The Underground Railroad PDF/EPUB ✓ The Underground

The Underground Railroad I'm a guy who enjoys best of lists One of my favorite things about December, besides my birthday, Christmas, football, colder weather, and hot chocolate, is sitting down to peruse lists of the best stuff of the year Books, movies, albums, video games, etc I love it I have trusted sources that I rely on to provide my with the best of the best, and when I start to see the same stuff appear on very list, I drop everything and consume it Like right now I'm watching The Americans because Season 4 was consistently ranked as one of the best shows on TV last year I watched La La Land and Manchester by the Sea because they were the two two movies on almost every list out there for 2016 Beyoncé's Lemonade album is awesome, too And The new stuff from Radiohead But my fascination with lists doesn't necessarily mean I'm always consuming the best media in the entire world because it's so universally critically acclaimed Sometimes a movie is just awful no matter what the experts say Sometimes an album just doesn't do it for me no matter how many times I try to listen to it And sometimes a book just doesn't win me over like it does others That's all really great though It's awesome It's what makes us human and different and all that We get to have different opinions and stuff can resonate with us in ways that others will never comprehend It's beautiful The Underground Railroad just didn't do it for me It was a tough book to read for many reasons I mean the subject matter is just awful anyway The fact that people were ever treated that way is disgusting and hard for me to even comprehend The depictions in the book of cruelty were difficult to read since they were fiction rooted in real events The concept of a real Underground Railroad was interesting, too, and put a unique spin on historical events.I just didn't think it was written very well I didn't think the characters were developed at all so I found myself completely unattached from them I didn't even realize one of them was out of the picture until they were brought up later in the book I just didn't connect I feel like the events that unfolded would have impacted meif the characters weren't so underdeveloped It just seemed like there were a lot of things happening, but I wasn't invested from the beginning and couldn't find my way in as I went along So I was let down by what many consider the best book of 2016 That's OK There's a million other books to get wrapped up, and many other books that I think deal with this time in history in ameaningful way I'm glad I read it though It did provide me with a harsh reminder of a dark time in our country's history that is often easy to just shy away from or ignore It was helpful, and I wanted to rate it higher, but I'm good with two stars. Every year, I have either never heard of the films nominated for the Best Picture Academy award or when I see them, I don’t think the movie is all that great; long drawn out scenes with landscapes, close ups of glowering faces, monotonous dialogue, etc I know that every movie doesn’t have to be action packed, but forced artsyness or movies nominated for content but not quality are frustrating.The Underground Railroad won the Pulitzer Prize this year I have read other Pulitzer Prize winners and generally I have found them to be just okay Or, in looking through the list of winners, I have not even heard of them at all Because of this, Pulitzer Prize and Best Picture Awards are very similar to me I really am not sure what the ultimate criteria ends up being, but apparently it is not criteria that I would use.Disclaimer – as you can probably tell already, I did not like this book That does not mean that I wish to convince you that you should not like it or not read it It does not mean that if you gave it 5 stars I want to fight about it All it means is that this book just did not work for me and I cannot tell why it was so great We can discuss our differences in opinion, but there will be no need to argue!I am stuck between 1 and 2 stars on this book If there was a half star option, I would move forward with a 1.5 star rating By the time I am done typing this review, maybe I will be able to settle on which one I will go with.I listened to the audiobook I always have an audiobook going on and this is the first time in a long time that I can remember fighting to maintain interest and pay attention to the story (in fact, I think the last time that happened was with All the Light We Cannot See – another Pulitzer Prize winner) With this being the case, at least one star from 5 has to be removed.The characters and the story for me were just blah I have read other stories and books with difficult subject matter about people being oppressed In those books the characters were charismatic and impassioned You felt for the characters and their plight The story is enthralling and you care about what happens and the ultimate outcome of the story (Some examples of this are The Help, Between Shades of Gray, The Power of One, etc.) With The Underground Railroad the story was fairly flat for me and the characters kind of uninteresting – reading about what they were going through waslike a bland history book than a story meant to entertain and draw emotion Considering the subject matter, this was rather unfortunate to me Also, there was lots of time jumping so I was frequently confused about what was happening, to