Washington Black: A Novel

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(as of May 10,2021 08:24:25 UTC – Details)


Top 10 Book of the Year: New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, Entertainment Weekly, Slate

One of the Best Books of the Year: Boston Globe, NPR, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Economist, Bustle

Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize

Finalist for The Man Booker Prize, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize

“Enthralling” (The Boston Globe)

“Extraordinary” (The Seattle Times)

“A rip-roaring tale” (The Washington Post)

A dazzling adventure story about a boy who rises from the ashes of slavery to become a free man of the world.

George Washington Black, or “Wash,” an 11-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is terrified to be chosen by his master’s brother as his manservant. To his surprise, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning – and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash’s head, Christopher and Wash must abandon everything. What follows is their flight along the Eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic. What brings Christopher and Wash together will tear them apart, propelling Wash even further across the globe in search of his true self. 

From the blistering cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, from the earliest aquariums of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black tells a story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, of a world destroyed and made whole again, and asks the question, What is true freedom?


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