The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel
- Publish Date: 2016-08-02
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Colson Whitehead
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhoodâwhere 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 plannedâCora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
Â Â Â In Whiteheadâs ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphorâengineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesarâs first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the cityâs placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And 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.
Â Â Â Like the protagonist ofÂ Gulliverâs Travels,Â Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journeyâhers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the preâCivil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.Â The Underground RailroadÂ is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one womanâs ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.