30 Nov 2020


Book Review / Washington Black by Esi Edugyan


Washington Black is an eleven-year-old field slave who knows no other life than the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born.

When his master's eccentric brother chooses him to be his manservant, Wash is terrified of the cruelties he is certain await him. But Christopher Wilde, or "Titch," is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor, and abolitionist.

He initiates Wash into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky; where two people, separated by an impossible divide, might begin to see each other as human; and where a boy born in chains can embrace a life of dignity and meaning. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash's head, Titch abandons everything to save him.

What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic, where Wash, left on his own, must invent another new life, one which will propel him further across the globe.

From the sultry cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, Washington Black tells a story of friendship and betrayal, love and redemption, of a world destroyed and made whole again--and asks the question, what is true freedom?


Published:     5th September 2017
Publisher:  Piatkus Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 45, In Death
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher 


I have seen this book around everywhere and whilst I don't usually tend to pick up hyped books that often, I just had to pick up this one for two reasons - the story sounded intriguing and the cover was beautiful!

This story is split into parts.  In the first part we see Washington Black who works as a field slave for a plantation in Barbados.  The 'owner' dies and two brothers are brought in to run it.  One of the brothers runs the plantation is evil and the other brother, Titch, takes a shine to Washington and asks him to be his apprentice.  In the second part, we follow Washington Black and Titchset off in Christopher's new invention, for pastures new.  After that we follow, Washington as he makes his way out in this new world to him.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this story from start to finish and despite the fact that the character of Washington is portrayed in the story to be a lot older than what he is said to be (11 years old), he was my favourite character.   I liked how we see him escape from a future that really wasn't very bright.  What I did find surprising, and I may have missed something here as the story did drag on in places, was how does a 11 year old former slave from a planation in Barbados, have such a large knowledge as if he had years more experience then what you would expect?  

Despite the fact that this story did drag on in places and was very predictable, it was enjoyable and I would recommend it but don't expect any surprises or twists in the story.