Skip to main content

Summer Reading 2019: Washington Black

Here's why Kari suggests Washington Black...

There are many stories about people fleeing slavery, but this is the only one where escape is by hot air balloon. This novel is a tour de force. Spanning countries and years, it holds many apparent contradictions. It is a both a deep character study and a sweeping adventure story, dealing equally with the fantastical and the scientific, cruel reality and artistic expression, rescue and abandonment. I've really never read anything like it. 

About the book

Washington Black

By Esi Edugyan

Working in the sticky heat of the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born, 11-year-old field slave Washington Black is terrified when he's made manservant to his master's offbeat brother. But naturalist/explorer Wilde, or "Titch," eagerly introduces Wash to a brave new world and protects him when a bounty is placed on his head, as they flee north along America's Atlantic coast to the chilly Arctic. But in their world, can friendship last? From the author of the international bestseller Half-Blood Blues, winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize and short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. - Library Journal

Interview with the author

About the reader

  Kari Kiernan, Assistant to the Head of School

Kari previously recommended:

  • Room With a View by E.M. Forster
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi