Washington BlackBook - 2018
* ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Boston Globe, NPR, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Economist, Bustle
* WINNER OF THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
* FINALIST FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE, THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE, THE ROGERS WRITERS' TRUST PRIZE
"Enthralling" -- Boston Globe "Extraordinary" -- Seattle Times "A rip-roaring tale" -- Washington Post
A dazzling adventure story about a boy who rises from the ashes of slavery to become a free man of the world.
George Washington Black, or "Wash," an eleven-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is terrified to be chosen by his master's brother as his manservant. To his surprise, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning--and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash's head, Christopher and Wash must abandon everything. What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic. What brings Christopher and Wash together will tear them apart, propelling Wash even further across the globe in search of his true self. From the blistering cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, from the earliest aquariums of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black tells a story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, of a world destroyed and made whole again, and asks the question, What is true freedom?
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I’ve been really excited to read Esi Edugyan's new novel, Washington Black. It piqued my interest for a few reasons. First and foremost, I’m committed to reading more books written by women of color. Second, the setting and topic appeals to me—a story about the African diasporic experience in the 19th century. Third, it sounded like a great adventure story, and I don’t read a lot of… (more)
From Library Staff
Library Director Brad Allen wrote a persuasive feature-length recommendation of this book. A 19th century airship (steampunk) adventure! Edugyan is Canadian with Ghanaian heritage. Awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Published in 2018
LPL_ShirleyB Mar 02, 2020
eBook & eAudiobk formats available. Library Director Brad Allen wrote a persuasive feature-length recommendation of this book. A 19th century airship (steampunk) adventure! Edugyan is Canadian with Ghanaian heritage. Awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Published in 2018
LPL_DirectorBrad Oct 30, 2018
The hype on this book has been strong. (Its currently shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.) The descriptions of the book caught my interest. Finally got a copy and could not put this book down. There is everything to like about this book. It's a tremendous adventure story at the very least. At i... Read More »
From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
I had been warned by Mister Ibel that snow was white, and cold. But it was not white: it held all the colours of the spectrum. It was blue and green and yellow and teal; there were delicate pink tintings in some of the cliffs as we passed. As the light shifted in the sky, so too did the snow around us deepen, find new hues, the way an ocean is never blue but some constantly changing colour.
Though a child, I did not picture a monster – he was no creature all teeth, all vicious blue eyes behind mangled wire spectacles; his voice was not slow and reptilian, his hands not huge black claws. I knew the nature of evil; I knew its benign, easy face. He would be a man, simply.
It was a wonder to me that a world of cruelty and hardship existed, even now, only some miles away. How was it possible, thought I, that we lived in such nightmare and all the while a world of men continued just over the horizon . . .
She seemed neither preoccupied nor uneasy; her silence was marked by a held-in rage that I have only now, several years later, come to understand as the suppression of will. For she was a ferociously intelligent woman, and it strained her to have to conceal it. She sometimes spoke as no slave should speak; the scar on her face was some testament to this.
SummaryAdd a Summary
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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