whom, and in what time frame this probably led to the fight to stay interested With this being the case, another star has been removed, bringing us to 3.The book is called The Underground Railroad I thought that this was going to be about The Underground Railroad Instead, the railroad is just a bit part in the main story (view spoiler)[in the end, it comes around to play a big part in the final scene, but up until then we only saw it or heard it mentioned a few times (hide spoiler)] Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being huntedIn Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedomLike the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space 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 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 ➮ [Read] ➪ The End (The 30-Day Collective Book 1) By Ellen A. Easton ➺ – Lavons.co.uk but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans [PDF / Epub] ☃ The Light Over London By Julia Kelly – Lavons.co.uk she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits When Caesar ☁ [PDF / Epub] ☀ Cell By Robin Cook ✎ – Lavons.co.uk a recent arrival from Virginia [Download] ➺ Braving the Wilderness Author Brené Brown – Lavons.co.uk tells her about the Underground Railroad [BOOKS] ✪ Lightning / Midnight / The Bad Place ✴ Dean Koontz – Lavons.co.uk they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her Though they manage to find a station and head north ✯ [BOOKS] ⚣ A Cidade Das Trevas (Dean Koontzs Frankenstein, By Dean Koontz ✼ – Lavons.co.uk they are being huntedIn Whitehead’s ingenious conception [Epub] ➞ Iron Council (New Crobuzon, By China Miéville – Lavons.co.uk the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina ❮EPUB❯ ✸ Big Magic Author Elizabeth Gilbert – Lavons.co.uk in a city that initially seems like a haven But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens And even worse: Ridgeway ❮Read❯ ➫ Bloody Acquisitions (Fred, the Vampire Accountant, Author Drew Hayes – Lavons.co.uk the relentless slave catcher ❰Reading❯ ➿ Dangerous Author Amanda Quick – Lavons.co.uk is close on their heels Forced to flee again [Epub] ➞ Succeed and Grow Rich through Persuasion Author Napoleon Hill – Lavons.co.uk Cora embarks on a harrowing flight [PDF / Epub] ☆ Agile Software Requirements By Dean Leffingwell – Lavons.co.uk state by state ✯ [BOOKS] ⚣ The Last Kids on Earth By Max Brallier ✼ – Lavons.co.uk seeking true freedomLike the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels [Reading] ➭ Fusiliers ➵ Mark Urban – Lavons.co.uk Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era ➿ [Download] ➽ The Martian By Andy Weir ➵ – Lavons.co.uk 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 a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering ❄ [EPUB] ✼ Tarot for Magical Times By Rachel Pollack ➝ – Lavons.co.uk powerful meditation on the history we all share For nearly twenty years the work of Colson Whitehead has been published to wide acclaim, his fiction and nonfiction both receiving many accolades For this reason I was eager to have the chance to read his new novel that focused on the origination of the race debate in America—slavery This new novel is due out September 13, 2016 Thanks to Netgalley and Doubleday for the opportunity to read an egalley.The story centers around Cora, a motherless slave living on the Randall estate in Georgia When another slave, Caesar, suggests they attempt an escape, Cora initially demurs…until she draws unwanted sexual attentions from her owner The problems with this novel are not in the motivations Those we understand The problems are technical: an insufficiently developed Cora, and a mere silhouette of Caesar, the two central characters When Caesar practically disappears from the narrative onethird of the way in, we barely notice, he was so inconsequential and underdeveloped Talk about exploitation: he was simply a device.But this is fiction, and the author can do whatever he wants, like create an actual underground railroad to eliminate the pesky problem of researching and charting a perilous journey to innumerable secret aboveground destinations that would allow us to picture and relive the terror, the deprivation, and the strength of character of all participants in the movement of hunted individuals within a dangerous environment When the author suggests that white community members in South Carolina at this time were encouraging scientific experiments on, and recommending sterilizations for, freed black men and women, we don’t trust it and are annoyed that we are going to have to do our own research to verify the (outrageous if false) claim in the fictional narrative.Problems of language are also present here, with untenable and frankly unbelievable hectoring challenges from Cora to her white rescuers along the trail: “You feel like a slave?