Sunday, March 17, 2019

Book Review: Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (historical fiction)

Set in the 1800s, a time of great scientific and humanitarian advancements, this sweeping tale takes us from the British West Indies to the Arctic to Canada to England and to Africa.

Published in 2018
Published by Patrick Crean Editions
an imprint of HarperCollins Publications Ltd.

won the Scotiabank Giller prize in 2018

finalist for The Man Booker Prize

Sympathetic protagonist Washington Black is born a slave and is told the only way to freedom is death. And yet he finds another way.
When Washington watches Titch draw he thinks: 'I had never seen such artisty...And suddenly I knew that I wanted--desperately wanted--to do it too. I wanted to create a world with my hands.' (p. 45)
In an interview with Chatelaine magazine's reporter Emily Landau (January 2019) Author Esi Edugyan revealed that she gained inspiration for Washington Black from historic figures--Roger Tichborne and Olaudah Equiano.

Favourite quotes...
"If not for yourself, then for those like you who would never get the chance of it. Men as talented as you who will never get the chance of anything." (p. 306)
"There are several kinds of happiness, Washington. Sometimes it is not for us to choose, or even understand, the one granted to us."  (p. 402)


In 2013, I reviewed Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

Next post...

Sunday, March 24 at approximately 5 PM PST

A Wake for the Dreamland --a prize-winning historical fiction novel-- by Laurel Deedrich-Mayne is set in the years before, during and after World War II.