just finished

What a grim, gritty, uplifting journey this book is. I don't have the words to express the sadness, horror, and joy I sometimes felt. History at a raw, intense moment in time. Masterfully told. I couldn't stop, I had to know what was happening next. It unfolds in the style of a slave narrative--the action without internal dialogue and emotion.

From the publisher:
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish 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 and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In 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. 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 freedom.

As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates 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.


Paula said...

Sounds so good!!

The Gal Herself said...

The Underground Railroad is a big deal here in Illinois. (I can recall two sites pointed out to me as a little girl.) Plus I love this time in history. So I'm adding to my TBR. Thanks!