Washington Black

Washington Black

A Novel

Book - 2018
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Washington Black, an eleven-year-old slave, is chosen to be the manservant of Christopher Wilde who takes him on adventures around the globe.
Publisher: Toronto : Patrick Crean Editions, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781443423380
Characteristics: 419 pages


From Library Staff

2018 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Finalist & 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist Nominee

2018 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Finalist & 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist Nominee

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Nov 10, 2018

An interesting story of the journey of George Washington Black through his childhood as a slave and into his adulthood and his relationship with a very independent young woman.

The story starts in 1830 when 'Wash', as he was called, is 10 or 11 years old. It takes the reader through his time as a slave in the cane fields and his close relationship with an older slave lady. To being taken as an assistant to the brother of the plantation master. Wash discovers his love of drawing and learns to read. His duties include assisting his adult companion with wild ideas. This leads to adventures and travel from Barbados to the Arctic and onward around the globe.

I enjoyed the authors use of language, I could hear Wash speaking, and her descriptions and the smell of places and things. I enjoyed this book immensely!

LPL_DirectorBrad Oct 30, 2018

The hype on this book has been strong. (Its currently shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.) The descriptions of the book caught my interest. Finally got a copy and could not put this book down. There is everything to like about this book. It's a tremendous adventure story at the very least. At its best, I see this book as a serious counterpoint/replacement to earlier more problematic stories about slavery. While appearing to be promoted and sold as a book for adults, I think this book should be required reading for high schoolers as a brilliant meditation on the story of the African slave diaspora in the mid 19th century. I simply cannot recommend this book strongly enough. Powerful, engaging writing. I must seek out Ms. Edugyan's previous books. Read this now!

Oct 24, 2018

Man Booker prize short list.

Oct 20, 2018

I was drawn to this book by its young protagonist and its adventurous theme. I enjoyed following Wash to different parts of the world as he made discoveries about himself and others. Beautifully written with insightfulness and intelligence. The mid-1800 scientific invention era was different from what I normally read, but I enjoyed it. I was, however, disappointed in the abrupt ending, but overall a very good book.

Oct 19, 2018

If I told you the story is about a plantation slave in Barbados who is taken in by a rogue son of the cruel owner who together launch a hot air balloon that crashes on a ship at sea that takes them to Virginia, then Hudson Bay where they take sled dogs to Igloos in Nova Scotia......you might think it's a little crazy. However, in and amongst the travels is a parallel journey of Wash who goes from slave to sketch artist to friend - finding his own identification and place at each turn. Edugyan's writing style is absorbing.

Sep 21, 2018

A great book,interesting story and great characters.Best of 2018.

SPL_Brittany Sep 20, 2018

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize (2018), Edugyan writes a fast-paced and compelling historical fiction novel that begins in Barbados in 1830, as we follow Washington Black (Wash) first as a slave, then unexpectedly as a manservant to his masters younger brother Titch who chooses him to assist with Titch’s scientific experiments. An unexpected death has Wash fleeing the island, and later a shocking betrayal has Wash travelling all over the world as he tries to define who he is and where he fits in, in a world where tensions exist between individual goodwill and systematic oppression.

Edugyan novel is filled with lyrical prose and richly detailed locations as we follow Wash in his journey as he strives to define himself. This novel is perfect for book clubs and readers who enjoy historical fiction that is character-driven and is set during the 19th century.

Sep 12, 2018

Disclaimer: I received a free advance review copy of this title from the publisher at ALA Annual 2018.

Washington Black is a novel full of adventure and travel, from Titch and Wash’s improbable escape from Faith Plantation, to encounters with bounty hunters, expeditions to the Arctic, and the escapades of cutting edge scientists diving for marine zoology specimens for an ambitious new undertaking. The reader will not lack for entertainment on this account, however it is the depth of the characters, and the nuance with which their situations are portrayed that really makes this novel unforgettable.

Full review: https://shayshortt.com/2018/09/11/washington-black/

debwalker Jul 24, 2018

Another Canadian author makes the 2018 Man Booker Prize long list!


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Sep 12, 2018

Born into slavery on Faith Plantation in Bardbados, George Washington Black has never known any other life. When his master dies, the slaves expect the estate to be broken up and sold off, but instead two brother arrive, nephews of the old owner. Erasmus Wilde proves to be a cruel man who drives his slaves harder than the old owner ever did. But his brother, Christopher “Titch” Wilde, is a man of science, and while the other slaves on Faith are doomed to a harder lot, Wash is selected to help Titch with his experiments, and his seemingly impossible dream to launch an airship called the Cloud Cutter. However, being selected as Titch’s assistant will come at a price Wash could never have expected, and their strange, uneven relationship will change the course of Wash’s life forever, for better and for worse.


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Sep 12, 2018

I carried that nail like a shard of darkness in my fist. I carried it like a secret, like a crack through which some impossible future might be glimpsed. I carried it like a key.

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