The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead
Published: August 2016
This depiction of slavery in the South and the hopeless illusion of freedom in the North was genuinely hard to read. Cora’s frantic travels across the country drag the reader through different regions, exploring complex perspectives on race relations, never quite escaping the moral necrosis of manifest destiny.
4 out of 5 stars: This is a tough book to review. On the one hand, it was difficult for me to get through it and for the most part was thoroughly unenjoyable. The gruesome treatment of slaves, free folk and sympathizers was obviously extremely unsettling, but more subtly, I felt a distance between myself and the main character and her dispassionate narrative. But when I think about the story itself, of course it’s not going to be enjoyable, it’s about slavery for fuck’s sake. And Cora’s tone throughout the novel just reflects the detachment she feels from the journey, from her surroundings, from her life. What an awful blemish on the history of the States.