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

by M. T. Anderson (Author)

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Recently added bymamelotti, private library, trinityM82, RCW, tlvasquez, rgruberhighschool, kethorn23, NISLibrary
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National Book Award Winner RGG: Set during the 1770's incorporating issues about slavery, science experiments, and the reasons for the Revolutionary War. Written in eighteenth century diction, a very difficult read.
  rgruberhighschool | Apr 5, 2015 |
Substance: A black boy gradually discovers the hypocrisies and paradoxes of life in the British American Colonies in the beginning of the Revolution. The grotesquery of the imaginary Novanglian College of Lucidity are rivaled only but the activities of the similar establishments of the day. The barbarity of the proponents of slavery is balanced by the mercy and heroism of its opponents.
Style: The author does a fine job of emulating the writers of the Colonial period, with some allowances for engaging modern audiences.
However, I probably won't bother to finish the series unless I find some indication that the sequels vary from their predictable course.

See this review at Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/98199826?book_show_action=true&page=1 ( )
  librisissimo | Feb 14, 2015 |
This book was eloquent and dark, and amazingly well written but I still wasn't a huge fan of it. It starts off like a gothic fairy tale an African prince and his mother are hidden away in an American mansion and given the best classical education, the finest clothes, the best instruments, all the while the white men study them and discontent grows in America. Octavian doesn't really understand how peculiar his circumstances are until he is older and filled in by the slave, Bono.

Interesting from a historical and literary perspective. For fans of American history and young adult literature. ( )
  ecataldi | Mar 3, 2014 |
For the first several chapters of this astonishing novel, the reader is unmoored in space and time, uncertain even of genre. And this is a good thing, because the reader must slow down and learn along with Octavian himself the circumstances of his life. Slowly, details are revealed, and the reader realizes with Octavian that he is the center of cruel experiment on the cusp of the Revolutionary War in Boston, making the book a historical novel…or is it? It covers so much, including history, philosophy, hair-raising adventure, and the cruelty of slavery, that it is limiting to confine it to one genre. Additionally, the format of diary entries, manuscripts, letters, and public notices keeps the reader engaged in piecing together the full story. A highly illuminating and engrossing read unlike nearly any other book, the descriptions of the physical and mental anguish that went into slavery are among the most visceral the reviewer has ever read; therefore it is highly recommended for mature younger YA readers and older YA readers. Octavian Nothing could be an excellent adjunct to studying slavery or the revolutionary war in the classroom. Highly recommended. ( )
  LibrarianMaven | Oct 14, 2013 |
Octavian is the son of an African Queen who was sold into slavery when she was pregnant. This wasn’t any ordinary slavery because they became a science experiment. When the funding for the experiment falls through, Octavian’s life is changed, and his true identity is soon revealed. The idea of growing up as something or someone, and then finding out you are someone completely different and have been used your whole existence, is a connection few, but some can make. ( )
  Backus2 | Sep 24, 2013 |
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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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:47 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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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Editions: 0763624020, 0763636797

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