…Born to it, like a slave?” …and Cora’s challenge to Ridgeway, the homicidal slave catcher, after a chatty exchange: “More words to pretty things up.” When Cora idly wonders whether a new wave of immigrants will replace the Irish, “fleeing a different but no less abject country” we are startled Where did that come from and why would Cora have any knowledge of, or any particular interest in, conditions in Ireland or anywhere else, for that matter? It just isn’t reasonable and seems out of place.Then we have the awkwardness of the language: “Cora kept her tongue,” and “Over the years life on Orchard Street passed with a tedium that eventually congealed into comfort,” or “The game of husband and wife was even less fun than she supposed Jane, at least, turned out to be an unexpected mercy, a tidy bouquet in her arms, even if conception proved yet another humiliation.” These exceptionally ugly, charmless, and clichéd constructions add nothing to our pleasure Finally, there is no momentum in this novel The storyline is broken into chunks that attempt to explain the backstory of some character or another or tell the story of a stop on Cora’s trail to freedom Each break draws us further and further from any interest in Cora’s forward progress It seems she (and we) will never get there.I have seen the glowing reviews for this title, so take my criticisms as one among many This would not be the title you should expect will give you a rich understanding of the real underground railroad for escaped slaves For that we will have to look elsewhere. What a world, Cora thought, that makes a living prison into your only haven Was she out of bondage or in its web: how to describe the status of a runaway? Freedom was a thing that shifted as you looked at it, the way a forest is dense with trees up close, but from outside, from the empty meadow, you see its true limits Being free had nothing to do with chains or how much space you had On the plantation she was not free, but she moved unrestricted on its acres, tasting the air and tracing the summer stars The place was big in its smallness Here, she was free of her master but slunk around a warren so tiny she couldn’t stand Colson Whitehead People get ready, there’s a train acoming Curtis MayfieldIn Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Underground Railroad, he takes a figurative term and gives it a literal application This Underground Railroad posits a literal brick, steel, and steam system that transports fleeing slaves from southern captivity to what is hoped to be a form of freedom This RR has actual station agents and train conductors Most importantly, it has passengers Image from Whitehead’s Twitter feed Our guide through this underworld is Cora, 17 when we meet her, a slave on the Randalls’ property, in Georgia Encouraged to flee with him by fellow slave, Caesar, she demurs, fearing failure and dire circumstances But when her situation at the property becomes too damaging to endure, she signs on.Throughout the tale, we get bits of backstory We learn of Cora’s mother, a slave who had fled when Cora was 11, never to be seen or heard from again We learn some details of slave life That brutality was a central feature will come as no surprise to anyone, but some of the specifics of such an existence will be news to many of us The book had a particularly long gestation I had the idea for the book about 16 years ago, recalling how when I was a kid, I thought the Underground Railroad was a literal railroad and when I found out it wasn’t, I was disappointed So I thought it was a cool idea, and then I thought, “Well, what if it actually was a real railroad? That seems like a cool premise for a book.”  But I had just finished up a researchheavy project and wasn’t up for that kind of ordeal again, and I didn’t feel mature enough or up to the task But every couple of years, when I was between books, I would pull out my notes and ask myself if I was ready And inevitably I would realize that I wasn’t really up for it It wasn’t until about two years ago that I really committed to the idea from the Bookpage interviewThere is much here that hearkens back to literary classics Cora might certainly feel a kinship with Jean Valjean of Les Miserables, escaping a wretched life, but pursued by a relentless, Javertlike slave catcher, Arnold Ridgeway Ridgeway had been enraged for years that he’d failed to find and bring back Cora’s mother, Mabel, who had fled six years earlier One might also think of stories like Gulliver’s Travels, in which each stop along the journey points out another form of madness Colson Whitehead image from the NY TimesThe route takes Cora from Georgia to what seems a relatively benign South Carolina, then on to North Carolina for some new forms of horror, and finally on to Indiana, which offers its own forms of misery Whitehead is not shy about part of his plan I thought, why not write a book that really scares you?Whitehead wasinterested in communicating the internal rather than external historical reality The first chapter in Georgia I tried to make realistic and stick to the historical record, and then after that, I wanted to stick to the truth of the black experience but not necessarily the facts As we go to South Carolina and Indiana and the different states that Cora goes to, I am playing with history and time, moving things up to talk about the Holocaust, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, and the eugenics movement So in some sense, it’s not really a historical novel at all because I’m moving things around from the Bookpage interviewWhitehead peppers Cora’s story with bizarre events, like regular public lynchings in one town, an early and bitingly grim version of public entertainment, reminiscent of feeding Christians to lions for the delight of the townspeople A living history museum in which Cora plays the part of slaves through history in diverse tableaux makes your spidey senses wonder what might result.Whitehead took his inspiration from diverse sources Cora spend a protracted time in an attic, terrified of being