Washington Black – Esi Edugyan


An 11yo plantation slave becomes a personal servant to his master’s brother.

➽ “George Washington Black is the name of an 11yo plantation slave who is whisked out of his doomed life and given a fresh start as a personal servant for a rich white gentleman.

“His name is a hint at the political undertones of the novel – I think Edugyan is showcasing that the US is in danger of revisiting, philosophically, the bad old days.

“Washington is educated by his new master and their race for freedom takes them around the world and to London, with hints of Jules Verne’s Around The World in 80 Days and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations apparent.

“It is an exciting and easy read, with a moral to discover between the lines, though the beginning of the book is more relatable than some of the outrageous and convenient tales that occur as you progress through the story. Though, I guess what the author is trying to say is that the world is your oyster when you start life as underprivileged and poorly treated as some minorities are.” – Rachel

We must all take on faith the stories of our birth, for though we are in them, we are not yet present.

➽ “Washington Black is a rip-roaring yarn with a real sense of adventure. Initially based in a setting of a Barbados plantation with a brutal slave master wreaking havoc and fear, the story takes a very different turn when Wash and the master’s brother escape one night.

This is where the adventure begins, however Washington remains shaped by his slavery experiences despite Titch’s attempts to show him a new life. I found this to be a sad book where despite Washington breaking free from slavery and achieving great things, he remained shaped by society’s expectations of him.” – Suzy

Published 2018
Knopf Publishing Group
352 pages

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