunted.  There’s a secret network of tracks and tunnels. We follow Cora and Caesar as they navigate the system and you root for them all the way.  But it’s tough.

First stop is South Carolina. Seemingly idyllic, but hiding slave catchers and others blocking true freedom.  Cora is so strong and her odyssey is a journey through time and space. From the cover – Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America.  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.

I was transfixed reading this book. It will break your heart and also strengthen your resolve in rooting for Cora. Just knowing what her grandmother went through, and her mother, and then her. Wow – so strong and vital, and smart, and good, and worthy of a chance.  Whitehead’s writing is lovely. I enjoyed his book Sag Harbor, and now in this book he is just better and stronger.  There is no agenda. Just darn good writing and a story for the ages. 


12 comments:

  1. As you so rightly say this book is worth a prize. Great review of a great book.

    Yvonne.

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  2. Thanks for the review. I had seen the book and was thinking of getting it, now I definitely will.

    Betty

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    1. You will like it. Kept me turning pages

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  3. No agenda is a win as the writing and story takes center stage

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    1. Worthy of his Pulitzer. A true talent

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  4. Sounds like a fabulous book! When I was a kid, I thought the Underground Railroad was literally an underground railroad. Interesting that another writer would take that thought and turn it into a book.

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    1. I agree. And he does it well. The writing is lovely

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  5. This sounds great! Thanks for sharing your view of it.

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    1. you are welcome. I love this man's writing - try Sag Harbor too.

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  6. I hope it wins...it sounds like a great read.

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    1. I should have updated my post. It did win!

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