Underground RailRoad by Colson Whitehead
About: 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.
Awards: WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2017
WINNER OF THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD 2017
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER 2016
AMAZON.COM #1 BOOK OF THE YEAR 2016
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5
Thoughts: I almost feel bad saying that I didn’t love this book as much as everyone else. The first half where we get to read about Cora and her struggles in the cotton farm were fast paced and very informative about the slave trade, without being boring. But after the second half I felt like the book suddenly became very dry and the story was interrupted many times to give way to more historical information. This kind of broke the flow of the story for me.
I found myself not invested in the story or the fate of characters as much. I continued reading only because Cora’s story was a representation of what a lot of black people faced in those times. Even though I felt angry and sad at the slave history I never really felt truly connected to Cora or anyone else for that matter. Also brings me to the point of there being way too many minor characters to keep track of.
The main thing that a lot of readers seem to like is the magical realism of the underground railroad. But I felt like the railroad was not mentioned enough to be a major part of the book. Also even if the author had used the real underground network instead of the railroad, it wouldn’t have taken anything from the story.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed.
P.S: Is anyone hating the new Block structure Editor by WordPress? It’s driving me crazy