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Washington Black


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About the Author

Esi Edugyan is author of the novels The Second Life of Samuel Tyne and Half-Blood Blues, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, the Governor General's Literary Award, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Orange Prize. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.


"Extraordinary. . . . Edugyan is a magical writer." -The Washington Post

"A daring work of empathy and imagination." -The New York Times Book Review

"Soaring. . . . Washington Black contains immense feeling." -Entertainment Weekly

"An inspiring story of freedom and self discovery." -Time

"Enthralling." -The Boston Globe

"Sparkling . . . full of truths and startling marvels." -San Francisco Chronicle

"Powerful." -The Seattle Times

"Lush, exhilarating." -The New Yorker

"Edugyan has created a wonder of an adventure story, powered by the helium of fantasy, but also by the tender sensibility of its aspiring young hero." -NPR

"Washington Black's presence in these pages is fierce and unsettling." -Colm Toibin, The New York Times Book Review

"A gripping historical narrative exploring both the bounds of slavery and what it means to be truly free." -Vanity Fair

"Brutal, magical, urgent and exuberant." -Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Imaginative and dynamic. . . . With equal parts terror, adventure and humanity, Washington Black reads like a dream collaboration between Jules Verne and Colson Whitehead." -The Dallas Morning News

"Exuberant and spellbinding. . . . The novel is not only harrowing and poignant in its portrayal of the horrors of slavery on a Caribbean plantation but liberating, too, in its playful shattering of the usual tropes. The result is a book about freedom that's both heartbreaking and joyfully invigorating." -Simon Sebag Montefiore, The Wall Street Journal

"Masterful. . . . [A] wondrous book." -The Economist

"Edugyan's language is exquisite, and the life story of her titular slave . . . is a swashbuckling adventure." -Vulture

"Profoundly humane." -The Times (London)

"As harrowing a portrayal of slavery as Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, but also a globe-trotting, page-turning adventure story. A historical epic with much to say about the present-day world." -The Guardian

"A wildly imaginative exploration of what it means to be free." -Financial Times

"Elegant, nuanced. . . . Edugyan illustrates the complexity of identity and explores what defines us. Is it what surrounds us, such as family? Or is it what is inside us?" -The Christian Science Monitor

"A thoughtful, boldly imagined ripsnorter that broadens inventive possibilities for the antebellum novel." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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