I finished Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad last week. The marketing hook for this book is that the historical Underground Railroad is actually a real underground railroad. It’s a metaphor that fits well, but it’s also one that is way oversold. The meat of the book is essentially a slave narrative and examination of all the different ways black bodies were owned, abused, and destroyed throughout American history. It uses traditional narrative structure (threshold guardians, lots of positive and negative rising actions, revelation, transformation) except at the end, where, even once the boon is attained, there is no return.
This was one of the Xmas books. It’s also a book that appeared on my current writing workshop’s reading list. There were 20-something books, and the students are supposed to pick one and present on it in class next week. I pounced on this one the second I saw it. And once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.