The novel won several awards, including being longlisted for the Man Booker in 2017. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2017
Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins has been receiving praise for his new series, Underground Railroad. The ten-part series is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Jessica De Gouw, Alano Miller, Christopher Meloni.
Amirah Vann. Before you dive in, here’s the novel on which the series is based all about.
Written by Colson Whitehead, Underground Railroad was published in 2016, and centers around Cora and Caesar, two slaves in the southeastern United States. During the 19th century, they tried seeking freedom from their Georgia plantation, which they did through Underground Railroad, a rail transport system that had safe houses. Whitehead here literalises a route to emancipation, departing from what underground railroad was previously considered: a figure of speech.
The novel received a glowing review in Washington Post. “Far and away the most anticipated literary novel of the year, The Underground Railroad marks a new triumph for Whitehead. Since his first novel, The Intuitionist (1999), the MacArthur ‘genius’ has nimbly explored America’s racial consciousness — and more — with an exhilarating blend of comedy, history, horror and speculative fiction,” Ron Charles wrote.
“In this new book, though, those elements are choreographed as never before. The soaring arias of cleverness for which he’s known have been modulated in these pages. The result is a book that resonates with deep emotional timbre. “The Underground Railroad” reanimates the slave narrative, disrupts our settled sense of the past and stretches the ligaments of history right into our own era,” it continued.
One of the more daring aspects of Whitehead’s novel is the way it lent the mantle of heroism to slaves, enabling them to carve out their narrative as well as their path to freedom. His characters are vivid with his characterisations, empathetic and resilient all at once.
The novel won several awards, including being longlisted for the Man Booker in 2017. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2017.
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