discovered, and with good reason, as public lynchings are regularly held right across the street in a public park The inspiration for that was Harriet Jacobs’ autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, in which Harriet hid for years in a crawl space, terrified of being captured Primarily I read slave narratives There are a few histories of the Underground Railroad; one of the first ones I read, which proved the most useful was Bound for Canaan by Fergus Bordewich That gave me an overview of the railroad, but the main thing was just reading the words of former slaves themselves from the Bookpage interviewIt would be a challenge to remain unmoved by Cora’s journey, and impossible to come away from reading this book without learning some things about the slave experience and the conditions that people treated as property endured One may take issue with decisions made by this or that person in the story, but it is worth suspending a bit of disbelief to appreciate the journey on which Whitehead leads us No one will force you to read The Underground Railroad, but choosing to do so would be an excellent expression of your freedom.Review posted – June 20, 2017Publication date – August 2, 2016=============================EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal and Twitter pagesAugust 2, 2016 – NY Times Colson Whitehead on Slavery, Success and Writing the Novel That Really Scared Him by Jennifer SchuesslerINTERVIEWSOprah’s interview with CW requires tolerating it having been broken down into very small chunks, each with a 15 second ad that repeats for each section, which is screaminducing Oprah, American history and the power of a female protagonist Bookpage.com – by Stephanie HarrisonSONGSFollow the Drinking GourdGo Down MosesThe Gospel Train People Get Ready Swing Low, Sweet ChariotWade in the Water I came to this book with some resistance, regardless of it being the Pulitzer Prize winner for 2017.I've owned the physical book since last year It kept being easier to read something else I felt it was my duty to read this book.But wait..Haven't I done my duty? I've read three James Baldwin books 'this' year.I've seen the movie 12 Years a Slave, and Birth of a Nation.I've read Beloved by Toni Morrison, The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom, Between The World And Me, by TaNehisi Coates, etc Still needed to do my duty!!! My expectations going into this book were LOW I saw3stars and 'under' until 'recently' The very first few reviews I saw last year had 'negative' things to say about this book I thought great, one less painful book for me to experience! And thensomething happened I read a VERY MOVING 5 star review by *Julie Christine Johnson*that seriously stayed with me I knew it was time to read this book soon STILL with some resistance BUTI knew I believed whole heartedly in everything I read in Julie's review This was a case where reading reviews low high WAS SUPPORTIVE to me BEFORE I read the book NONE of the reviews spoiled my own reading I HIGHLYHIGHLY RECOMMEND READING MANY REVIEWS HIGH LOW MIDDLE and DNF.if on the fence about reading The Underground Railroad Given my expectations started out LOW I was pleasantly happy to discover I enjoyed reading this book muchthan I thought At the same time, I tend to agree with some of the low reviews, and some of the high reviews In Navidad Thelamour's review, she says: The novel would've been better served being written in first person, for Cora's chapters at the 'very' least I AGREE WITH HER!! I think as the reader we might have FELT what she was experiencing MUCH MORE if we felt as if she were speaking to us It might have been even '' unbearable to read though.I was especially inspired by Poingu's review.She says: I finished utterly exhilarated This novel is a triumphant act of imagination I AGREE!!!!!However, Poingu goes on to mention something she did not like Poingu says: There were too many characters to superficially drawn; sometimes I felt there was too much narrative summary; the bad guys trended toward evil caricatures rather than multidimensional people; there was an odd distancing effect between the reader and any one character because there is so little offered of each characters interior thinking I ALSO AGREE!!!!!!I could never have put that sentence together so eloquently as Poingu thank you, Poingu! I 'stopped ' trying to remember all the minor characters There were TONS!!! Almost TOO MANY! Howeverlike Poingu, SHE LOVED READING THIS BOOK I did too!!! So, for me, I didn't worry about the minor flaws Or all the minor characters It was the greater context which I was taking in I ended up being blown away by the powerful allegory of the Underground Railroad the crafting of this story played with 'my imagination' Very clever creative structure We get to keep dancing in imaginary visuals of being on a train a real train with conductors but then are jolted by horrifying beatings, lynchings staged like a theater production, rapes, and brutal truths from state to state Everything about slavery was so terrifyingthat by the end this novel, I was left with the incredible achievement The Underground Railroad is Cora is on the run from Arnold Ridgeway the master slave catcher ( she didn't know she was on the run when she first learned about FREE NORTH, that Caesar told her about) Things are not as easy as 'free' From South Carolina, to North Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, on to 'the