I enjoyed the book, although it wasn't quite as good as some people have indicated. The writing is solid, but the situations are somewhat stereotypical. I suppose the same could be said of many great authors of the past, i.e., when they paint a character for us they often throw all the paint on the canvas. But this one differed in that we surprisingly know relatively little about the main character, even by the end of the book. Because of the structure of the novel, which is a historical tour-de-force of the breadth and depth of the African-American experience in a white United States, the protagonist operates as a sort of perpetual, timeless tourist, viewing but not fully participating in the action. There were notable exceptions where you really feel she was in deep, such as hiding in the attic, but for the most part, I was a little bit surprised by her unemotional detachment to the horrors described throughout the novel. Definitely worth a read, but not the best book I've read up to now this year....Continua
Questo romanzo è imbarazzante. Personaggi senza spessore ridotti a macchiette, dialoghi legnosi e stereotipati, sviluppo delle scene allo stato larvale, trama scadente (com'è che Ridgeway stana i capistazione ma non gli viene mai in mente di cercare una botola prima di dar fuoco alla casa?). Nella quarta si disturba Tarantino... ma calcare la mano senza l'ironia che lo contraddistingue significa cadere nel ridicolo. E, per finire, non basta inserire un arringatore di folle per dare una coscienza politica alla storia....Continua
Eccellente scrittura, forte concetto. Sono personalmente bruciata sulle narrazioni della schiavitù, quindi non posso dire che questo sia un piacere leggerlo. Tanto orribile orrore. Whitehead fa un ottimo lavoro di ritrarre la schiavitù e l'America come una nazione schiava. L'idea della ferrovia sotterranea, come una ferrovia effettiva, è così intelligente e interessante. Vorrei che avesse fatto di più con la ferrovia stessa. C'erano alcune frasi in cui pensavo: "Ora stai solo mostrando". La quantità di ricerca che l'autore ha fatto è chiaro, in tutto. C'è qualche lavoro strutturale davvero interessante in gioco. Volevo che alcuni dei caratteri secondari siano più sviluppati. Questo libro sta andando molto bene, e giustamente così....Continua
This novel must have been very popular as I have waited for literally months before I was able to finally get my hand on it from my local library. The readers don't know what the "ultimate" fate of Cora is until the very end of the novel. In various extents, one feels the element of suspense throughout the novel and I've kept reading because of the desire to know what's going to happen to Cora next. I was relieved when I read the ending but it seems a bit incomplete, doesn't it ? At the end, Cora was sitting on a wagon going to St. Louis and then California. And then what ?! It ended too abruptly. Does this sound like the need for a sequel ?
In order for Cora to flee from the Georgian plantation, South Carolina, North Carolina and so on, quite a few people have taken risk and sometimes were killed and sacrificed when they were found to have been helping the slave(s). It's sad and one genuinely wonders whether it's really worth so many people's lives. Of course, one could also call them heroes who laid the foundation for slave liberation. Nevertheless, in the course of reading this novel, I've wondered why those White folks would want to risk their lives to help the Black slaves. Even though the author has tried to give reasons, I don't find them really reasonable or convincing enough to the extent of risking ones' lives.
If one doesn't know what racial discrimination is, this novel would be a very good education, at least offering a strong taste of it. Though the following is probably not the essence of the novel, I'd nevertheless like to write down a small part of Elijah Lander's last speech before he was shot : "... America, too, is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes--believes with all its heart--that it's their right to take the land. To kill Indians. Make war. Enslave their brothers. This nation shouldn't exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty." (2nd last paragraph on p.285). Though this is an antebellum story, I feel that what Lander said here is not completely out of date !
The novel has been narrated mostly from the point of view of Cora but the author has included several short chapters where the readers have the chance to look into what the other characters were thinking, often after their deaths. The most interesting one is "Mabel" (p.289-295). Though Cora thought she hated her mom, Mabel, she's been looking for her wherever she went. Both she and the readers have kept wondering where Mabel has been hiding. This suspense is probably one of the most important ones in this novel. In the second last (short) chapter, almost just ten pages before the end of the novel, the readers would find that Mabel actually has given up her escape in the middle of a marsh and wanted to return to the Randall plantation, but she was bitten by a snake and died in a swamp. What a pity ! Absolutely sad ! I almost cried there.
In a small number of sentences, the author seems to choose to use wrong grammar when some slave characters spoke ? For example, on p.14 (2nd line): "...in they head ..." should be "...in their head...". The same feature appears on p.114 (2nd last line), "...they friends ..."....Continua