February 2019 TMB Book Club Selection: Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Discussion in 'TMB Book Club' started by Truman, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    [​IMG]

    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?
     
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  2. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    Through 5 chapters. Good so far. Nothing too specific to add. Still setting up everything.
     
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  3. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    The patriarch of the family is dead. Hopefully Titch gets to take over the plantation now and be nicer or maybe even free the slaves. Doubtful though

    Oh shit, even better - they're making a run for it.
     
    #3 Truman, Feb 2, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  4. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    Damn, hows Titch just going to abandon Wash in the arctic like that? Also, it dawned on me this is told in 1st person past tense, so maybe Wash makes it out of this story ok. :pray:
     
  5. CBH

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    Ordered it on Amazon yesterday and should begin by the end of the week
     
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  6. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    Through part 5

    The first half of this book and me hooked in, but Im losing interest in the latter half. It's just kind of a meandering journey of this dude. There's no real emotional bonds, or social commentary ect. Just kind of a story, that's not all that exciting. Unless something changes in the last quarter of the book. Perhaps Titch isnt dead and the reconnect. idk.
     
  7. Truman

    Truman Well-Known Member
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    Finished 6.5

    My opinion of the book didnt change from my last update. Just ok. The first half was interesting, but it started to drag in the latter half. The harshness of being a slave, then being plucked out of that world. Kind of turned into a Huckleberry Finn/Gulliver's Travels type story.

    Also felt like she was heavy handed with the themes of the book. Felt like she spoon fed what she wanted the readers to think, instead of being a good enough writer to let it come out in the story. The whole gist of it was how Wash is dealing with not getting credit for the Aquarium, did Titch really care about him , ect where great storylines that could have hit the emotional strings, but she she just kind of tapped out and explained it all in exposition instead of showing us through Wash.

    IDK - maybe Im being a bit too harsh, but I found myself just wanted to finished the book to get it over with, instead of having interest in how it ended. Felt like there was a really good book in here somewhere, it just didnt come to fruition. :idk:
     
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  8. Tangman

    Tangman Well-Known Member
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    Should be starting tonight.
     
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  9. Tangman

    Tangman Well-Known Member
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    Looking forward to seeing Wash get to experience more of the world.

    Still kinda setting the story up but I'm interested. Have enjoyed what I've read so far. I did have a hard time buying Wash not recognizing Kit at Wilde Hall.
     
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  10. jkun

    jkun UGA, United, Falcons, Braves, Tennis, Chelsea
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    Finished

    was just okay for me. Felt like the 2nd half of the book kind of fell off
     
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  11. Tangman

    Tangman Well-Known Member
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    Done - 6/10

    As Truman said, a decent book and I'm glad that I read it but frankly I'm surprised that it got short-listed for the Man Booker.

    The author did a great job setting the table in the first 3rd or so of the book but the Arctic passages were kind of a slog. The last half kind of meandered about (Wash does this, Wash and Tanna went here, etc) without really developing the characters much. It is well-written but just lacks the literary heft I'd expected. Not mad that I read it or anything. I did enjoy the Titch reunion at the end, thought that was among the most eloquent passages.
     
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  12. Willpépé

    Willpépé Miles of D.
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    5/10

    Finished up yesterday. Writer and style definitely had me hooked and I agree there could be a good book there. Two things I felt were missing were the time lines that blurred together and kind of seemed to jump around even within the same chapter(s). I also felt there was a loss of relationship with people in said time lapses and far too much lottery like circumstance. Felt the book was best in the initial stages on the plantation/ship to Virginia in the most oppressive situations.
     
  13. RegimentML

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    I finished this this morning. Haven't read through all the spoilers, but I just thought it was ok. I thought it was written well. I felt like the ending was sort of abrupt, like she didn't really know how to wrap everything up. I enjoyed it more toward the beginning, and found myself ready for it to be over by the end. Solid book, worth a read, but 6.5/10 for me.
     
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