north'.at every step of the way there is terror, hatred, atrocity, gruesome repulsion The descriptions are horrific Its hard to be with SO MUCH VIOLENCE! However, the brutal honesty lights a fire in us We DO NOT WANT TO EVER ALLOW HISTORY TO REPEAT ITSELF so yes, we I'm glad I read this book Even with some minor flaws I can't give this novel less than 5 stars I'm sad sorry angry and ashamed for all the horrific sufferings in our past history over racial inequality!At the same time I'm left with hope strength and our humanity Brutal and Beautiful Book!..I hope they make a movie I think the impact would be powerful There are some great interviews of Colson Whitehead He is such a humble and wonderful man! Worth looking up! 3.5 stars rounded up.This is a difficult book to read with the horrific treatment and gruesome punishments of African American slaves so much a part of the narrative, but it is essential that we read this and other books like it We need these powerful, compelling and gut wrenching reminders of what life was like on a plantation in Georgia and other places in the South and what it might have been like to be a runaway This story is told mainly from the perspective of a young slave woman named Cora and the portrayal of her escape and journey toward freedom I was also moved by the story of Cora's grandmother Ajarry, captured in Africa and transported to America Cora's mother Mabel also has her story.Colson Whitehead imagines the The Underground Railroad as if it were an actual railroad with trains and conductors While this work is a fictional representation of the time and place and does an excellent job of conveying the time and place and what seems like a genuine feeling of what it was like to be Cora, I have to admit I had some reservations about making it a real railroad I felt like the creation of an actual railroad in a way diminishes the the true Underground Railroad whose strength was the people moving people to freedom not a railway but a network of routes and a group of people who didn't have a railroad to move them around I'm sure there will be much discussion of this and I may be an outlier here So for this and the fact that I found it a little slow going and just had too many characters, I would rate this 3.5 stars if half stars were allowed But overall , this is just such an important book that I have to round it up to 4 stars Cora's story is one that we mustn't forget because she represents so many of the real life slaves who we have to remember Thanks to Doubleday and Edelweiss. The Underground Railroad is an intense ride I had not taken railroad to be a literal thing before reading the book Like Cora, the protagonist, I thought it was just an informal way of smuggling escaped slaves up north Now, I am curious to visit some of the stations should they still exist.The book itself is one of courage, brutality, and hope It is a condemnation of the despicable crime against humanity that was slavery (and I have ancestors that were guilty of that unforgivable iniquity) with vivid, terrifying depictions of the violence that kept the institution going It was also sad to see that the white hate of black skin went as far north as Indiana but then, no, is was unsurprising at the same time It made me reflect on the current rehabilitation of racism in Drumpf's America and how little so much of the white population has really learned from this shameful past.I am not sure that this book is on the level of other Pulitzers: despite the vivid characters and fastpaced action, I felt the pace was uneven and the descriptions a little lacking Nonetheless, it was an important read and a moving one I just wonder if we will ever have an accounting of the number of horrible deaths that transpired, the number that got away like Cora, and the ones that didn't. Excellent writing, strong concept I am personally burnt out on slavery narratives so I cannot say this was a pleasure to read So much unrelenting horror Whitehead does an excellent job of portraying slavery and America as a slave nation The idea of the underground railroad, as an actual railroad, is so smart and interesting I wish he had actually donewith the railroad itself There were some sentences where I thought, Now you are just showing off The amount of research the author did is clear, throughout There is some really interesting structural work at play I wanted some of the secondary characters to befully developed This book is going to do very well, and rightly so. 3.5 stars “All men are created equal, unless we decide you are not a man.” I was really looking forward to this read! I had an interesting relationship with The Intuitionist, having read it in college and not quite grasped it then came back to it later and enjoyed itI love everything that Colson Whitehead is about (and I hope to read Zone One soon), but this particular foray into his work turned out to be a little less than a love affair for me The Underground Railroad starts on the Randall plantation in Georgia around 1812 This plantation is an amalgamation of every horror and tragedy you’ve ever heard of about slavery Slaves are beaten and raped for amusement, even on display for the entertainment of guests sipping lemonade; attempts at fleeing from bondage or bucking the system are (often arbitrarily) met with public displays of execution, from being strung up and castrated to a good olefashioned tarring and feathering Life on the plantation is as rough for