Friday, September 23, 2016

Lisa's Review: The Underground Railroad


Author: Colson Whitehead
Series: None
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 320
Obtained: Amazon
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Fantastical and Fabulous.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!

I have not known what to read for some time now and so I have not.  After focusing on academic reading (lots of it) for the last five years, it has been good to take a break.  A short trip to the airport and The Good Girl (I concur with Julie), turned that around.

I came to The Underground Railroad during Seth Myers’ recent interview of Whitehead. So intrigued was I, that two minutes in I popped out of bed to download the book to my Kindle.

It is hard to resist the concept of The Underground Railroad as a literal railroad (something we all believed to be true at some point in childhood or if you are a much older reality star. Ha!)  I have never read Gulliver’s Travels, so that explains why I spent the first half of the South Carolina chapter thinking “Really? South Carolina? During slavery?” before recalling the idea that each state Cora, (our protagonist) “visits” is presented as an alternate state of American history.

Whitehead is right. He puts Cora through a LOT. All of it heartbreaking – none more so than the subtle ironic reveal near the novel’s end. Throughout, I was despondent when Cora was, I cheered when she triumphed, even in small ways and I often wondered “what if?”  

It is not a perfect novel by any means and indeed my quibbles are minor, so to elaborate would be petty.  This is a novel worthy of the attention it is receiving.

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