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The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing,…

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I:… (2006)

by M. T. Anderson

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2,5011452,424 (3.77)175

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I listened to this on my way back and forth from work. Since it's a new job and I drive to new places every week, my GPS talked over it a lot in the beginning and made me miss a bunch. Eventually I got the idea pretty much of what was going on though. It okay. I can definitely tell why my daughter enjoyed it with her love of Latin and some of the more disturbing descriptions. And I liked the way the ending was done. But I'm not sure I would want to be investing any more of my time in another book following this one. ( )
  Sarahliz2182 | Jul 1, 2017 |
Intriguing idea; poor execution. I was SO BORED.

There's even a section toward the end made up entirely of letters to and from random characters no one cares about that only occasionally mention any characters we know. WHY???

I will not be continuing this series. ( )
  danaenicole | May 7, 2017 |
First-hand account of slave Octavian Nothing's life in US Revolutionary times. Son of a beautiful African princess (whose name we never learn) he, too, is handsome, well-educated, talented, and smart. Octavian is, at best, a man without liberty, and, at worst, less than a man but a human specimen. Boston and area is in upheaval and the violence is real and arbitrary. Real life events include a "Pox Party" -- attendees are exposed to Small Pox -- those fortunate enough to survive develop a permanent immunity. O's mother, alas, dies and he runs away. He is recaptured but his life as a fugitive has begun. Hard-hitting, beautifully written... sort of the adult version of Chains. ( )
  mjspear | Mar 27, 2017 |
It only started getting interesting late in the book when it shifted from Octavian's view point.

Octavian's whole childhood was a science experiment. Measuring and observing everything - even his excrement, trying to be logical not emotional. So his early view is rather cold and uninvolved. ( )
  nx74defiant | Mar 5, 2017 |
This was an interesting take on the American slave experience - a black woman and her son, subject to a social experiment with all the indignities that entails. There is the background of the Revolutionary War fought for freedom (and yes, there is definitely irony there in seeing this from the viewpoint of a slave). ( )
  tjsjohanna | Dec 27, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anderson, M. T.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
James, Peter FrancisReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I was raised in a gaunt house with a garden; my earliest recollections are of floating lights in the apple-trees.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763624020, Hardcover)

A gothic tale becomes all too shockingly real in this mesmerizing magnum opus by the acclaimed author of FEED.

It sounds like a fairy tale. He is a boy dressed in silks and white wigs and given the finest of classical educations. Raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers, the boy and his mother — a princess in exile from a faraway land — are the only persons in their household assigned names. As the boy's regal mother, Cassiopeia, entertains the house scholars with her beauty and wit, young Octavian begins to question the purpose behind his guardians' fanatical studies. Only after he dares to open a forbidden door does he learn the hideous nature of their experiments — and his own chilling role in them. Set against the disquiet of Revolutionary Boston, M. T. Anderson's extraordinary novel takes place at a time when American Patriots rioted and battled to win liberty while African slaves were entreated to risk their lives for a freedom they would never claim. The first of two parts, this deeply provocative novel reimagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for readers today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:20 -0400)

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Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age sixteen, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.… (more)

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Candlewick Press

2 editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763624020, 0763636797

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