Washington Black ~ by Esi Edogyan

I must be getting old – older anyway. . This book was, for the most part, just too tense and violent for my tastes. It made the Booker Short List but it’s basically a brutal historical adventure story the themes of which are slavery and racism along with. beauty and love on a level in keeping with modern sensibilities. Had it not been a Booker Group reading selection I likely would have given up and it would have been my loss because the best part is the last part and the brutality is woven into the themes – contributes to them in the end.

All that said, there was something compelling about it. “What will happen next?” and “Will Wash survive?” With his fresh intelligent innocence the young eponymous first person is a large part of the draw.

Washington Black
by Esi Edogyan
2018 / 340 pages
read by Don Graham – 12h 18m
rating: 8.5 – / historical fiction

The cover art on the Kindle edition seems humorous but do NOT let it fool you, without any spoilers really, that’s similar to the way Wash escapes the Barba-dos plantation where he is held as a slave. The story is what all happens next.

And quite a lot happens to bright and courageous (although often scarded to death) Wash who turns out to be a gifted artist with some scientific inclinations and a deep sense of loyalty. He has many opponents and enemies, but he finds protectors (he’s only 12 at the outset) and later friends. The book opens in 1830.

On the upside, the book is written nicely with appropriate language. interesting metaphors, and several complex characters. Some have suggested it strained the limits of believability but that part was not a problem for me although I did have to work around some things.

This entry was posted in 2023 Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Washington Black ~ by Esi Edogyan

  1. Lisa Hill says:

    Yeah, I hear you.
    I”m reading one at the moment that seems to have gone out of its way to depict violence against women…


    • Becky Lindroos says:

      I’ve heard those kinds of books called “Fem Jeop.” (female jeopardy). They seem to have gotten way too popular.


      • Lisa Hill says:

        Yes. One of our Australian authors won a UK award for writing a thriller that *didn’t* involve violence against women. The thing is, it’s almost normal in certain types of fiction, but it’s not actually normal, and all these books suggesting that it is, are normalising it. It’s like all the swearing: I’m no prude and I mix with people of all sorts of backgrounds, and no one I know uses 4-letter words routinely, like they do in books. But the books normalise it, as if ‘everyone does it’.


  2. Yup – and I’m drawn more and more to the “cozy” mysteries.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s