The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead has received such good reviews I had to read it. A novel based on a period in history, is my kind of book.
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation plant in Georgia. She witnesses scenes of terror and hell but takes strength from these traumatic events which helps her on her journey across America.
She runs away from the plantation on the underground railroad, a way of transporting slaves on the sly and run by free men. The first part of her journey takes her North and she becomes a model in a museum. Disgustingly she is made to dress as a slave and from her life in Africa.
But she has to quickly move on again via the underground railroad when the plantation owners from Georgia track her down and attempt to capture her. She then moves onto South Carolina and meets a husband and wife, the former of which suggests she stays in their attic. The wife is sceptical of the situation and stays out of Cora’s way. The only way Cora can see the outside world is through a small hole the wall where she sees slaves being murdered on stage and white folk harbouring slaves slaughtered before her eyes.
But even in the attic Cora cannot escape the race and is soon tracked down again. Her last view of South Carolina before she hops on the underground railroad is of the husband and wife being murdered.
The end of the book hints that Cora will continue on travelling and running.
I found the novel hard to get into, enjoyed the middle and then just wanted it to finish for the last 100 pages. I feel I may be the only person in the world who didn’t particularly enjoy the book. I couldn’t warm to Cora as the main character and sadly the plot didn’t do enough to keep me interested.