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Invitation to Book Club: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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book-club-logoDate: Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Time: 19:30 (7:30 pm)
Register by: 21 November 2017 (registration form below)
Cost: Free for members
Guests: €5,00 pp (READ about how this can be pro-rated towards your membership fee)

From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor engineers and conductors operating a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Like the protagonist of ”Gulliver’s Travels, ” Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey; hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. ”The Underground Railroad” is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.’

REVIEWS:
In powerful, precise prose, at once spellbinding and ferocious, the book follows Cora’s incredible journey north, step by step . . . the story is literature at its finest and history at its most barbaric. * Publishers Weekly
Hard-driving, laser-sharp, artistically superlative, and deeply compassionate, Whitehead’s unforgettable odyssey adds a clarion new facet to the literature of racial tyranny and liberation * Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence, shortlist announcement
A charged and important novel that pushed at the boundaries of fiction — Justine Jordan * Guardian, Best Books of 2016

We will also be having a book swap that evening, so come and bring any good books you have lying around and swap with someone else. A great and easy way to find more good books to read 🙂


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