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Group Read Discussions > August 2018-- The Underground Railroad *NO SPOILERS*

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message 1: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new)

Jasmine | 1245 comments Mod
The book picked by our group to read for August 2018 wasThe Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. This is the NO SPOILER thread. Happy Reading!

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish 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 operate 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. 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.

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.



message 2: by Harry (new)

Harry Miller | 33 comments I am enjoying this book very much. The writing is extremely economical and clever. The description of slaves "chained head to toe, head to toe, in exponential misery" (p. 4), is typically compressed and powerful.

I am neutral on the non-grammatical sentences. "Finally, Georgia." (p. 7) is an efficient way to transform the setting. Other fragments don't do it for me.

In all, though, I'm devouring this book.


message 3: by Jodi (new)

Jodi | 3 comments The depiction of slavery and being chained is vivid, and the writing description relates the terrors experienced at that time is very true assessment. Very good read.


message 4: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Zaccaria My overall review:

Colson Whitehead is an amazing writer. He immerses readers into his tale with beautiful language that explains details without being too much. This story was a clever way to insert some "what if" into the terrible tragedies experienced under the banner of slavery. I think it's important we're reminded of what we have done to one another and in some ways still do.

My only nit-picking critique would be the pacing. Sometimes the story lagged and I felt it ended somewhat abruptly. Otherwise, a brilliant book. 4.5 stars!


message 5: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 76 comments I'm nearing the end and enjoying it. Like others have said, I've found a few parts to be slow. Overall, I like the writing style and I like the author's ability to show the horrors of slavery without pounding the reader over the head with gore. He gives just enough, and lets the imagination fill in the rest.


message 6: by Carrie (new)

Carrie | 48 comments Another Underground Railroad read is The Runaway Quilt which our book group just discussed and all felt it was a good read and we had a good discussion


message 7: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new)

Jasmine | 1245 comments Mod
I'm just starting this. I'm late to the game, but I'm hoping to finish it before the month is over in time for next month's read. The one downside to waiting for a library hold.


message 8: by Sydney (last edited Aug 26, 2018 07:54AM) (new)

Sydney (slknutsen) | 329 comments Carrie wrote: "Another Underground Railroad read is The Runaway Quilt which our book group just discussed and all felt it was a good read and we had a good discussion"

Chiaverini books are quite popular here too. She does a well-researched book, and I quite enjoyed The Runaway Quilt.


message 9: by Patty (new)

Patty Mccormick | 8 comments I read The Underground Railroad awhile back and I hate reading books twice. I also enjoyed The Runaway Quilt. I think I have read most of the chiaverini books.
I am happy to say I have not read The September book. So I just bought it for my kindle and plan on joining in. It is a good sized book so I think I’m glinting to get started.


message 10: by D.B. (new)

D.B. Woodling I finished this novel in February. My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 11: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Crane | 35 comments I was disappointed in "The Underground Railroad." I didn't find it particularly revealing about the true horrors of slavery. I think that Toni Morrison's "Beloved" covers much the same ground in a far more elegant, eloquent and realistic way.


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