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Publisher's Summary

"Enthralling." (Boston Globe)

"Extraordinary." (Seattle Times)

"A rip-roaring tale." (Washington Post)

Finalist for the Man Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence 

From the author of the award-winning international best seller Half-Blood Blues comes a dazzling adventure story about a boy who rises from the ashes of slavery to become a free man of the world.

George Washington Black, or "Wash", an 11-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is terrified to be chosen by his master's brother as his manservant. To his surprise, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning - and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash's head, Christopher and Wash must abandon everything. What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic. What brings Christopher and Wash together will tear them apart, propelling Wash even further across the globe in search of his true self. 

From the blistering cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, from the earliest aquariums of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black tells a story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, of a world destroyed and made whole again, and asks the question, What is true freedom?

©2018 Esi Edugyan (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

Washington Black is as harrowing a portrayal of slavery as Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, but it also becomes a globe-trotting, page-turning adventure story. A historical epic with much to say about the present-day world.” (The Guardian)

Washington Black is nothing short of a masterpiece. Esi Edugyan has a rare talent for turning over little known stones of history and giving her reader a new lens on the world, a new way of understanding subject matter we arrogantly think we know everything about. This book is an epic adventure and a heartfelt tale about love and morality and their many contradictions. I loved it.” (Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird)

“Edugyan’s magnificent third novel again demonstrates her range and gifts.... Framing the story with rich evocations of the era’s science and the world it studies, Edugyan mines the tensions between individual goodwill and systemic oppression, belonging and exclusion, wonder and terror, and human and natural order.... Crafted in supple, nuanced prose, Edugyan’s novel is both searing and beautiful.” (Publishers Weekly

"This memorable audiobook takes a young slave from captivity to freedom as narrator Dion Graham wrings every heartfelt emotion from the story. Edugyan's work embodies the fear and brutality of 1800s slavery, using beautifully turned phrases and clear-eyed observations - which Graham takes to another level - to give voice to the horror and high adventure of Washington Black's life." (AudioFile)

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