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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
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The Underground Railroad

by Colson Whitehead

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1,6831164,247 (4.09)247

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I could only read this book slowly. I almost never peek at later chapters and never cheat by turning to the last page. Not for this book, I was so invested in Cora's outcome and so nervous she would meet a sad end that it helped me to look ahead. The writing is wonderful. Colson Whitehead painted a vivid picture of the different southern states Cora was forced to endure. While some books are forgettable, The Underground Railroad will stay with me always. ( )
  debann6354 | May 19, 2017 |
Cora is a slave and escapes from Georgia using the (in this book, literal) underground railroad.

I listened to the audio and it never did keep my attention. Because it couldn’t hold my attention, I found it difficult to follow, as every time I started paying attention again, there would be a new group of characters (or so it seemed). I assumed each time that Cora had moved on to a different place. Much later on, though, I figured out that the book was also jumping around in time and between Cora and her mother, Mabel (possibly also Cora’s grandmother, but I’m not sure; I know there was some about her grandmother at the start of the book, but that would still have been chronological order). So, ultimately and unfortunately, this just wasn’t for me (at least on audio). ( )
1 vote LibraryCin | May 15, 2017 |
Not a poolside book, but a quick and easy read. The science fiction aspect entails a time-warp aspect, with a jump to the 1880s and 1930s, to bring into the novel horrific actual events of coerced sterilization and the Tuskegee syphilis study. Whitehead's style occasionally surprises with beauty of language and construction that are like a extraordinary burst in an already good novel. I will be reading his other books- which are all different styles. He is a marvelously talented author. ( )
  aRIELbRIESSE | May 12, 2017 |
Quality of Writing: 9.00
Glad you read it?: 9.60
  bookclub4evr | May 8, 2017 |
This is a moving and wildly inventive tale that shines a light on a very dark period of American history and tells how networks of black and white helped slaves escape to freedom decades before the Civil War.

The story chronicles the life of a teenage slave named Cora as she flees the Georgia plantation risking everything. Traveling Cora tried to elude bounty hunters, informers and lynch mobs with the help of a few railroad workers who were willing to risk their lives.

The novel jumps around in time and space and is quite fractured with interludes portraying other characters such as her friend Caesar and Ridgeway, the bounty hunter. The narrative is plain yet smoothly conveys the horrors of slavery: fear, humiliation, brutality and the loss of dignity. The author never flinches in portraying the worst of the slaves’ experiences even salting words with a racist undertone (nigger). The characters use the language of the period: examples: pickaninny and buck. I must admit it took some time to get used to this.

“The Underground Railroad” is an uneven book with great passages and some no so believable (railroad and tunnel scenes). It is great when it tells the story yet loses spunk when the imagination seems to be in over-drive. Although we have compelling snapshots of the life during that time, it missed the mark emotionally with a characterization that is simply underdeveloped…they seemed such a bunch of blah players…. This is a good book but I admit to have read far better and more captivating novels on slavery in America.

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Synopsis from the Pulitzer Prices site:

“For a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.” ( )
  Tigerpaw70 | May 5, 2017 |
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In a sense, “The Underground Railroad” is Whitehead’s own attempt at getting things right, not by telling us what we already know but by vindicating the powers of fiction to interpret the world. In its exploration of the foundational sins of America, it is a brave and necessary book.
 
The writer is called Mitchell. Doing origami is what my family and I enjoy. After being out of my job for years I became a human resources assistant. Tennessee is where we've been living for years.

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