women—who are used as breeders forslaves, hencemoney, and are constantly at the mercy of male appetites, both from those in the ivory tower and those in the fields—as it is for the laboring men In the midst of it all, Cora, a stray who’s gained a bit of a scarlet letter because her mother fled the plantation and left her behind years back, starts her long journey to freedom one quiet night with nothing but a sack of unripe turnips, two companions and the North Star as their guide But the untold horrors that she will face ahead of her on this trek will sometimes rival those that she left behind With a bounty on her head and dreams of education and freedom beckoning her forward, she will stop through a slew of Southern states—all with their own systems of Southern justice and oppression—and find herself on Whitehead’s reenvisaged Underground Railroad Within these pages, you’ll embark on a reimagined historical truth that could only be a creation of Colson Whitehead Here, the Underground Railroad is—get this—an actual train (or a single, rickety locomotive, but you get the point), complete with a conductor At times that term isallegorical than actual, but even the conductors have their own pasts that, at times, ensnare Cora in their traplike grasp Human sterilization to control the growth of the Negro population (which, in some states, problematically rivals the numbers of the white population), blackface, and the Tuskegee Project are all touched on here, are all experienced by our heroine in some periphery of her journey Those are the goodie takeaways Now for my qualms This novel would’ve been better served being written in first person, for Cora’s chapters at the very least This is a harrowing journey, a terrifying trek into the unknown for a young woman who has never been outside of the confines of the Randall Plantation for her entire life She’s never worked for her own wages, never bought her own new dress, never even been to see a doctor We want to see, touch and taste every moment of what she feels We want to quiver when she quivers and scream when she hurts We want to experience these truths reimagined for ourselves, because this is a remarkable journey set in a harrowing past that our country would rather keep hushed and obscured To truly break us out of this—to truly immerse us in this and better make the point that Whitehead sought to make—we should’ve been squarely in Cora’s shoes, not watching her from above in a slightly removed, vaguely clinical 3rd person While Whitehead’s intellectualism serves his plots well, it doesn’t do the greatest wonders for soulful and immersive execution Perhaps that comes down to being a matter of personal preference I found his writing style, as was the case in his The Intuitionist as well, to be talented but, yes, just a tad by the way of clinician And finesse—oh, finesse, thou art an allusive thing! Honestly, there wasn’t a lot of it here, and by that I mean that this was quite the bullride read: jerky and rough I had to reread several passages, because segues from one event to the next were often nonexistent Suddenly, you were in a saloon, or in the middle of an attack by rogue outlaws, then learning letters in a schoolhouse Literally, a person could go from alive to dead in a single, foursentence paragraph! Um, what?? (Shaking head vigorously.) What just happened now? Also, I could’ve done without the backstory chapters of the minor characters Every single one of those “letmeelaborateonthis(minor)character’spastlife” chapters could’ve been gutted from this manuscript—all except for one And that one you’ll know when you read it Still, Colson Whitehead managed to touch on the justifications and absolutions that the antebellum South whispered to themselves at night to justify their actions, biblical references that laid the way for Manifest Destiny and all the other gluttonous rationalizations that makes slavery possible, in any land, in any era And for that, I applauded him The story itself was great—a truly epic adventure—but the pace at which it jerked, sometimes lullingly slow and others at whiplashinducing speeds, turned me off And, I have to say, any novel where I feel even the slightest urge to skim and skip ahead can never get 4 stars from me But his work is definitely unique in its own right, and for that I would absolutely recommend this novel to anyone who has read the blurb and marked it as toread, to anyone who’s already familiar with Whitehead’s talents and appreciated them, and for those who have yet to become familiar with them I have a deep respect for this author; the style just didn’t work for me the way I’d hoped this time, and for that I award 3.5 stars ***I received an advanceread copy of this novel from the publisher, Doubleday, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.FOLLOW ME HERE:Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Get a Copy of My Book | Book Editing, Author Coaching, Submit Your Book to Me


About the Author: Colson Whitehead

I'm the author of the novels Zone One; Sag Harbor; The Intuitionist, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award; John Henry Days, which won the Young Lions Fiction Award, the Anisfield Wolf Book Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Apex Hides the Hurt, winner of the PEN Oakland Award I've also written a book of essays about my home town, The Colossus of New York, and a non fiction ac


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