“Look outside as you speed through, and you’ll find the true face of America.”
I was hesitant to start this book since I had so much trouble with finishing (really, starting) Zone One (from the same author) but I was pleasantly surprised that this immediately got my attention and I found myself compulsively reading it.
The story us about Cora, a slave in a plantation in Georgia. Her mother had escaped when she was young and she is an outcast even from her fellow slaves. The book follows her journey as she escapes from the plantation and rides the underground railroad on her way to freedom, with some stops along the way.
The novel is historical fiction, i guess, but I think it’s more alternate history. Most of the details of slave and plantation life are accurate, but the Underground Railroad is imagined as a real railroad with actual trains. As an aside, I must admit, when I was a child, not being from the US and only hearing/reading about it in snippets, I DID think at first that the underground railroad was an actual railroad. In the book, the an actual railroad and trains allows Cora to travel to different states. In each of these states, she experiences or is witness to the various atrocities perpetuated on black people. I do not think that in real life they happened during the time period the book is set in, but actual atrocities like the Tuskegee Syphilis studies and the Tulsa Massacre are transported and into the period and Cora made to experience them. That makes the book pretty admirable as a concept.
Cora is a brave and strong protagonist. She has a lot of luck, good and bad. Meets people, loses them. I really liked the book and I think maybe its am important one. But I just think it ends abruptly or it leaves me wanting more? Not just for the end but throughout the whole book. Maybe that’s a testament to how good the concept and the writing is, I keep wanting it to be this epic thousand page book but alas, there was no more to read. WIll just wait for the release of the mini-series.