Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Title: Washington Black

Author: Esi Edugyan

Context: Washington Black (2018) is a historical fiction novel by Esi Edugyan set in Barbados in the early 1800s. Washington Black is a tale about redemption and love, betrayal and friendship of a world that was demolished and created whole once again. ‘What is true freedom?’ is the question asked in the novel.

Synopsis: The novel is about an eleven year old field slave named ‘Wash’ or ‘Washington Black’ on a sugar plantation in Barbados. The brother of his master wants to have Wash as a manservant, which has terrified Wash. However, surprisingly, Wash finds that Christopher Wilde, his master’s brother is not the eccentric man he had imagined to be. Instead he turns out to be an abolitionist, inventor, an explorer and a naturalist.

Wash is very soon introduced into a world where a man can be carried in a flying machine across the sky, to a place where a life filled with dignity can be led by any chained up boy. This meant that even if an impossible divide, has separated two individuals then they can start seeing each other as human.

However Wash and his Christopher have to give up everything when a man is killed and a bounty has been placed on the head of Wash. Both of them fly along America’s eastern coast and reach in the Arctic to a remote outpost. Though they are bought together, the problem is that the very factor that bought them together will also separate them both.  This would leave Wash with no other alternative but to move on further across the globe to find his true self.

Other works by the Author:

2004 – The Second Life of Samuel Tyne

2011 – Half-Blood Blues

2014 – Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home

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