“There could be no belonging for a creature such as myself, anywhere, a black boy with a scientific turn of mind and a talent on canvas, running, always running, from the dimmest of shadows,” says Washington Black, hero and narrator of this extraordinary new novel of the same title - Washington Black - by Canadian writer Esi Edugyan.
Set in the 19th century, we meet the 11-year-old Wash, a slave on a Barbados plantation run by a cruel owner. He escapes in a hot air balloon with the owner’s scientist and inventor brother Titch to begin his travels beyond the plantation from the Arctic to Morocco. Working side by side with Titch, Wash’s artistic talent and abiding fascination with the marine creatures Titch is collecting and studying unfolds, as does Titch’s own mystery and family tragedy.
In her third novel – shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize - Edugyan has crafted not only an exciting adventure story but a compelling, deeply moving exploration of the conflicts and complications embedded within both powerlessness and privilege.